Jun 042014

We’ve known for decades:

Orton Gillingham Approach Reading Programs are effective for teaching children with dyslexia to read:

If your child has been diagnosed (officially) with dyslexia by a qualified neuropsychologist, psychologist, or psychoeducational evaluator, then you probably need to use an Orton Gillingham reading program for homeschooling to teach your child how to read.

The Orton Gillingham (O-G) method was devised by Samuel Orton and Anna Gillingham. It is a multisensory method used to teach children with true dyslexia to read. The orton gillingham approach is not a reading program. However, there are many reading programs available that use the Orton Gillingham approach.

In order to find an effective reading program using the Orton Gillingham approach, you first need to know the essential components of the teaching method.

The Orton Gillingham approach incorporates the following criteria:

  • Comprehensive – every detail of phonology is taught – every letter, every sound, every sound-letter combination, rules for spelling, rules for decoding, frequency of words using rules, etc.
  • Explicit instruction – every detail of phonology is taught outright – there is nothing that is bypassed in the instruction.
  • Direct instruction – Every detail is taught directly to the student.
  • Multi-sensory – Each piece of instruction is taught multiple ways using auditory, visual, and kinesthetic (movement) based teaching.
  • Mastery – Each piece of instruction is taught until the student can automatically recall the sound-letter combinations, decoding and spelling rules, syllabication, etc. without hesitation.

SO, when you are searching for an Orton Gillingham reading program, be sure the program is comprehensive, teaches content auditorily, visually, and kinesthetically. The program should be detailed and explicit in directly teaching your child. It should also have built-in mastery checks that you can use in assessing your child’s level of automatic recall.

There are some programs that have visual and/or auditory components, but NOT kinesthetic components.  While these programs work to a degree, they will not work as well as programs where teaching also incorporates some kind of movement, like finger spelling, clapping, toe writing on the carpet, large writing on a big chalkboard, etc.  If your child happens to be a kinesthetic learner, and many children are, then a program that does not incorporate large-body movement will not be the best program for your child.

As a key step, you will want to assess your child’s learning style to know what type of learning activities serve your child best.  If your child is primarily a visual or auditory learner, you’re in luck! Virtually all Orton Gillingham reading programs use visual and auditory components or activities.

Thus, when you are looking at programs, carefully consider how thorough the reading program is in using the Orton Gillingham approach.  Orton Gillingham reading programs that are widely used among homeschooling families who are working to overcome dyslexia include (in no particular order):

Direct Instruction Dyslexia Reading Programs:

orton gillingham approachorton gillingham approach

Computer-based Dyslexia Reading Programs to be used in ADDITION to Direct Instruction:

If you’d like an Orton Gillingham app for reading practice, Sound Literacy is one that uses virtual letter tiles for teaching. “Sound Literacy provides a parent with the basic building blocks (elements) that written words are made of – letter and letter combinations, prefixes, suffixes, and bases. With the added ability to create any combination used to explain how words are structured, spelled, or pronounced the possibilities are endless.”

In addition to the resources above, check out our “Home School Curriculum for Learning Disabilities” Resource page for a wider variety of homeschooling curriculum for dyslexics.  There are numerous Orton Gillingham reading programs available on the market.  You just need to be aware of your child’s learning style. Then pick a reading program that includes activities for your child’s primary learning style. If the program is also based upon the orton gillingham approach, the reading program you choose should be a good fit for your child.

  4 Responses to “Orton Gillingham Approach Reading Programs for Dyslexia”

  1. Hi- I am looking for a tutor trained in orton gillingham method for my college age daughter
    in Chicago. Please reply. Thank you

    • I’m not in the Chicago area, so I have no connection to any resources there. You might try searching Google for “orton gillingham fellows chicago” and pursue help based upon the search results you get there.

  2. Looking for reading programs to assist surface dyslexia. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks

    • When you say “surface dyslexia,” are you referring to the form of dyslexia caused by brain damage? The specific strengths and weaknesses of your child’s neurological processes will dictate which reading program would be best. For example, does your child have good or poor phonemic awareness? Visual memory? Visual perception? Auditory processing? As The Dyslexia Help Handbook for parents points out, the root cause of the reading difficulties is very important when picking an effective program. It is probably the MOST important thing to identify before picking a program. 😉

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