Orton-Gillingham Reading Approach

Where did the Orton-Gillingham approach originate?

Dr. Samuel Orton, a pathologist who worked with adult patients with brain damage, was asked to evaluate students who were struggling to read. After much observation, he realized these students were reversing letters and their order in words causing them difficulties with reading.  His knowledge of brain damage led him to hypothesize that these children did not have proper cerebral organization in which the left hemisphere of their brains were not becoming dominant over the right hemisphere. He was determined to help these children and subsequently used multi-sensory techniques that worked with his adult patients combining kinesthetic and tactile methods to the already traditional auditory and visual methods traditionally used. Just a few years later, he started working with psychologist and educator Anna Gillingham who introduced a systematic and orderly approach of categorizing and teaching all of the different sounds in the English language, and together, they created the Orton-Gillingham approach. She dedicated a lot of time to training teachers and creating instructional manuals regarding reading instruction.

What is Orton-Gillingham?

The Orton-Gillingham approach is a thorough language based, sequential, multi-sensory approach to learning how to read and spell that is both flexible and engaging. It is a program that has simplified the English language to phonemes (sounds), morphemes (parts of a word that have meaning such as prefixes, suffixes, and roots), and common spelling rules. These lessons are taught using a multi-sensory approach which allows students to take in the information by listening, seeing, touching, and using movement. Every lesson is interactive and engaging with the certified tutor.

Why is it effective?

This method has proven to be very effective with children especially those whom live with the struggles of dyslexia and those with ADHD. Because lessons are engaging and flexible, children are more likely to stay focused and less likely to “tune out”. In addition, because a multi-sensory approach is being used, information is being received simultaneously by different parts of the brain. This will not only allow the learner to store the information in their brain but will also increase the likelihood of retrieval providing different triggers to allow the students to recall what he has learned.

Who would benefit?

Any child in Pre-K-4th grade learning to read would greatly benefit from the Orton-Gillingham approach because of its sequential, engaging, and flexible manner of teaching reading. So many children who have struggled with dyslexia and ADHD are often relieved to know they CAN read and take with them lifelong strategies to help them in the future.

Contact @thetutoringlink for more information regarding our Orton-Gillingham reading programs.