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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Orton-Gillingham Approach to reading instruction was developed in the early-20th century.

It is language-based, multisensory, structured, sequential, cumulative, cognitive, and flexible.[1]

The Orton-Gillingham Approach has been in use since the 1930s. An intensive, sequential phonics-based system teaches the basics of word formation before whole meanings. The method accommodates and utilizes three learning modalities, or pathways, through which people learn—visual, auditory and kinesthetic. Unlike some scripted and rigid reading programs, the Orton-Gillingham Approach is a system that allows for flexibility.

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • Susan Nolan teaching an Orton Gillingham lesson with a dyslexic child
  • Orton-Gillingham in a Gr. 1 Classroom
  • Orton-Gillingham Overview by IMSE


>>INSTRUCTOR: I'm going to show you some letters and I want you to give me the sounds. >>STUDENT: YA and EY, RR, SSS, JA, VVV, WO, ZZZ, C, FFF, HHA >>INSTRUCTOR: You're fast. >>STUDENT: KKA, U, AAA, I, OO, PPP, T, MMM, B, D, NNN, I, GG, EEE, QUU, XXX >>INSTRUCTOR: Excellent, that was really fast. Charlotte now this time I'm going to say the sound. I want you to repeat it and then write it, okay? "VVV." I couldn't hear anything. Good. Charlotte, if you write something that you don't want, just put one nice neat line through it like that, okay? Say "YUH." >>STUDENT: YUH. >>INSTRUCTOR: Good job. "PUH." >>STUDENT: Puh. >>INSTRUCTOR: Good. Let's go right across this way to this red line, and then we'll go back to this red line, OK? "T." >>STUDENT: T. >>INSTRUCTOR: MMM. >>STUDENT: MMM. >>INSTRUCTOR: RRR. >>STUDENT: RRR. >>INSTRUCTOR: SSS. >>STUDENT: SSS. >>INSTRUCTOR: Good. Let's come back over here. JA. >>STUDENT: JA. >>INSTRUCTOR: Good. That does say "JA." Do you know another way to spell "JA"? >>STUDENT: D-G-E. >>INSTRUCTOR: Good! You know of that one too. Go ahead and write that one. And you know one more way to spell "JA." Excellent. Do you know which one of these is your first choice? That's used the most in our language? Actually, this one. >>STUDENT: Oh. >>INSTRUCTOR: Next, say... "D." Over here. Repeat it for me. >>STUDENT: D. >>INSTRUCTOR: Good job. NNN. >>STUDENT: NNN. >>INSTRUCTOR: WO. >>STUDENT: WO. >>INSTRUCTOR: ZZZ. >>STUDENT: ZZZ. >>INSTRUCTOR: L. >>STUDENT: L. >>INSTRUCTOR: GUH. Oh, that's a nice capital. Can you make it lowercase? Perfect. Say, "GUH." >>STUDENT: GUH. >>INSTRUCTOR: EHH. >>STUDENT: EHH. >>INSTRUCTOR: Read back to me what you wrote. >>STUDENT: EHH. >>INSTRUCTOR: What does this say? >>STUDENT: It says, "AHH." >>INSTRUCTOR: Good proofreading! Did I say "AHH" or "EHH"? >>STUDENT: EHH. >>INSTRUCTOR: Good job. One nice neat line. Perfect. Let's write that one down here three more times and say "EHH." >>STUDENT: EHH. EHH. EHH. >>INSTRUCTOR: Emily, when you see this, I want you to think of this straight line here as the straight line here. This edge. Can you say "Edge"? >>STUDENT: Edge. >>INSTRUCTOR: Good. Now say "Edge" without the "GE." >>STUDENT: Edge. >>INSTRUCTOR: Without the "GE." >>STUDENT: EHH. >>INSTRUCTOR: Good! Good. So, when you make that edge, then you go like that. Alright? Very good. KKA. >>STUDENT: KKA. >>INSTRUCTOR: Good. You know another way to spell "KKA." Good! Do you know where you use this spelling? >>STUDENT: Uh.... In a short word, after a short vowel, you spell "CK." >>INSTRUCTOR: That's right. After a short vowel, one short vowel, you use this one. So you know one more way to spell "KKA." Good. And do you know which one of those is used the most in spelling for our language? Yes, that one's used the most. Say "FFF." >>STUDENT: FFF. >>INSTRUCTOR: HHH. >>STUDENT: HUH. >>INSTRUCTOR: No voice. Just "HHH." >>STUDENT: HHH. >>INSTRUCTOR: Good job. QUH. >>STUDENT: QUH. >>INSTRUCTOR: What always goes with that letter? Good job. KSS. >>STUDENT: KSS. >>INSTRUCTOR: UHH. >>STUDENT: UHH. >>INSTRUCTOR: AAH. >>STUDENT: AAH. >>INSTRUCTOR: IHH. >>STUDENT: IHH. >>INSTRUCTOR: AHH. >>STUDENT: AHH. >>INSTRUCTOR: BUH. >>STUDENT: BUH. >>INSTRUCTOR: Read back what you wrote. >>STUDENT: BUH. >>INSTRUCTOR: Ah. Let's... >>STUDENT: I mean, "DUH." >>INSTRUCTOR: Very