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The Orton-Gillingham Approach

What is the Orton-Gillingham Approach?

The Orton-Gillingham Approach is a multidimensional, systematic approach for teaching literacy skills (Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators, 2018).  Orton-Gillingham relies on the direct and explicit teaching of concepts such as sound units, letter-sound relationships, and syllable patterns. The Orton-Gillingham Approach teaches students to identify patterns within words and how to use these patterns to systematically decode (read) text.  Students read through pattern and syllable-type recognition as opposed to relying on guesswork.  In Orton-Gillingham students learn through a combination of visuals, auditory prompts, kinesthetic movements and tactile materials. As a practitioner of Orton-Gillingham I am trained to use all of these learning modalities to best accommodate your child's individual and unique learning style. 

Who can benefit from using the Orton-Gillingham Approach?

 The International Dyslexia Association recommends a Structured Literacy Program for any child who struggles with decoding or has a Dyslexia diagnosis (International Dyslexia Association, 2015). Structured Literacy Programs focus on six tenants of literacy: Phonology, Sound-Symbol Association, Syllables, Morphology, Syntax and Semantics (International Dyslexia Association, 2016).  These pillars must be taught systematically, sequentially, and in a multi-sensory fashion for the program to be considered a Structured Literacy Program.  The Orton-Gillingham Approach falls into the Structured Literacy category because of it's focus on explicit, direct, and sequential teaching of the above literacy skills (Spear-Swerling, 2019).




Academy of Orton-GIllingham Practitioners and Educators. (2018). What is the Orton-Gillingham approach? Retrieved from:

Cowen, Carolyn D. "What is structured literacy" International Dyslexia Association. 2016. Infographic. Retrieved from:

International Dyslexia Association. (2019). Heres Why Schools Should Use Structured Literacy. Retrieved from: 


International Dyslexia Association. (2015). Effective reading instruction. Retrieved from:

Spear-Swerling, L. (2019). Structured literacy and typical literacy practices: Understanding differences to create instructional opportunities. Teaching Exceptional Children, 51, 201–211. doi:10.1177/0040059917750160. Retrieved from:

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