The Orton-Gillingham Approach to Teaching Reading, Spelling, and Writing

Ruth Rumack’s Learning Space uses The Wilson Reading System and Reading Mastery for reading instruction, both of which are designed around the Orton-Gillingham Approach. In our two-part blog series, we will outline the theory behind this approach, and how it’s delivered in practice.

What is the Orton-Gillingham Approach and why is it significant?
• Orton-Gillingham is a research-based, instructional approach to reading, spelling, and writing, and is primarily used with persons with dyslexia who have difficulty learning to read from traditional instruction methods.
• It is effective with people of all ages (elementary to adult) and considers the learning style and needs of each particular learner.
• The approach focuses on teaching students the structural rules and logic of the English language. As a result, the learner needs to use his/her cognitive strengths to compensate for perceptual challenges.

What is the science behind the approach?
• The Orton-Gillingham Approach is the result of collaboration among several professionals over many years, including neuroscientists, cognitive psychologists, , psychiatrists, master educators, and scholars in the acquisition of language.
• It has been found that people with dyslexia have visual and/or auditory processing challenges, which result in finding the symbols of language tricky to understand. Due to research surrounding how the brain integrates, processes, and receives information, a multi-sensory approach is emphasized with Orton-Gillingham instruction.
• This approach means simultaneously engaging a learner in auditory, tactile, kinaesthetic, and visual activities in order to enhance their ability to process, retain, and apply learned information.

Stay tuned for next week’s blog, which will explain how this method is implemented with students at RRLS, based on the defining principles of the Orton-Gillingham Approach.

For more information about the Orton-Gillingham Approach, visit
For more information about individualized learning and academic support, contact Ruth Rumack’s Learning Space at (416) 925-1225 or visit


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