An Overview of the Orton-Gillingham Approach to Reading Instruction

Posted by Erica Warren on

Many parents and professionals ask me about the Orton-Gillingham approach to reading and spelling. It is a well-researched and multisensory way of teaching struggling readers.  In fact,  popular programs such as Lindamood-Bell, Wilson, Barton, Fast Forward, and Spire are all based on this incremental approach.
Dyslexia Materials

What is at the Heart of the Orton-Gillingham Approach?

I created the following infographic above helps provide an overview of the process.

When was the Orton-Gillingham Approach Created, and Who Designed it?

The Orton-Gillingham approach has been around since the 1930's. It was designed by a Samuel T. Orton, neurologist and pathologist, and Anna Gillingham, an educator and psychologist. They developed an explicit, incremental and diagnostic way to teach reading instruction for students with dyslexia.  There are many programs that use this approach.  CLICK HERE to see a list.

Limitations to using Orton-Gillingham Based Programs: 

Although the programs available on the market today offer a well-sequenced, comprehensive, cookie cutter methodology of teaching reading and spelling, I find that the process can be long and arduous for some students.  Many learners don't like completing workbooks and reading long lists of words. As a result, I suggest finding a professional that knows the Orton-Gillingham approach well and has the confidence and mastery to tailor individualized lessons for each student.  In addition, I suggest using tools that strengthen the core cognitive skills required to read and spell as well as implementing games and fun activities that make the learning process motivating and fun.  If you would like to see some of these products, Click Here.

If you have any thoughts or anecdotes about the Orton-Gillingham Approach, please share them below this post.

Cheers, Erica 
Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator, and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning. She is also the director of Learning to Learn and Learning Specialist Courses.

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