Language ArtsWhat is Orton-Gillingham and Why Is It Important?

Orton-Gillingham is a highly effective instructional approach used for students who have difficulty with reading, spelling, and writing associated with dyslexia. Orton-Gillingham is an approach to teaching reading and spelling, not a method, program, system or technique. In the hands of a well-trained and experienced instructor, it is a powerful tool of exceptional breadth, depth, and flexibility.

Teachers and tutors began using this approach over 70 years ago. It is a tried and proven approach based on scientific evidence of how children learn to read and has helped many people learns to read and spell. The approach is multi-sensory: the student is taught specific skills using sight, sound, touch, and movement. This helps activate the brain and aids in retention. In the O-G approach, the sounds and skills of the English language are broken down into smaller skills and these skills are explicitly taught.

The approach is highly structured and sequential; students master each skill before moving on. Most of our language is predictable and once a student learns the consistent rules and patterns of our language, he or she is able to read words that were previously unknown. The same skills learned for reading are also learned for spelling enabling a student to become a stronger, more accurate speller.

The Orton-Gillingham Approach is most often associated with a one-on-one teacher-student instructional model. It can also be used in small group instruction. Reading, spelling and writing difficulties have been the dominant focus of the approach although it has been successfully adapted for use with students who exhibit difficulty with mathematics. The Bridge Academy has created a math, science, and social studies curriculum based on Orton-Gillingham principles that have proven to be highly effective.

Our school and teachers are certified in Orton-Gillingham through the Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators. The Academy holds very high standards for certification – teachers must complete many hours of training and a practicum for at least a year. These high standards ensure that our teachers thoroughly learn the approach and are able to be highly effective in teaching our students to read and spell. After learning the O-G approach, our teachers can develop an individual plan to teach any student to read.