Buzz has learned phonics and can sound out words, but his phonetic processing is slow. His word attack skills are significantly better, but his word recognition and reading fluency have not improved at the same rate. His spelling is also weak.



A cause of weakness in establishing sight words and contextual fluency is difficulty with visualizing the letters in words. This is called weak symbol imagery. Symbol imagery is the ability to create mental representations for sounds and letters within words. A significant number of students—even those who have well-developed phonemic awareness—have difficulty with recognizing the visual patterns of letters. While they may be able to sound out (decode) some words, they struggle with many. They may often have difficulty with spelling and reading fluency. They might be diagnosed with dyslexia.



Individuals of all ages may experience the symptoms of an undiagnosed symbol imagery dysfunction.

This causes weakness in:

  • Memorizing sight words
  • Rapid word attack
  • Orthographic awareness
  • Reading comprehension
  • Contextual reading fluency
  • Spelling 
  • Word recognition


The Seeing Stars®: Symbol Imagery for Phonological and Orthographic Processing in Reading and Spelling program develops symbol imagery—the ability to create mental imagery for sounds and letters within words—as a basis for reading and spelling. The development of symbol imagery improves word recognition, spelling, and reading fluency skills.


The Seeing Stars Difference


Unlike traditional phonemic awareness/phonics programs or approaches that teach extensive decoding rules and strategies, Seeing Stars develops a sensory-cognitive process that underlies reading skills. The development of symbol imagery improves word recognition and reading fluency.


Who is A Seeing Stars STUDENT?


Students of all ages and learning abilities can benefit, including students with dyslexia, struggling readers, English Learners, and emerging readers.


Response to Intervention (RtI)


Seeing Stars supplements a Tier 1 core reading program for emerging readers. Seeing Stars is also used remedially in Tier 2 and 3 interventions.


Common Core


Seeing Stars develops the foundational skills students need to access grade level content and to prevent or remediate reading problems. Symbol imagery is developed to facilitate independence in print concepts, phonemic awareness, phonics and word recognition, and fluency. Download our free White Paper to learn how Seeing Stars supports the Common Core.


English Language Learners


Seeing Stars supports foundational skills in English in an explicit and systematic manner, using the imagery-language connection as the basis. Seeing Stars lessons are scaffolded and differentiated for increasing complexity, from sound/symbol development through complex multisyllabic words.