What is the Orton-Gillingham Approach?

The Orton-Gillingham approach to reading instruction was developed in the 1930’s by Neurologist Dr. Samuel T. Orton, and educator, psychologist Anna Gillingham.

The Orton-Gillingham approach was designed primarily to help with reading, writing and spelling but it can also be successfully used with students who are experiencing difficulty with mathematics.

The Orton-Gillingham approach allows the teacher to recognize an individual student’s dominant learning modality while delivering instruction that will aid in strengthening the remaining learning pathways. Teachers provide direct instruction, explaining what is to be learned, why it is to be learned, and how it is to be learned.

Orton-Gillingham Strategies and Tools

Orton-Gillingham is a language-based, multisensory, structured, sequential, cumulative, cognitive, and flexible approach.

The multisensory educational component integrates the three learning pathways, which are auditory, kinesthetic, and visual. All language skills taught are reinforced by having the student listen, speak, read and write. Because this approach impacts all children, it is not limited to dyslexia and is beneficial for every type of learner.

Orton-Gillingham is taught systematically.

Sound-symbol connections along with linguistic rules are introduced in a logical and understandable order. Students begin by reading and writing sounds in isolation. They blend the sounds into syllables and words. Consonants, vowels, digraphs, blends, and diphthongs are taught sequentially. Once these are mastered, advanced structural elements such as syllable types, roots, and affixes are taught. Vocabulary, sentence structure, composition, and reading comprehension are also taught in a comparable manner.

Students are provided with constant reinforcement of old and new material. Any misunderstood rule is re-taught from the beginning.

Students learning with the Orton Gillingham approach can apply language patterns with understanding. They are taught the history and rules of the English language.

Orton Gillingham can be implemented individually in a 1-on-1 setting. It can be applied as early as Pre-K and executed all the way up through college level students. It can be used for adults too!