good. Take your hands and go like this. Good. Notice the shape of this letter? What letter is this? >>STUDENT: It's a D. I mean-B! >>INSTRUCTOR: Good. When you say the alphabet, you go, "A, B, C, D." OK? So this one is in the shape of what? >>STUDENT: A "B." >>INSTRUCTOR: And this one is in the shape of a... >>STUDENT: D. >>INSTRUCTOR: Now show me which hand matches that one. Good job. So let's put one nice neat line through that. Good. Write "BUH" three times and say it. >>STUDENT: BUH. BUH. BUH. >>INSTRUCTOR: Excellent. Very good. Alright. So now we're going to read some make believe words. Go ahead. >>STUDENT: Yap? Yep. >>INSTRUCTOR: Excellent. >>STUDENT: Rep. Sep. >>INSTRUCTOR: Like in "September". >>STUDENT: Tep. I mean, Sep. Set! >>INSTRUCTOR: Good job. >>STUDENT: Jat? Jet. >>INSTRUCTOR: Very good. >>STUDENT: Vet. >>INSTRUCTOR: Is that a real word? Can you use it in a sentence? >>STUDENT: I took my dog to the vet. >>INSTRUCTOR: Excellent sentence. >>STUDENT: M.... Vem. Wem. Wum. Lum. Cum. Fum. Fam. Fad. Han. Kan. >>INSTRUCTOR: Would that be your first choice for spelling "CAN"? Which one is used the most? >>STUDENT: C. >>INSTRUCTOR: Alright. Excellent. How about that one? >>STUDENT: Z... Zan. Zag. Zig. Z... Za... Zix. Kix. Kib. >>INSTRUCTOR: And what would this say if I did that? >>STUDENT: Kibe. >>INSTRUCTOR: Excellent. >>STUDENT: Quid... Quid... Quib. Quibe. Quob. Quobe. >>INSTRUCTOR: Nice job. Perfect. Alright. So today we are going to play a bit of a game and we are going to review our syllable types. So the three that we are going to work on are "closed," this stands for "closed." This stands for "open." This stands for "silent E." Okay, if you look at this little card, you notice how the door is closed. When the door is closed what does that say? >>STUDENT: Dis.. AH. >>INSTRUCTOR: But if I open the door up and the vowel is on the end what does it say? >>STUDENT: O so that's NO. >>INSTRUCTOR: And if I put a silent E here at the end what does it say? >>STUDENT: It's Not... Note. >>INSTRUCTOR: Excellent if you put this E out here it's going to give all the power back to this letter and it's going to say it's name so "note." So let's see if you can decide, and we'll just play this for a short time. You draw a card and you tell me what the card says, and you tell me if it's "closed," "open," or "silent E." >>STUDENT: This is a closed syllable. >>INSTRUCTOR: Good, so you put yours there. Mine is "which" and I have a closed syllable. Your turn. The first one of us to get one in each space wins. >>STUDENT: Shine, that's an open syllable? >>INSTRUCTOR: Show me the pattern here. If yours looks like this? Or like that? Or like that? Please show me on here what you think. >>STUDENT: It looks like this. >>INSTRUCTOR: Oh so what kind of syllable is that? How many vowels are in a closed syllable? >>STUDENT: 3? I mean 4. >>INSTRUCTOR: Well the vowels are just A E I O and U. Okay, so this only has one vowel right? And mine only has one vowel so in a closed syllable you only have one vowel. Do you have both an I and an E? Then it can't be closed. >>STUDENT: It has to be open. >>INSTRUCTOR: Well if it's open, an open has only how many vowels? >>STUDENT: It has to be a silent E. >>INSTRUCTOR: Excellent, good job. Oh goodness, I have two, I have E inside. Since you have a silent E I think I'm going to go with a silent E. Your turn. >>STUDENT: Sat.. Sut..Bent. >>INSTRUCTOR: Let's take a look at that again, you have this syllable. Does this syllable - how many vowels are in this syllable? >>STUDENT: 1. >>INSTRUCTOR: 1. Okay, now where is that 1 vowel? >>STUDENT: At the end. >>INSTRUCTOR: So what kind of syllable is this? >>STUDENT: An open syllable. >>INSTRUCTOR: And you win. Very good, nice job. So tell me what you remember about a closed syllable. >>STUDENT: It -- it only has - it has a consonant that both consonants are trapping it. >>INSTRUCTOR: So that it has one consonant closing in the vowel right? Tell me what you remember about an open syllable. >>STUDENT: The open syllable doesn't have any - consonant right here. >>INSTRUCTOR: Excellent and what do you remember about silent E? >>STUDENT: It makes the A say its name. >>INSTRUCTOR: It makes that first vowel say its name. Very good, thank you very much.


