The Orton-Gillingham Approach
The Orton-Gillingham or (OG) approach is language-based, multisensory, structured, sequential, cumulative, cognitive, and flexible. Its breadth, perspective, and flexibility prompt use of the term "approach" instead of "method."
It is flexible enough to accommodate visual, auditory and kinesthetic learners. Not every child is the same, and neither is their learning style. The Prospect Centre's Orton - Gillingham program works to identify each student's individual needs to help them reach academic success.
It is based on the research of Samuel Orton and the later research of Anna Gillingham, whose main focus was to find a multisensory approach to teaching reading. The approach has been adapted over time to incorporate what are known as the “Five Big Ideas” in Reading Instruction”. They include: Phonemic Awareness, Alphabetic Principle, Fluency with Text, Vocabularyand Comprehension Reading, spelling and writing are basic to education, and most students learn to read and write with very little effort. However, students do not all learn in the same way. One student in seven may experience an unexpected gap between their potential for learning and their school achievement.
Intelligence is often not the problem; the problem is language. Some students may have trouble with reading, spelling, or expressing themselves clearly in speaking or writing. The built-in success of each individually structured Orton-Gillingham lesson provides achievement which is the strongest motivator a learner can experience.
The Orton-Gillingham approach is based on a technique of studying and teaching language, understanding the nature of human language, the mechanisms involved in learning, and the language-learning processes in individuals.
Orton-Gillingham teaching sessions are action oriented with auditory, visual, and kinesthetic elements reinforcing each other for optimal learning. The student learns spelling simultaneously with reading.
Structured, Sequential, Cumulative
The Orton-Gillingham teacher introduces the elements of the language systematically. Students begin by reading and writing sounds in isolation. Then they blend the sounds into syllables and words. Students learn the elements of language, e.g., consonants, vowels, digraphs, blends, and diphthongs, in an orderly fashion. They then proceed to advanced structural elements such as syllable types, roots, and affixes. As students learn new material, they continue to review old material to the level of automaticity. The teacher addresses vocabulary, sentence structure, composition, and reading comprehension in a similar structured, sequential, and cumulative manner.
Students learn about the history of the English language and study the many generalizations and rules that govern its structure. They also learn how best they can learn and apply the language knowledge necessary for achieving reading and writing competencies.
At best, Orton-Gillingham teaching is diagnostic-prescriptive in nature. Always the teacher seeks to understand how an individual learns and to devise appropriate teaching strategies.
In every lesson, the student experiences a high degree of success and gains confidence as well as skill. Learning becomes a rewarding and happy experience.
Orton-Gillingham Multisensory learning is not just for language, but math and other subjects.