Welcome to Orton-Gillingham/Literacy!

Orton-Gillingham is an instructional approach intended primarily for use with persons with dyslexia and related learning differences who have difficulty with reading, spelling, and writing. The Orton-Gillingham Approach is most properly understood and practiced as a approach, not a method, program, system or technique. In the hands of a well-trained and experienced instructor, it is a powerful tool of exceptional breadth, depth, and flexibility.


The essential curricular content and instructional practices that characterize the Orton-Gillingham approach are derived from two sources: first from a body of time-tested knowledge and practice that has been validated over the past 70 years, and second from scientific evidence about how persons learn to read and write; why a significant number have difficulty in doing so; how having dyslexia makes achieving literacy skills more difficult; and which instructional practices are best suited for teaching such persons to read and write (Dianna King 2007).


The approach is so named because of the foundational and seminal contributions of Samuel T. Orton and Anna Gillingham. Samuel Torrey Orton (1879-1948) was a neuropsychiatrist and pathologist. He was a pioneer in focusing attention on reading failure and related language processing difficulties. He brought together neuroscientific information and principles of remediation. As early as 1925 he had identified the syndrome of dyslexia as an educational problem. Anna Gillingham (1878-1963) was a gifted educator and psychologist with a superb mastery of the language. Encouraged by Dr. Orton, she compiled and published instructional materials as early as the 1930s which provided the foundation for student instruction and teacher training in what became known as the Orton-Gillingham approach (Academy of Orton-Gillingham, 2010).


Many programs are offshoots of the Orton-Gillingham approach and begin at a basic level (such as closed syllable words) and progress in a specific sequence dictated by the program. Pure Orton-Gillingham, in contrast, is an approach rather than a program; that distinction allows us to meet the child at the level of his or her need and make informed decisions about the direction the curriculum should take. Each student comes with a range of language skills; therefore, the content of the tutorial is diverse. The Orton-Gillingham approach is, by nature, diagnostic and prescriptive. On any given day, one student may be working on developing sound/symbol relationships, reading and spelling one-syllable words, composing basic sentences, and reading a beginning level trade book. Another student in the same grade may be studying the meanings of Latin prefixes, reviewing the major spelling rules, outlining an essay, and reading from a classic, young adult novel. Although the
specific content differs for each student, the underlying goal is to address language skills in the following areas: phonemic awareness and word attack skills; spelling (encoding); vocabulary; reading comprehension; reading fluency; grammar/syntax; expository writing (composition); handwriting and/or keyboarding. Language Training tutors are prepared to teach an extensive array of skills within each of those areas.


All teachers in the Orton-Gillingham language training undergo a rigorous, seventy hour Associate Level Orton-Gillingham that goes beyond the guidelines established by the Academy of Orton Gillingham Practitioners and Educators. Their training continues throughout the year as tutors participate in a practicum experience that includes continued reading, observations by a fellow of the Academy, and continued coursework in the form of workshops and meetings. Many tutors choose to complete the requirements of the Associate Level of the Academy; some choose to move towards the Certified Level as well. The Orton-Gillingham Approach is one of the oldest teaching approaches for children with dyslexia.



Courses and Seminars


Of its members, only Fellows of the Academy have achieved the levels of education, training, and experience deemed necessary to independently train others in the Orton-Gillingham Approach. Each program section presents current information provided the Academy by Fellows about Orton-Gillingham training opportunities in which they are involved.


Academy Fellows typically train in one of two areas: (1) some instruct in Academy Accredited Training Programs, and (2) others train as individuals or with organizations that are not so accredited. All Fellows who train are expected to provide instruction consistent with the high standards promulgated by the Academy. Orton-Gillingham instruction involving Academy Fellows may lead to complete fulfillment of the requirements for admission to Academy membership at the Subscriber, Associate, Certified, or Fellow levels. It may provide only partial fulfillment of Academy membership requirements.


If you are interested in Orton-Gillingham training, you should contact the designated Academy Fellow directly for details. If you think you may be interested in membership in the Academy, discuss this with the Fellow, and ask how the training will qualify you for Academy membership.


Suscriber, O-G Classroom Teacher, Associate, Certified and Fellow Level Training Courses are all taught by Fellows. Some of them are complete courses including the required practicum based on Academy standards. Others may not fulfill the Academy standards. If you are interested in Orton-Gillingham training listed in the following sections, you should contact the designated Academy Fellow directly for details. If you think you may be interested in membership in the Academy, discuss this with the Fellow, and ask how the training in question may meet or help meet Academy membership requirements.


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