Margaret Taylor Smith | Founder, MTS Publications, 1990
Margaret Smith has long been an advocate for the appropriate education of dyslexic students. She, along with many others, provided testimony in support of passage of a Texas state law (1985) deeming that public schools shall identify dyslexic students and provide appropriate education. She worked with the Texas Education Agency on a volunteer basis to help draft the original procedures concerning dyslexia and also their subsequent revisions. She served as a member of the Texas Education Agency English Language Arts writing team for developing the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for English Language Arts curriculum.
An internationally known author and authority on dyslexia, Margaret has been a frequent presenter at state, national, and international conferences on dyslexia.
Margaret has trained literally thousands of dyslexia therapists and teachers over the span of her almost 40 years involved in the field of dyslexia. She began this aspect of her life with Aylett Cox, and later she teamed with Edith Hogan, Janna Curry, Dolores Teasley, and others. She ended the teacher education phase of her career as a staff member at SMU’s Learning Therapy Education Center.
She never consciously set out to become an author, or a speaker at both national and international meetings. Her only motivation was always to become a better teacher so she could help her students realize their potentials. This is a brief summary of how it all came to be.
After twelve years as a public school classroom teacher, Margaret was becoming increasingly frustrated. The reason for her frustration was that, in every class, she had students who, although obviously intelligent and talented in many ways, had difficulty remembering printed words; she understood that these students were trying very hard to succeed—her frustration was directed at herself, because of her own inability to help her students improve their reading skills.
This frustration led her to seek more knowledge, and in the early 70’s, she was asked by her school district to enroll in a course with Aylett Cox, who was then associated with the Scottish Rite Hospital in Dallas. She studied with Aylett for two years, received her dyslexia therapist level certification, and continued teaching her dyslexia classes in a suburban Dallas school district. During this time, she had classes ranging in age from first grade through high school. This unique opportunity helped Margaret gain insights about the varying needs of dyslexics, and also helped her appreciate their talents. She has always maintained that her students were her best teachers.
When Margaret received her training, the only resources available were those that described teaching methodologies and a partial list of graphemes and concepts to be taught. There was no curriculum available that provided comprehensive teaching instructions or practice activities for students, so, like the little red hen, she began developing materials herself, at first simply for her own use. This was the beginning of the program now known as MTA. (Margaret often refers to the period of MTA development as her “17 year odyssey.“)
Later, Aylett Cox, who was then Director of Teacher Training at the Dean Learning Center, invited Margaret to join her staff as Associate Director, a position she held for more than six years. For a while, the Dean Teacher Training program was the only one of its kind in the southwest, and Margaret often expressed concern that such important work was limited to Dallas.
As word of the successful approach began to spread, school administrators began asking for teacher training on local site, so Margaret, along with Edith Hogan, began to travel to schools to provide the training. As more public and private schools became interested in implementing a multisensory, structured language education program, Margaret continued developing and refining her MTA curriculum that was ultimately published in 1987.
MTA is now available through MTS Publications.
Education and Professional Training
B.A., Baylor University, Waco, TX, cum laude
M. Ed., Texas A&M University at Commerce
70 post-Master’s hours, Texas A&M University at Commerce (Margaret actually completed all requirements for the doctorate, including oral and written examinations, except writing the dissertation. At the time she was working intensively to complete the MTA curriculum and had to choose whether to write the dissertation or complete the curriculum to meet the publisher’s deadline, as she couldn’t do both.)
Texas: Professional Elementary Education, Learning Disabilities, Educational Diagnostician, Educational Supervision
Certified Academic Language Therapist, Academic Language Therapy Association, trained at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital, Dallas, Texas
Certified Qualified Instructor, Academic Language Therapy Association, Dallas, Texas
Alphabetic Phonics Master Instructor, Dean Learning Center, Dallas, Texas
Founding member and former Board member of the International Multisensory Structured Language Education Council (IMSLEC), an organization established to accredit dyslexia teacher and dyslexia therapy level training programs.
Founding member of the Academic Language Therapy Association, (ALTA), a national professional organization that accredits dyslexia therapists.
Founding Member and first president of the Academic Language Therapy Association
Centers Council, an organization that accredits dyslexia therapy training programs.
International Dyslexia Association, Member since 1975
2003-2008: Adjunct Instructor, SMU School of Education and Human Development, Learning Therapy Program. 1990 to 2003: Founder of MTS Publications
1976-1982: Associate Director, Dean Teacher Training Center, Dallas, Texas
1979-1980: Assistant Adjunct Professor, Texas A&M University, Commerce, Texas
Since 1973: Presenter at local, state, national, and international levels
16 years as a public school teacher, both regular and special education
Outstanding Elementary Teacher of America, 1973
Certificate of Appreciation from Academic Language Therapy Association in recognition of ten years of leadership and support, April, 1996
Certificate of appreciation from Texas Education Agency acknowledging contributions in drafting the English Language Arts/Reading Education, Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills, December, 1996
Forney High School Hall of Honor, 1998 Distinguished Alumni Award
Outstanding Educator Award, Dallas Branch of International Dyslexia Association, 2003
Aylett R. Cox Educator Award, Academic Language Therapy Association, 2008
IMSLEC Innovator Award, Outstanding Multisensory Structured Language Education Professional, International Multisensory Structured Language Education Council, 2009
Multisensory Teaching Approach (MTA) for Reading, Spelling, and Handwriting. Forney, TX: MTS Publications, 1987.
Multisensory Teaching System for Reading and Spelling. a supplementary program for K-2 grades, and/or a tutorial program for older students. Forney, TX: MTS Publications, 1994.
Multi-sensory Teaching System (MTS) for Reading, United Kingdom Edition, adapted by Mike Johnson, Sylvia Phillips, and Lindsay Peer. Manchester, England, 1999.
Soundations! Phonological Games and Activities: Assessment, Instruction, Practice, Forney, TX: MTS Publications, 1996; Revised 1999
Easing Into Cursive. Forney, TX: MTS Publications, 1999
MTA Handwriting Masters, MTS Publications
Comprehension: Structures, Strategies, Skills, and Procedures, MTS Publications, 2011
MTA Alphabet and Dictionary Skills Guide. Forney, TX: MTS Publications, 1987.
MTA Procedures Booklet. Forney, TX: MTS Publications, 1987.