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  • Writer's pictureBrittany Zucker

What is the Orton-Gillingham approach?

Updated: Dec 14, 2019

OG - The new "buzz word"

Orton-Gillingham (OG) is an evidenced-based approach to teaching individuals with dyslexia how to read. Research has shown that using the OG approach will actually restructure their brains to help them to learn to read and spell - how awesome is that?

OG is an approach, not a curriculum

In fact, there are over 100s of curricula that follow the OG approach. The OG approach teaches children and adults with dyslexia how to read and spell in an explicit, structured, systematic and multisensory way. Using an OG approach, individuals will learn how to decode (break words into their syllables and phonemes), encode (break down words orally into their syllables and phonemes to spell), and develop automaticity and fluency of word reading. OG should be supplemented with connected texts (stories) and include comprehension work.

The components of an OG Approach

1. Direct & Explicit Phonics Instruction:

The rules and patterns of decoding and encoding are explicitly taught. While other

children may pick up on many of these rules and patterns naturally, those with dyslexia need to be taught every rule and pattern directly. For example, they are taught the reason why the vowel 'a' sounds different in the word 'car' verse 'care' and can explain when we use -ck in spelling.

2. Systematic & Structured:

New concepts are taught in the exact same way every time. Information is presented in an order that shows the relationship between new and old material.

3. Sequential & Cumulative:

There is a clear plan to teach each rule, building from the simplest units of written language (individual letters) and progresses to the reading of single syllable words to multisyllable words.

4. Multisensory:

Visual (letters), auditory (sounds) and kinesthetic (motor patterns for writing letters) modalities are used simultaneously, which strengthens associations and memory.

5. Individualized:

Individuals move through the program at a pace that allows for them to develop fluency and automaticity. They move on to the next step when they are ready and lessons are tailored to the needs of the child.

6. Diagnostic & Prescriptive:

Teachers are continuously monitoring each child's progress to inform instruction. Reading and spelling errors are constantly noted to determine whether more practice is needed or if the lesson needs to be taught again and/or differently.

If your child is struggling to read and/or is diagnosed with dyslexia, using an Orton-Gillingham approach to read is imperative. If you have questions about the OG approach I use in my reading intervention, Preventing Academic Failure (PAF), please reach out!

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