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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Samuel Torrey Orton (October 15, 1879 – November 17, 1948) was an American physician who pioneered the study of learning disabilities. He examined the causes and treatment of dyslexia.

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • Susan Nolan teaching an Orton Gillingham lesson with a dyslexic child
  • Susan Nolan teaches an Orton Gillingham lesson with a 4th grade dyslexic child
  • The Orton Gillingham Approach


>>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's interest in learning disabilities stemmed from his early work as a pathologist in Massachusetts, where he worked with adult patients with brain damage.[citation needed] This led him to study why some children with apparently intact neurological functioning have language disabilities. In 1919, Orton was hired as the founding director of the State Psychopathic Hospital in Iowa City, Iowa, and chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Iowa College of Medicine.[1] In 1925, Orton set up a 2-week mobile clinic in Greene County, Iowa to evaluate students referred by teachers because they "were retarded or failing in their school work." Orton found that 14 of the students who were referred primarily because they had great difficulty in learning to read, in fact had near-average, average, or above-average IQ scores.[2]

Orton's study of reading difficulties in children led him to hypothesize that these individuals have failed to establish appropriate cerebral organization to support the association of visual words with their spoken forms.[3] He termed this difficulty strephosymbolia, meaning "twisted symbols". This term stemmed from Orton's observation that many of the children he worked with tended to reverse letters or transpose their order. Orton also reported that some of his research subjects could read more easily if they held pages up to a mirror, and a few were rapid mirror writers.

Working in the 1920s, Orton did not have access to modern brain scanning equipment, but he knew from his work with brain damaged adults that injuries to the left hemisphere produced symptoms similar to those he observed in children. Many of the children Orton studied were also ambidextrous or had mixed handedness. This led Orton to theorize that the children's reading problems stemmed from the failure of the left hemisphere to become dominant over the right. Some of Orton's theories about brain structure and organization would later be confirmed by modern brain researchers, such as Dr. Albert Galaburda, who compared the brains of deceased dyslexic and non-dyslexic adults in the late 1970s.

Dr. Orton's key contribution to the field of education was the concept of "multisensory" teaching–integrating kinesthetic (movement-based) and tactile (sensory-based) learning strategies with teaching of visual and auditory concepts. Dr. Orton wanted a way to teach reading that would integrate right and left brain functions. He was influenced by the work of fellow psychologist Grace Fernald, who had developed a kinesthetic approach involving writing in the air and tracing words in large written or scripted format, while simultaneously saying the names and sounds of the letters.

Later, Orton began working with psychologist Anna Gillingham, who introduced a systematic and orderly approach of categorizing and teaching a set of 70 phonograms, single letters and letter pairs representing the 44 discrete sounds (or phonemes) found in English. In the years since Dr. Orton's death in 1948, his name has come to be strongly associated with the Orton-Gillingham teaching method, which remains the basis of the most prevalent form of remediation and tutoring for children with dyslexia, or dyslexia-like symptoms, such as reading disabilities.[4]


The studies of Orton have led the studies on dyslexia and have found validation in current cognitive science and learning theory.[5] Although he did not have access to brain scanning equipment, most of his findings have eventually been found to be correct.[6][7] His work is the basis of current neuropsychological concept of laterality of brain and reciprocal functions of the two cerebral hemispheres.[8] Working in association with Anna Gillingham and Bessie W. Stillman the Orton-Gillingham approach to teaching language was developed.[4] The original manual, originally published in 1935, is currently in its seventh edition.[9]

See also


  1. ^ "BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE". SAMUEL TORREY ORTON, 1879-1948, and JUNE LYDAY ORTON, 1898-1977.Papers, 1901-1977. Columbia University Health Sciences Library. Archived from the original on 2007-06-09. Retrieved 2007-06-15.
  2. ^ Hallahan, Daniel; Mercer, Cecil D. (2001). "Learning Disabilities: Historical Perspectives". Office of Special Education Programs (Learning Disabilities Summit). Archived from the original on 2007-05-27. Retrieved 2007-06-15.
  3. ^ Orton, ST (1925). "'Word-blindness' in school children". Archives of Neurology and Psychiatry. 14: 285–516. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1925.02200170002001.
  4. ^ a b Hughes, S. (10 February 2014). The Orton-Gillingham Language Approach - A Research Review (PDF). p. 7. Retrieved 12 June 2017.
  5. ^ North, Mary E. (December 1992). "The writing road to reading: From theory to practice". Annals of Dyslexia. 42 (1): 110–123. doi:10.1007/BF02654941. PMID 24233871.
  6. ^ "Was Orton Right? New Study Examines How The Brain Works In Reading; Offers Key To Better Understanding Dyslexia". ScienceDaily. Georgetown University Medical Center. 19 May 2003. Retrieved 12 June 2017.
  7. ^ Miciak, Jeremy; Stuebing, Karla K.; Vaughn, Sharon; Roberts, Greg; Barth, Amy E.; Fletcher, Jack M.; VanDerHeyden, Amanda (December 2014). "Cognitive Attributes of Adequate and Inadequate Responders to Reading Intervention in Middle School". School Psychology Review. 43 (4): 407–427. doi:10.17105/SPR-13-0052.1. PMC 5457160. PMID 28579668.
  8. ^ Leong, Che Kan (January 1984). "Confessions of a schoolman—On dyslexia and laterality". Annals of Dyslexia. 34 (1): 15–27. doi:10.1007/BF02663611. PMID 24243292.
  9. ^ Carol Turkington; Joseph Harris (2006). The Encyclopedia of Learning Disabilities. Infobase Publishing. p. 174. ISBN 978-0-8160-6991-0.

External links

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