What is Orton Gillingham?

What is Orton Gillingham?

Orton Gillingham is an approach designed to target reading, spelling and writing skills. It is an evidence-based approach frequently recommended for students who demonstrate challenges in these areas, particularly students with a diagnosis of dyslexia or a reading disorder. Blog-Orton Gillingham-Main-Landscape

Orton Gillingham is phonetically based, meaning that it educates students on how letters are linked to certain sounds, and in what context (e.g. when a “c” followed by “e,” “i” or “y” it says the /s/ sound). The approach is systematic, structured and repetitive, so that each lesson builds on previous knowledge and has a predictable routine.

It is also multi-sensory, in order to target all pathways of learning: visual, verbal, auditory, and tactile/kinesthetic. The instruction is customized to fit the student’s individual needs related to literacy.

How does Orton Gillingham work?

The Orton Gillingham approach is comprised of five levels. Upon initiation of therapy, a pre-test will determine which level best suits the needs of the individual. Each session includes a review of the phonetic rule learned in the previous session, through a variety of multi-sensory exercises. These activities include letter and sound identification, blending of sounds to create non-sense words, reading and spelling both words and sentences, reviewing of sight words, and oral reading practice.

The student must demonstrate mastery of the target skill (90% or greater on both reading and spelling tasks), before learning new material. Upon completion of a level, a post-test is given to determine the student’s understanding and retention of the knowledge for that level, before moving on to the next.

Orton Gillingham is typically provided by a Speech Language Pathologist, Reading or Academic Specialist. It is most effective when the student participates in sessions at least twice a week.

Click here to learn more about North Shore Pediatric Therapy’s Orton-Gillingham Reading Center.

NSPT offers services in Bucktown, Evanston, Highland Park, Lincolnwood, Glenview, Lake Bluff, Des Plaines, Hinsdale and Milwaukee! If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140.



Identifying Dyslexia: Will My Child Grow Out of This?

Reading problems tend to be pretty common, so it’s interesting to learn that Dyslexia is often missed! Although care must be taken before jumping into an evaluation and diagnosis, reading difficulties may not be temporary (as we often hope they are). Children may not grow out of these struggles, and in fact, these difficulties will continue to persist until something is done! Missing the warning signs can lead from the 5 year-old who can’t quite learn her letters to the 6 year-old who can’t match sounds to letters to the 13 year-old who shies away from reading aloud in class…(Overcoming Dyslexia, 2003)

Here is where you come in! Parents, we need your feedback and detective skills.

When Dyslexia is suspected, here are some clues to look for:Dyslexia

Signs of Dyslexia in the Preschool Years:

  • Difficulty with common nursery rhymes like “Humpty Dumpty”
  • Doesn’t know the letters in his own name
  • Mispronounces words and persistent baby talk
  • Difficulty learning and remembering names of letters

Signs of Dyslexia in Kindergarten- 1st Grade:

  • Unable to understand that words come apart : (i.e. Cowboy becomes Cow-boy)
  • Difficulty linking sounds with letters : b makes a “ba” sound
  • Difficulty reading common one syllable words: “cat, bat, hop”
  • Parent or siblings have a history of reading difficulties
  • Avoids reading time or outwardly states that reading is hard

Signs of Dyslexia in 2nd Grade & Up:

  • Mispronounces words that are complicated or unfamiliar
  • Leaves out parts of words or confusing parts : amulium instead of aluminum
  • Difficulty finding words and confusing words that sound alike: tornado & volcano
  • Difficulty remembering phone numbers, names, dates, lists
  • Lots of “um’s” and pauses while speaking
  • Taking out/missing parts of words when reading
  • Extreme difficulty of learning a foreign language
  • Difficulty with spelling and word problems

Strengths of children with Dyslexia (hint, hint: they have lots of them!)

  • A great imagination
  • Good at building models
  • Higher maturity level
  • A great listening vocabulary
  • Able to understand well what is read TO him
  • Ability to understand & read high level words in areas of extreme interest (i.e. he loves dinosaurs and can a read a highly sophisticated book on the topic – due to practicing and seeing the words multiple times)

A diagnosis can come at any point in a person’s life from pre-school through adulthood! Don’t be afraid to reach out to your child’s teacher or therapist if you suspect Dyslexia. Help is only an evaluation away!

P.S. check out: Overcoming Dyselexia by Dr. Sally Shaywitz…great read!

North Shore Pediatric Therapy offers the Orton Gillingham reading program to help children with Dyslexia break the reading code. Read here about the benefits of Orton Gillingham reading therapy.