About
Orton-Gillingham

"The Science of Reading"

READING IS NOT A NATURAL PROCESS!
The human brain is wired to speak and listen NOT read and write. It isn't natural! More than 40 years of scientific research into how the brain reads has proven that all human brains learn to read the same way. Some are just able to make it look more effortless than others. Research has proven that all humans learning to read benefit from Orton-Gillingham (also known as structured literacy).

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"Reading and Writing are acquired skills for which the human brain is not yet fully evolved. [...] We are all disabled as readers and writers; the difference among us is simply that some are fairly easy to cure and some are not."

(Liberman, 1989 & 1997)

 
Brain Activity in a "Normal" vs. "Dyslex

Effective Teaching Changes the Brain

In this picture, "Normal," means neurotypical brain development with all language/ reading pathways working "normally."


People with dyslexia have brains that brain develop differently. The language/ reading pathways are not connecting as they should. With the right kind of structured literacy teaching approach, the brain can create those pathways.

Orton-Gillingham is the right kind of teaching. It can build connections in the brain so that a student can read and spell more effectively. It forces the brain to make these pathways correctly and efficiently!

 

Orton-Gillingham Principles

The approach was created during the 1920s-1950s by Samuel Orton, a neuropsychiatrist, and Anna Gillingham, a teacher and psychologist. Dr. Orton was one of the first to research and treat language based disabilities by building neurological connections. While working with Dr. Orton, Anna Gillingham created a manual with organized steps on how to treat these disorders using his findings. She, then, spent her career training teachers around the United States.


All certified Orton-Gillingham educators follow Dr. Orton's and Ms. Gillingham's set of guidelines and principles whenever they plan and/or execute a lesson with a student. These principles uphold the integrity of the approach.

1. Multi-sensory

Visual, auditory, tactile and kinesthetic techniques are incorporated simultaneously throughout all parts of the lesson

2. Diagnostic

Teachers assess and create lessons based on where the child is in their current reading ability. Concepts and skills are taught for mastery.

3. Prescriptive

Teachers make decisions for instruction based specifically on the needs of the individual child.

4. Systematic and Sequential

Lessons follow a specific order of progression and build on previously taught material.

5. Explicit


Teachers use direct instructions. Students are taught the rules, generalization and structure of the English language.

6. Language-Based

Orton-Gillingham lessons devote time to studying all aspects of language, its history, how it works and how it affects learning.

7. Flexible

"As fast as you can and as slow as you must"-Anna Gillingham
Teachers have the freedom to change the direction of a lesson plan based on a student’s performance.

8. Emotionally Sound

Since Orton-Gillingham is always reviewing previously taught materials, students get lots of repeated practice, which is confidence building. Students who experience this confidence develop a positive attitude toward the learning process.