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What is the Orton Gillingham Approach?
The Orton-Gillingham Approach is a different way to teach. It is not a program but a way to teach students who struggle with reading. Students diagnosed with dyslexia and those with other learning disabilities benefit from this type of literacy instruction. It is direct, explicit, multisensory, structured, sequential, diagnostic, and prescriptive. The focus is on reading, writing, and spelling.
Who can teach the Orton Gillingham Approach?
Teachers can receive training from various organizations. The founding organization for training teachers in the Orton Gillingham Approach is the Orton Gillingham Academy of Practitioners and Educators (OGAPE). Be certain to ask if your instructor is trained or certified in the Orton Gillingham Approach. A well-trained, certified instructor will have your child in good hands.
Who developed the Orton Gillingham Approach?
Samuel T. Orton and Anna Gillingham developed the Orton-Gillingham Approach to reading instruction. An educator and a psychologist, Orton and Gillingham sought an approach to assist students who were not learning to read using traditional methods. They focused on both both reading and language challenges.
How long has the Orton Gillingham Approach been taught?
Since the 1930’s, the Orton Gillingham Approach has supported students to master reading skills. The focus is on skills for decoding, or “sounding out” words, and spelling. This involves phonics and phonemic awareness. The study of syllables, prefixes, suffixes and roots assists students in developing their vocabulary. Ease in decoding allows students to read more fluently and better comprehend what they read.
Is the Orton Gillingham Approach only for students with dyslexia?
No. Orton and Gillingham first developed the Orton Gillingham Approach to assist students diagnosed with dyslexia. However, it can benefit any student who has difficulty with reading. An indicator of concern is when students have difficulty sorting, recognizing, and organizing. When students do not easily acquire these skills, the Orton Gillingham Approach will directly and systematically teach them.
Is the Orton Gillingham Approach only taught one-on-one or can it be taught in a small group?
The Orton Gillingham Approach is best taught one-on-one. This is the focus for Dr. Lopez. It allows her to develop a truly personalized approach designed to meet the individual needs of each student.
Does Dr. Lopez only teach struggling or gifted students?
Dr. Lopez teaches students with a wide range of skills and abilities. She designs each program specifically to meet the needs of each individual student. She does not begin on a fixed starting point or follow a predetermined scope and sequence. Her focus for reading, spelling and math instruction is on the Orton-Gillingham Approach.
Why select the Orton Gillingham Approach?
The Orton Gillingham Approach meets students’ needs. It allows a teacher to begin instructing a student in the skills in which they are confident. Then, next steps can be taken based on the new information that the student has learned. A student is never expected to know something that has not been taught. A student is never taught based on a one-size-fits all curriculum. A student is never taught material designed for a specific grade level or curriculum point. Rather, a student is taught in the content they need to learn. This allows for success no matter where the student begins or what time is needed to make progress.
What does a tutoring session that uses the Orton Gillingham Approach look like?
A tutoring session can involve developing sound/symbol relationships, reading and spelling one-syllable words, composing basic sentences, reading a decodable text, Latin prefixes, reviewing the major spelling rules, outlining an essay, and reading from a classic, authentic text.
The common thread of each program is to address students’ skills and needs in key areas:
- Phonemic Awareness and sounds
- Phonics and Word Attack skills (decoding)
- Spelling (encoding)
- Reading Comprehension
- Reading Fluency
- Expository Writing (composition)
- Handwriting and/or Keyboarding
Margaret Byrd Rawson, a former President of the International Dyslexia Association (IDA), said it well:
“Dyslexic students need a different approach to learning language from that employed in most classrooms. They need to be taught, slowly and thoroughly, the basic elements of their language—the sounds and the letters which represent them—and how to put these together and take them apart. They have to have lots of practice in having their writing hands, eyes, ears, and voices working together for conscious organization and retention of their learning. ” Teachers who use this approach help students perceive the speech sounds in words (phonemes) by looking in the mirror when they speak or exaggerating the movements of their mouths.”
- Direct and Explicit
- Structured and Sequential
- Diagnostic and Prescriptive
- Phonemic Awareness
- Concept Focused
- Algebra – Calculus
- SAT Prep
- Basic Study Skills
- Organizational Skills