Orton and Gillingham

Samuel Torrey Orton (1879–1948), a neuropsychiatrist and pathologist at Columbia University, brought together neuroscientific information and principles of remediation. As early as the 1920s, he had extensively studied children with the kind of language processing difficulties now commonly associated with dyslexia and had formulated a set of teaching principles and practices for such children.

Anna Gillingham (1878–1963) was an educator and psychologist at Teachers College, Columbia University. Working with Dr. Orton, she trained teachers and compiled and published instructional materials. Gillingham combined Orton’s teaching methods with her analysis of the structure of the English/American language and with Bessie Stillman, she wrote what has become the Orton–Gillingham manual: Remedial Training for Children with Specific Disability in Reading, Spelling and Penmanship. First published in 1935/6, this work is updated and republished regularly.

Features of the Approach

Language-based: 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.

Multisensory: Orton-Gillingham teaching sessions are action-oriented and involve constant interaction between the teacher and the student and the simultaneous use of multiple sensory input channels reinforcing each other for optimal learning. Using auditory, visual, and kinesthetic elements, all language skills taught are reinforced by having the student listen, speak, read and write. For example, a dyslexic learner is taught to see the letter A, say its name and sound and write it in the air – all at the same time. The approach requires intense instruction with ample practice. The use of multiple input channels is thought to enhance memory storage and retrieval by providing multiple "triggers" for memory.[2]

Structured, Sequential, and Cumulative: The Orton-Gillingham teacher introduces the elements of the language systematically. Sound-symbol associations along with linguistic rules and generalizations are introduced in a linguistically logical, understandable order. Students begin by reading and writing sounds in isolation. Then they blend the sounds into syllables and words. Students learn the elements of language—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.

Cognitive: 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.

Flexible: Orton-Gillingham teaching is diagnostic and prescriptive in nature. Teachers try to ensure the learner is not simply recognising a pattern and applying it without understanding. When confusion of a previously taught rule is discovered, it is re-taught from the beginning.

