Orton Gillingham Approach is arguably the best teaching method for teaching students who are struggling readers understand letters, sounds, and words. It breaks up reading and spelling into smaller skills and carefully teaches what struggling students need to be successful readers.
Orton Gillingham instruction pioneered the multi-sensory learning approach. Just as children learn spoken language using multiple senses. Teachers use sight, hearing, touch and movement as they teach letters, words, and sentences. Children’s language skills grow quickly using all the features of OG teaching methods.
- What is the Orton Gillingham Approach?
- Why is the Orton Gillingham Effective?
- Who Were Orton And Gillingham?
- What are the Key Components of the Orton Gillingham Method?
- Does Orton-Gillingham work for all students?
- What Are The Parts Of An Orton Gillingham Lesson?
- Can Orton Gillingham be used with Older Students?
- How to Get Orton Gillingham Training for Teaching Reading
- Orton Gillingham Curricula Recommendations
- FAQ about Orton Gillingham Teaching Method
What is the Orton Gillingham Approach?
Orton-Gillingham is more than just a proven research-based approach for teaching reading for students with dyslexia. It’s an effective tool in helping children (with or without a specific disability) become strong readers and spellers! This multi-sensory, incremental method of instruction uses proven phonics approaches to make reading and spelling fun. With OG as your ally, teachers can trust that their children will soon be mastering literacy.
Why is the Orton Gillingham Effective?
The Orton-Gillingham method demystifies reading and spelling by emphasizing the importance of understanding why words are spelled in certain ways. There are 44 individual speech sounds yet only 26 letters are available for spelling words.
OG provides students with a highly structured approach to comprehend how words come together. An efficient reading instruction program will foster proficiency in phonemics and letter sound recognition while equipping learners with the skills necessary for accurate & fast reading/spelling comprehension.
Origins of The OG Approach
Samuel Torrey Orton, a neuropsychologist from the USA, studied children and adults with intellectual disabilities. He noticed that children described by some as being retarded had an average IQ score if not better.
As early as the 1930s Orton contributed to the development of a multisensory teaching system integrating movement, tactile and visual learning with reading and writing. Student writings are often accompanied by students describing the names and sounds of letters in an oversize format.
Who were Orton and Gillingham?
Samuel T. Orton revolutionized effective ways of teaching students with dyslexia – his discoveries sparked a fresh approach to language learning for students struggling in school environments.
Psychologist Anna Gillingham, an apprentice of Orton’s, harnessed her expertise on language structure and combined it with her mentor’s techniques; resulting in the publication of the first Orton Gillingham Manual in 1935 It laid out lasting foundations for teaching individuals who were struggling readers.
What are the Key Components of the Orton Gillingham Method?
The OG Method is just that a method of teaching reading. It is not a specific curriculum. There are several excellent curricula used in schools and homeschools by educators. They all share specific elements that make them effective with all students but even more so with struggling or dyslexic readers. The international dyslexia association recommends Orton Gillingham approach for struggling readers.
The Orton-Gillingham method leverages the power of multisensory instruction to create an effective, comprehensive learning experience. With classroom instruction through all three cognitive pathways – visual, auditory and kinesthetic – children can gain a more thorough understanding than if taught with only one pathway alone. With this technique learners gain the benefits of the aspects of sight, sound and touch. They are naturally integrated into each lesson plan.
Structuring classroom instruction in a well-thought-out sequence is key to fostering long-term learning and allowing students to successfully build on what they already know. An established scope and sequence help create positive, rewarding experiences for learners while maintaining the assurance that no area of knowledge will be overlooked during instruction.
Incremental instruction provides a sure-footed approach to literacy learning. Orton–Gillingham’s method uses a structured, systematic approach to teaching reading that follows the way children learn language. Each step of this comprehensive program offers students an organized pathway for building their skills until mastery is achieved before transitioning to more advanced concepts. Step by step, learners are guided on the path from basic concepts to more complex understanding each lesson builds on the previous lesson – like constructing an edifice of understanding with each lesson forming another floor closer towards fluency in reading and writing. Thanks to this secure foundation even those with reading difficulties can now read and spell!
To foster long-term success in learning, mastering and reviewing key concepts is essential. Following a cumulative approach helps students build up an understanding of one topic before moving on to the next level. Additionally, ongoing review – or spiral review – allows for information to be stored reliably by the brain so that it can easily access this knowledge as needed at any time in the future. In total, achieving mastery through consistent practice contributes towards the successful and lasting development of skills.
Orton Gillingham instruction is a personalized approach that focuses on addressing each child’s unique needs. This method believes in providing customized support, enabling children to progress quickly without feeling overwhelmed by their academic targets. Striking the right balance between accommodating individual strengths and concerns while respecting the learning pace guarantees success for students of all ages!
