Orton Gillingham Approach to Improve Reading

The Orton Gillingham teaching approach is a highly structured, systematic method for teaching reading, spelling, and writing to individuals, particularly those with dyslexia. It was developed in the 1930s by Dr. Samuel Orton and Anna Gillingham, and has since been widely used as a proven method for helping struggling readers.

How does it work?

The Orton Gillingham approach is based on the idea that reading difficulties are caused by a deficiency in phonemic awareness, or the ability to hear and manipulate the individual sounds (phonemes) in words. To address this deficiency, the method uses a multi-sensory approach, incorporating visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learning modalities to help students better process and retain information.

One of the key features of this approach is its explicit and systematic instruction. This means that all new concepts are thoroughly explained and demonstrated before students are asked to apply them. This allows students to fully understand the material and build a strong foundation of reading skills.

What types of students is the Orton Gillingham approach best for?

It is most often used with students who have dyslexia, but it can also be effective for students with other learning differences, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or auditory processing disorder. Essentially, the Orton Gillingham approach is beneficial for any student who has difficulty with reading, spelling, or writing.

Is the Orton Gillingham approach widely used?

Yes, it is used by educators all around the world, including in public and private schools, as well as in tutoring settings. It is recognized as a research-validated method of teaching reading by the International Dyslexia Association, and is used by many certified Orton Gillingham practitioners.

What types of materials are used with this approach?

Orton Gillingham materials typically include a range of instructional tools, such as phonics books, flashcards, and worksheets. These materials are designed to progressively introduce new concepts and build upon previously learned skills. Many Orton Gillingham materials also incorporate multisensory elements, such as manipulatives, to engage students and help them better understand the material.

Is the Orton Gillingham approach proven to help students?

Yes, there is a significant body of research showing that the Orton Gillingham approach is effective for improving reading skills in individuals with dyslexia. A meta-analysis of 27 studies found that the Orton Gillingham approach resulted in significant improvements in reading accuracy and fluency for students with dyslexia (Hoover & Gough, 1990). Additionally, a review of 16 studies found that the method was consistently effective in improving reading skills in students with dyslexia (Archer & Gleason, 2005).

What are some arguments against Orton Gillingham?

While this teaching method has been widely accepted as a effective method for teaching reading to individuals with dyslexia, it is not without its critics. Some argue that the structured and systematic nature of the approach may be too rigid, and that it does not allow for enough flexibility to meet the unique needs of each student. Additionally, this approach can be time-intensive and may require a significant investment of resources, such as specialized materials and trained practitioners.

Overall, the Orton Gillingham teaching approach is a highly effective method for improving reading skills in individuals with dyslexia and other learning differences. While it may not be the right fit for every student, it has been proven to be a valuable tool for helping struggling readers succeed.

How can someone get Orton Gillingham training?

To become a practitioner, individuals typically need to complete a certification program. There are several organizations that offer Orton Gillingham training and certification, including the Academy of Orton Gillingham Practitioners and Educators and the International Dyslexia Association. These programs typically require a combination of coursework and supervised practicum experience, and may have prerequisites such as a teaching license or bachelor’s degree in education.

Individuals interested in training should carefully research and compare the different certification programs available to find one that meets their needs and goals. It is also important to note that certification is not required to use these methods in the classroom, and many educators choose to learn about the approach through professional development workshops or other forms of self-study.

Finding Orton Gillingham tutors near you:

  1. Contact local schools and educational centers: Many schools and educational centers offer tutoring services, and some may have practitioners trained in the Orton Gillingham method.
  2. Check with professional organizations: Professional organizations, such as the Academy of Orton Gillingham Practitioners and Educators have a find a tutor service or the International Dyslexia Association, may have directories of certified tutors.
  3. Search online: There are many online directories and websites that allow you to search for tutors by subject and location. These can be a good resource for finding Orton Gillingham tutors near you.
  4. Ask for recommendations: You can also ask your child’s teacher or other educators in your area for recommendations.

It is important to carefully research and vet any tutor you are considering hiring to ensure that they are qualified and have the necessary experience and expertise to provide high-quality instruction. You may also want to consider meeting with a few different tutors to find one that is the best fit for your child’s needs and learning style.