Research support

In 2000, the National Reading Panel included the Orton-Gillingham method in their study, "Teaching Children to Read: An Evidence-Based Assessment of the Scientific Research Literature on Reading and Its Implications for Reading Instruction."[3] The Panel supported the significance of offering classroom instruction in phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension.[4]

The Florida Center for Reading Research reported in 2006 that it was unable to identify any empirical studies examining the efficacy of the approach specifically as described in Orton-Gillingham training materials. Thus there was no direct research evidence to determine its effectiveness, although there are a variety of studies of derivative methods that incorporate aspects of Orton-Gillingham in combination with other techniques.[5]

An overview of all reported studies of Orton-Gillingham derivative methods, such as Alphabetic Phonics or Project Read, revealed only a dozen studies with inconsistent results and a variety of methodological flaws. Despite these conclusions, the article does provide a detailed overview of the available research, which viewed most favorably would show some evidence of benefit from classroom use of OG methods with first graders, and use in special education or resource room settings with older children with learning disabilities.[6]

In July 2010, a US Department of Education agency reported that it could not find any studies meeting its evidence standards to support the efficacy of Orton-Gillingham based strategies.[7]

One study found it was effective for students who were English Language Learners.[8]

Research has indicated the system is effective in remediating instruction for students with dyslexia,[9] although further research mentions that its efficacy is yet to be determined.[10]

AOGPE Accredited Schools

From the Spring 2007 Academy News, the publication of the Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators, the following is a list of AOGPE accredited schools:

  • Assets School, Honolulu, Hawaii [1]
  • Camperdown Academy, Greenville, South Carolina [2]
  • The Carroll School, Lincoln, Massachusetts [3]
  • Greengate School, Huntsville Alabama [4]
  • The Kildonan School, Amenia, New York [5]
  • Marburn Academy, New Albany, Ohio [6]
  • Pine Ridge School, Williston, Vermont [7]
  • Riverside School, Richmond, Virginia [8]
  • Sandhills School, Columbia, South Carolina [9]
  • Schenck School, Atlanta, Georgia [10]
  • Stephen Gaynor School, New York, NY []
  • Trident Academy, Mount Pleasant, South Carolina [11]
  • The Hamilton School, Providence, Rhode Island [12]
  • The Fletcher School, Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Learning House [13]
  • The Reading Center, Rochester, Minnesota
  • The Bridge Academy, Lawrenceville, New Jersey [14]
  • The Windward School, White Plains & Manhattan, New York


  1. ^ The structured flexibility of Orton-GillinghamBB Sheffield - Annals of Dyslexia, 1991 - Springer
  2. ^ Sherman, Gordon. Can Neuroscience Help to Demystify Dyslexia? Schwab Learning. Retrieved from October 8, 2007.
  3. ^ Langengerg, Ph.D, Daniel. "Teaching Children to Read: An Evidence-Based Assessment of the Scientific Research Literature on Reading and Its Implications for Reading Instruction" (PDF). National Reading Panel. Retrieved 26 May 2016.
  4. ^ Hughes, S. (10 February 2014). The Orton-Gillingham Language Approach - A Research Review (PDF). p. 7. Retrieved 26 May 2016.
  5. ^ "Orton-Gillingham Approach" (PDF). Florida Center for Reading Research. Retrieved 2007-05-23.
  6. ^ Ritchey, K.D.; Goeke, J.L. (2006). "Orton-Gillingham and Orton-Gillingham Based Reading Instruction: A Review of the Literature". The Journal of Special Education. 40 (3): 171–183. doi:10.1177/00224669060400030501.
  7. ^ "What Works Clearinghouse Intervention Report: Orton-Gillingham-based Strategies (Unbranded)" (PDF). US Dept of Education. July 2010. Retrieved 2011-03-14
  8. ^ Use of an Orton-Gillingham approach to teach a foreign language to dyslexic/learning-disabled students: Explicit teaching of phonology in a second language. RL Sparks, L Ganschow, S Kenneweg… - Annals of Dyslexia, 1991 -
  10. ^ Turner, III, Herbert M. (June 2008). "This systematic review empirically documents that the effectiveness of Orton-Gillingham and Orton-Gillingham-based reading instruction remains to be determined". Evidence-Based Communication Assessment and Intervention. 2 (2): 67–69. doi:10.1080/17489530802037564.
This page was last edited on 27 May 2018, at 15:46
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