Based On Understanding the Language
The Orton-Gillingham teaching gives students with dyslexia and other learning challenges the tools to become successful readers and writers. By guiding them through English language patterns, rules, history, morphology (meanings), and spelling structure at their own pace – this foundational strategy removes all guesswork from traditional reading practice. With a greater understanding of how words are formed comes literacy confidence that no longer relies on rote memorization or laborious trial-and error exercises!
Orton-Gillingham helps students learn reading and spelling in an efficient, targeted manner that eliminates confusion. Through explicit instruction, children gain the skills they need to succeed while also building their confidence with a clear understanding of why each skill is important.
Does Orton-Gillingham work for all students?
Yes, Orton-Gillingham works for all students. It helps to level the playing field for all learners by providing effective, structured instruction that is tailored to each individual. With this approach, students gain a deep understanding of language fundamentals while also building the confidence they need to succeed in any learning environment. Thanks to its multisensory techniques and explicit instruction, Orton-Gillingham can help all students become strong readers and spellers.
What are the parts of an Orton Gillingham Lesson?
Don’t worry if you’re not familiar with the Orton Gillingham Method of reading instruction, as this part of the article provides a friendly introduction to it! This research-based approach has been proven time and again to be effective for struggling readers and students with dyslexia.
OG can seem complicated at first glance. Let’s break down this highly structured approach into easy steps so teachers can use this reading instruction in the classroom or homeschool. All the resources you need for teaching an OG lesson are found in my decodable passages lesson plan bundles. Here is the first level. Here is the Second Level. The Third Level just has the decodable passages at this point.
Step 1: Phonemic Awareness Warm-up
We know from reading brain research that struggling readers all have a core deficit. Lack of phonemic awareness proficiency affects working memory. Phonemic Awareness is the ability to manipulate sounds within words. It starts with simpler tasks like segmenting sounds within words to more complex tasks like deleting and adding sounds to words. (e.g. say “raft” now say it again but instead of /f/ say /n/—>” rant” Proficiency with these purely auditory tasks is essential for reading fluency.
Despite research indicating that phonological awareness and phonics continue to develop beyond first grade, many reading programs have struggling students move on without having mastered these skills.
This suggests there is a disconnect between what we know about reading development and how it is taught in the classroom. In good Orton Gillingham reading instruction, this aspect of reading instruction should never be neglected.
Step 2: Visual Drill with Sound Cards or a Sound Sheet
Sound Cards and sheets are a great way to get your students revved up for learning! Use them at the beginning of each lesson – start by drilling letters, sounds, or phonograms that have already been learned. Help kids remember keywords with Phonogram Drill cards so they retain all new knowledge quickly. Then move on to letter fluency exercises without keywords: this will give their accuracy and speed an extra boost!
Step 3: Auditory Drill Phonemic Awareness with Writing Added
Teachers, it’s time for an auditory drill! Here we go: Get your students concentrating by having them listen to all the sounds you dictate and write down what they hear. Then share each sound through letter name(s) with them as their fingers trace from left to right in a rhythmic motion – like writing along on sand or textured surfaces to get those senses engaged…or a diction recording form works well too. Have some fun while continuing learning; focus both on individual words and entire families of words together! I include these scripted activities in my decodable passages lesson plan bundles.
Step 4: Blending Drill
Bring the power of language to your classroom with this fun and engaging step in the Three-Part-Drill. Teachers will combine previously taught sounds and skills into patterns that make up real, as well as nonsense words. Through prompts from their teacher, students can then segment a word’s individual sounds before reading it out loud or reading it all together – showing off those newfound linguistic superpowers they have gained so far! Knowing when to use what syllable type is an essential part of building fluency with reading which you’ll be able to effectively demonstrate using either a blending board or fluency sheet.
Step 5: Reading Words and Phrases
After getting working with the Blending Board or Sheet, students dive right into reading real words, and nonsense words, as well as high-frequency irregular words and phrases from a featured decodable passage. This gives your learners that extra boost in their literacy skills and prepares them to read a decodable passage.
Step 6: Reading Decodable Texts and Word and Sentence Dictation
Let’s get reading connected text in this next step! Orton-Gillingham lessons feature decodable texts that use only the sounds and concepts you’ve already taught your students. We focus on words with the concept being taught, plus any tricky vocabulary too — giving extra attention to those challenging bits. After reading together, it’s time for dictation – first saying individual words aloud so students segment each sound by writing a dot for each sound in the word before spelling them out accurately. To help with sentence structure, Ask pupils to write one line per word in the sentence or phrase then complete their sentences as dictated by you – again ensuring careful segmenting of sounding when required for accuracy in spelling.
With all the exciting steps involved in teaching reading in an Orton Gillingham Lesson, it’s no surprise that a single lesson isn’t enough! In a 45-minute lesson, it will often take 2-3 days to complete these steps. At other times in the week, teachers will build vocabulary and fluency while learning interesting word origins and histories. We dive deep into understanding syllable division rules and making new words with root words and affixes -all part of an enriching journey this is sure to benefit you and your learners alike!
