What is the Orton Gillingham method?

Dr. Samuel Orton, was a physician and seminal researcher who explored the relationship between reading difficulties and the brain. Prior to his research, reading disabilities were considered to be a sociological problem.

Dr. Orton labeled reading disabilities “word blindness”. As his research progressed, Dr. Orton and his staff believed that children who had this type of a disability could read when provided with an intentional approach that was:
• Personalized
• Multisensory
• Diagnostic/Prescriptive
• Systematic
• Structured
• Sequential, Incremental & Cumulative
• Cognitive
• Emotive
and offered continuous feedback.

Since then, Dr. Orton’s treatment for reading disabilities, specifically Dyslexia, is considered the “Gold Standard”. Orton Gillingham, the name derived from Dr. Orton and his associate Anna Gillingham, is ideally taught according to the guidelines of the Academy of Orton Gillingham. It is different from any other “OG” type of intervention. Although there are several derivatives of Dr. Orton’s approach, the methodology taught from the Academy is more rigorous and teaches us not only what to do for children, but why those strategies work.

My training began with a Master’s Degree in Reading, a Doctorate Degree in Reading and Cognitive Studies, and 90 hours of training provided by the Academy of Orton Gillingham Fellows. One hundred hours of practicum, and ten hours of mentored practicum followed this training. I earned the coveted certification at the Associate level member of the Academy of Orton Gillingham in 2014.

The Process

I have worked successfully, with students ages 4 – young adult. Each session is planned according to strengths and needs demonstrated in the prior lesson. Skills are spiraled, and reviewed. For students with Dyslexia and Double Deficit, repetition is mandated for retention and retrieval. I spend at least an hour planning for each lesson. After the lesson, I reflect on what was learned and what needs to be reviewed or taught for the following lesson.

First, a discussion with parents helps to provide needed background information of the student. Any prior assessments and evaluations are examined. At this time, assessments to inform the level of the disability are completed to provide the knowledge that guides and inspires Orton Gillingham instruction. These assessments may take between one and three hours, and are usually completed in two sessions. A report for parents is generated through analysis of the data.

According to the guidelines of Orton Gillingham, the student should attend sessions a minimum of twice a week. A commitment of three months provides a demonstration of growth. Thereafter, a commitment of three years, two to three days a week is proven to provide the best outcome for students.

I am available to support students in schools, offer suggestions for best practices in the classroom, work with the student’s teacher and accompany parents to meetings or conferences concerning the student’s academics.

For more information, or to schedule a free phone consultation, please contact me below.

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