Orton-Gillingham Approach

The O-GMSL method is specifically beneficial for children with dyslexia, however it is also valuable for any child struggling with reading and spelling. We do not require your child to have a diagnosis of dyslexia. A phonemic awareness test, however, is a good indication of whether or not a Dyslexia Evaluation is recommended.

We will adequately liaise with parents and teachers about the child’s progress and needs.

We recognise that Orton-Gillingham MSL is not a quick fix and are realistic about the required tutoring necessary for each child, and will inform parents prior to the commencement of any tutoring program.

Why use the Orton-Gillingham Approach?

O-GMSL approach is the systematic, direct and sequential instruction of skills required for reading. It involves the simultaneous activation of the visual, auditory and kinaesthetic senses in order to create neural pathways, thus enabling students to comprehend, enhance memory and retain learning.

Multi-sensory techniques enable better retention than simply memorising words by sight. Students are taught the phonetic codes of the language. The 44 phonemes (sounds) and their corresponding letters and letter combinations are taught step by step, laying down the foundations, with the easiest skills taught first. Strong foundations are necessary so that a child can read more complex words. The sequential and cumulative nature of the instruction is vital so that the student does not feel overwhelmed and subsequently get left behind. By using controlled vocabulary the student has more chance of succeeding when decoding (breaking down) words. This results in a more enjoyable reading experience for the child.

It has been accepted that that the most efficient way to teach students with dyslexia is through a multisensory, structured and systematic phonics based approach. Research has been conducted by the National Reading Panel, (Sonday, A.W.) which has found that in order for reading programs to be effective they should encompass phonological and phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension. It has been recommended that all reading programs consist of a spelling aspect with multisensory reinforcement. This approach has been found to be beneficial not only for students with dyslexia but for all readers. The difference is that students with dyslexia require more repetition.

Students need to be taught the code for reading and writing. Speech is written down in code. This code must be learnt and then applied in order to decode (read) and encode (spell.) Reading instruction should incorporate the teaching of sound-symbol associations, blending sounds and segmenting words into sounds.

Prior to reading instruction, focus should be placed on teaching phonemic awareness. Research reveals that the most reliable predictor of reading achievement is word play competence. Systematic explicit phonics instruction should be taught in the early stages of the learning to read process. Card decks are useful to help with sound-letter association competence.

Spelling is a pivotal part of any reading program and should be taught in a multisensory activity in order to cement sound-symbol associations into long term memory. Finger segmenting is useful as it sends a strong message to the brain, thus creating neural pathways.

An alphabetic-phonics approach is required for any effective instructional program. These foundations are required for reading success. Teachers should understand the structure of the English language, the role that phonemic awareness plays as well as incorporate multisensory activities into their approach.

Reference & Links

  • Information has been obtained from Effective Reading Instruction, Arlene W. Sonday, provided by the Australian Dyslexia Association. ORTON-GILLINGHAM-BASED AND/OR MULTISENSORY STRUCTURED LANGUAGE APPROACHES, International Dyslexia Association. (2010).
  • Knowledge and Practice Standards for Teachers of Reading http://www.interdys.org/standards.htm.
  • Moats, L.C. (1999). Teaching Reading IS Rocket Science: What Expert Teachers of Reading Should Know and Be Able To Do. (Item #372) Washington, DC: American Federation of Teachers.
  • Spear-Swerling, L. (Fall, 2010). IDA’s Knowledge and Practice Standards and Teacher Preparation. Perspectives, 36 (4): 7-9. IDA website: http://www.interdys.org.
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