What is Orton Gillingham?

Orton Gillingham is not a program. It is an approach to teaching literacy in a direct, explicit, multisensory, structured, sequential, diagnostic, and prescriptive manner. It is most often used to support students who do not read/spell easily such as those with dyslexia.

WHAT IS THE HISTORY OF ORTON GILLINGHAM?:

The name “Orton Gillingham” comes from two pioneers of reading in the 20th century. Samuel Torrey Orton was a neuropsychiatrist who blended research and principles of reading intervention. He helped to dispel the idea that dyslexia was “word blindness.” He worked closely with Anna Gillingham, a gifted educator and psychologist. From Orton’s research and Gillingham’s thorough knowledge of the English language, she published instructional materials and trained teachers to teach students who struggled in reading. These materials are the foundation for what the Orton Gillingham approach is today.

“The ‘whole word’ method is an obstacle to reading for the majority of students.”

-Samuel T. Orton

““The success of your students will depend upon your skill as a teacher .”

-Anna Gillingham

WHAT IS IN AN ORTON GILLINGHAM LESSON?:

The Orton Gillingham approach is most often used in a one-on-one or small group setting. Each lesson is individualized for the needs of each student. It teaches the direct relationship between letters and sounds so that students do not guess at whole words. Components include (but aren’t limited to) a visual and auditory drill (letter-sound correspondence), phonological awareness, reading and spelling of review words/skills, new information, reading, morphology, grammar, comprehension, and written expression.

There are a number of reading programs influenced by the Orton–Gillingham approach. These include the Barton Reading Program and the Wilson Reading System. These programs vary somewhat, but they all use a structured, multisensory approach.

WHERE TO FIND AN ORTON GILLINGHAM TUTOR:

Are you looking for an Orton Gillingham tutor? The International Dyslexia Association is a great place to start. You can click here to look up trained and certified OG tutors in your area.

WANT TO BE TRAINED IN THE ORTON GILLINGHAM APPROACH?:

There are many independent training centers. The International Dyslexia Association (IDA) has an accreditation program that rigorously reviews educator preparation programs based on an accreditation model that is uniquely aligned with IDA’s Knowledge and Practice Standards for Teachers of Reading (KPS).

These programs “produce educators who have engaged in intensive supervised practicum experiences that were sufficiently designed and staffed to promote applied mastery of the principles and practices of structured literacy in the service of preventing reading failure and remediating off-track readers with profiles characteristic of dyslexia.” To find a training center, click here.

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