Principles of Orton-Gillingham

As an Orton-Gillingham tutor, I follow a set of principles when I plan and execute a lesson with a student. Each lesson is:

  • Systematic and Sequential: Concepts follow a specific order and build on previously taught material. Progression of concepts is logical and organized.
  • Multisensory: We use all the learning pathways throughout the lesson simultaneously – visual, auditory, tactile, and kinesthetic.
  • Personalized: Every dyslexic learner has different needs. No two are alike, and every lesson plan is individualized.
  • Diagnostic and Prescriptive: During a lesson, I observe a student’s confusions with letters, sounds, sequencing, etc. I understand what I need to teach or review to eliminate those uncertainties (diagnosing the problem). I plan my next lesson to address the confusion (prescription).
  • Direct and Explicit: I make no assumptions about what they may already know. Every concept is taught directly and simply so there are no “missing pieces” of knowledge.
  • Flexible: I am able to change the direction of a lesson plan based on the student’s performance at the time.
  • Cognitive: I teach my students the logic of the English language.
  • Synthetic and Analytic: Instruction continually interchanges both the putting together (reading) and taking apart (spelling) of sounds and letters.
  • Repetitive: Review concepts are woven into every lesson because repetition builds automaticity.
  • Emotionally Sound: The student experiences a high level of success at every lesson and gains confidence in his skills. Learning is a fun, happy experience!

Here is one example of the Emotionally Sound principle being put to use in a lesson:

This particular student was resistant to reading aloud to me because of his embarrassment when he misread words. He had earned these toy monsters as a reward and he loved them! He brought them to every lesson. One day when he was very anxious about reading to me, I said, “Would you like to read to your monsters?” He eagerly responded, “Yes! They would love it!” So we surrounded his book with them and he read to his toy monsters. We did this at every lesson. Over time, his anxiety about reading aloud lessened and he eventually became comfortable reading to me! I was able to put the Emotionally Sound principle into practice when I recognized his anxiety and redirected that anxiety by incorporating something that he loved into his reading. This built his confidence, and he began to look at reading in a positive way!