Can Orton Gillingham be used with Older Students?
Yes, Older students that struggle need a strong foundation to read as well. It is important to assess their ability with phonemic awareness and spend time with those activities as you would with younger students. This is because it is the core problem for all students with reading struggles.
You can find an excellent assessment for phonemic proficiency by Dr. David Kilpatrick in Equipped For Reading Success. Testing both phonological awareness and phonemic awareness should be the starting place for any teacher planning to teach struggling readers.
Tips for Modifying Orton Gillingham for Older Students
Once students have an understanding of phonemic awareness blending, syllable types, syllable division rules, prefixes, suffixes, and base words then you can use age-appropriate words and vocabulary to continue teaching reading and writing.
Use Prefixes and Suffixes to Teach Short Vowels
When teaching reading with the /short i/ and /short a/ sounds don’t just have to be through traditional word lists! Try introducing your students to prefixes & root words with words like ‘dispel’ & ‘transfer.’ This way, they’re not only mastering their short vowel sounds but also getting ahead in terms of grade-level learning. Give them something challenging – it’ll keep their interest up while building on skills that are important for success.
Use Open and Closed syllables with Multisyllable Words
After teaching them open and closed syllables, they’ll be able to create multiple multisyllabic words. For example: teach your student that an open pattern ends in a vowel whose sound says its name – this will give them access to the prefixes /re-/,/pro-/, & /de-/. Showing understanding of a closed pattern (one short vowel followed by one or more consonants) gives kids roots like—you guessed it—“spect” “pel” & “fect.” All together? Respect, propel and defect!
Teach suffixes to Get Students Reading Silent E
To give older students practice with silent the silent -e syllable pattern, it’s important to go beyond just basic first-grade words like ‘rope’ and ‘cake.’ Instead, try teaching with suffixes such as /-ate/, /-ive/ & /-ize/. Along with understanding open and closed syllables this will open up content words so they can confidently read more complex vocabulary—like “mandate,” “inventive” and “legalize”–with ease!
Teaching Reading to Older Students Who Struggle
By providing older struggling readers with more complex language, we can keep them engaged and show how the concepts we’re teaching translate to real-world relevance. Let’s give our learners an opportunity for deeper understanding!
How to Get Orton Gillingham Training for Teaching Reading
If you’re interested in powering up your teaching and literacy skills through teacher preparation, Orton-Gillingham (OG) offers two different levels of qualifications.
OG training will give you the foundations to use best practices for classroom instruction with students while certification goes even deeper with other programs to give reading specialists in-depth training with coursework and supervised practicums, achieving mastery is doable—not to mention gaining various certifications too! Ready for a learning journey?
I recieved my Certification through Shelton School in Dallas Texas with 250 hours of training and 700 hours of supervised teaching with the Take Flight program. I also took additional training with Sequential English Education and have training in the Wilson Reading Program and have used Barton Reading and Spelling as well. The important thing to remember is no one program is appropriate for every student so good teachers seek help when students are not making progress.
The International Dyslexia Association has a listing of teacher preparation programs to help prepare you for working with struggling readers and students with dyslexia.
Orton Gillingham Curricula Recommendations
Sadly, not all teachers have access to the comprehensive training they need to help struggling readers and students with dyslexia reach their full potential. Many of these tailored education programs are financially out-of-reach for average educators or homeschoolers.
To counteract this barrier, various reading initiatives based on Orton Gillingham Principles exist. As teachers and homeschool parents look for a robust reading program, be sure to check that it includes all the essential components outlined in this article. Additionally, prioritizing phonemic awareness is crucial. When making your selection remember – learning should never feel burdensome or tedious; strive for an engaging experience that has struggling readers excited about their progress!
FAQ about Orton Gillingham Teaching Method
Q: What Is Orton Gillingham?
A: Orton-Gillingham (OG) is an instructional approach that uses explicit, systematic, and multi-sensory instruction to teach individuals with dyslexia and other learning differences. It is based on the understanding of the underlying language disorder present in dyslexia.
Q: What is the Goal of Orton Gillingham?
A: The goal of OG is to teach students with dyslexia to read and write effectively. It focuses on building phonological awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, spelling, and comprehension strategies. By teaching these skills in a structured and cumulative way, OG helps students develop a deeper understanding of how language works and how to use it.
Q: How Can Orton Gillingham Help Older Students?
A: OG provides older students with the opportunity to build a strong foundation in reading and writing. It also helps them to gain an understanding of complex words and suffixes, as well as open and closed syllables. Additionally, OG can help older students become better equipped to read age-appropriate content with confidence. By teaching the principles of Orton Gillingham in a supportive environment, teachers can ensure that all learners have the opportunity to reach their academic potential.