The Implementation of the Orton-Gillingham Approach


Last week’s blog answered the questions:

What is the Orton-Gillingham Approach to reading, writing, and spelling?

What is the science behind the approach?

This week, we will unravel how this approach is implemented with our students, based on its defining principles.

  • The Orton-Gillingham Approach encourages flexibility. Teachers begin with what the student knows, and build logically upon it, working at the appropriate pace and level for the individual learner.
  • The structure of the English language is explicitly taught. For example, students may learn the six different syllable types, and how they affect the way we read and spell different words.
  • Instruction is direct and explicit, focusing on the association between sounds and symbols. Lessons include drill and practice in areas such as: sound-symbol relationships for reading and writing (e.g., sh is a digraph that makes the sound /sh/), blending of sounds to read words, writing words and text from dictations, oral reading of controlled texts, and isolating and sequencing sounds for spelling. The general goal is to achieve a high level of automaticity.
  • Instruction is multi-sensory because it engages and integrates all of the student’s channels of reception and expression. In addition to the senses of sight and sound, students feel and touch to help them compensate for visual and/or auditory challenges. For example, students may trace letters or words in salt in order to incorporate a tactile element.
  • An emphasis on step-by-step skill development is essential to ensure long-lasting success. As a result, lessons are structured, systematic, and sequential, ensuring that a logical order is followed. The student cannot move ahead to learn a new rule until he/she has mastered the previous one.
  • The Orton-Gillingham Approach is cumulative; lessons are always infused with previously taught elements. This ensures that students are continually being exposed to previously learned rules and the words associated with them.

The ultimate goal behind the Orton-Gillingham Approach is to give individuals the knowledge and tools to become confident and successful readers, writers, and spellers!

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


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s