What is Orton-Gillingham?

What is Orton-Gillingham?
Share this Page:
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest

What is Orton-Gillingham? The Orton-Gillingham approach is a technique for remedial reading instruction. It was developed in the late 1930s by Samuel Orton, a neuropsychiatrist and pathologist at Columbia University, and Anna Gillingham, an educator and psychologist.

The Orton-Gillingham approach aims to develop literacy skills in dyslexic children and was the first remedial reading technique to use a multisensory phonics strategy for reading instruction.

Orton-Gillingham uses sight, hearing, touch, and movement to convey concepts of reading, spelling, and writing to students. By breaking these skills down into smaller, more basic skills of recognizing certain letters and sounds, therapists are able to build up to larger reading and writing skills over time, at a pace that works for the patient.

This approach, when combined with sequential lessons focusing on phonics, has been proven to be highly effective in teaching children with dyslexia how to read.

Throughout its decades of use, Orton-Gillingham has proven effective for all sorts of learners, not just those with dyslexia. Educators have integrated it into classroom instruction. Speech-language pathologists have made great use of Orton-Gillingham as a therapy tool.

What is Orton-Gillingham? 1 What is Orton-Gillingham?

Signs Your Child May Be At Risk for Reading Difficulty

If you are a parent, you can look at several different areas to determine whether your child may be at risk for reading difficulty. You may consider scheduling a speech-language evaluation if your child displays weakness in any of the following areas:

  1. Phonological awareness skills: These skills comprise the ability to notice, recognize, and use the sounds of spoken language. They can hear subtle differences between sounds, recognize repetition or alliteration of sounds, and learn to use these sounds in their own speech.
  2. Verbal memory: This is the ability to remember and recount a simple story. It can also include remember lists of words, names, or numbers.
  3. Expressive vocabulary: This refers to the ability to express between 2,600 and 7,000 different words by age 6.
  4. Rapid serial naming: Also called “rapid automatized naming,” this is the ability to fluently name several known items based on a series of pictures or symbols.
  5. Receptive language skills: This simply refers to the ability to receive, understand, and act upon spoken language. Following three-step directions (Simon says stand up! Clap your hands! Close your eyes!) is a common way to test receptive language skills.

A speech-language pathologist obtains Orton-Gillingham certification by completing training through the Institute for Multi-Sensory Education (ISME). If you’re interested in this approach for your child, please reach out to us. We would be happy to consult with you about Orton-Gillingham and schedule an evaluation if needed.

Orton-Gillingham teletherapy

Orton-Gillingham Therapy via Teletherapy

There are many benefits to receiving Orton-Gillingham therapy via teletherapy:

  1. Convenience! Stay at home and easily schedule appointments around your child’s school and extracurricular activities.
  2. Easy adaptability: Like many forms of therapy, the face-to-face structure of Orton0Gillingham translates very well to remote settings. Our TherapyWorks literacy team has reported very few differences between in-person and remote sessions.
  3. Comfort level: Many children feel more at ease communicating via screens than during a face-to-face meeting with a therapist.
  4. Expanded access to providers: Orton-Gillingham therapists can be difficult to find in your local area. Luckily, teletherapy enables our expert OG team to work with children all across the United
  5. Safety: During our recent worldwide health concerns, teletherapy has exploded in popularity. Teletherapy has built-in social distancing to keep providers, patients, and families safe.

Finally, here are some of our favorite articles and websites on the topics of reading and literacy: 

  1. Learning About Literacy: SLPs Play a Key Role in Reading and Writing
  2. Reading and Literacy Developmental Milestones by Krista Forsyth
  3. How to Read with your Preschooler
Therapyworks Erin Michelle

Are you interested in services for your child? Founded by Michelle Worth and Erin Vollmer, TherapyWorks provides in-home speech, occupational and physical therapies in Michigan, Ohio and Illinois and teletherapy nationwide.

Related Posts

Here’s the Plan: Using Social Stories to Improve Your Child’s Understanding and Behavior

Did you know that children learn more quickly during their first few years than any other time in their lives? …

Here’s the Plan: Using Social Stories to Improve Your Child’s Understanding and Behavior Read More »

How to Grow Your Child’s Cognitive Skills through Gardening

Spring into action! Plant a garden with your child and watch their test scores, behavior, and language skills bloom. We’ve …

How to Grow Your Child’s Cognitive Skills through Gardening Read More »

Why Parents Should Skip the Sippy Cup and Start with Straws

When it’s time to say “bye-bye” to bottles, parents may think that giving their child a sippy cup with a …

Why Parents Should Skip the Sippy Cup and Start with Straws Read More »

Enhancing Your Child’s Social Emotional Development Through Play

“He had it first”, “Take turns”, “Share your toys!” You’re having coffee with another mom at a playdate as you …

Enhancing Your Child’s Social Emotional Development Through Play Read More »

“How was School?”: Tips for Helping Your Child Develop Narrative Language Skills

It’s an all too familiar scene. Your child throws his backpack in the car and hops in the backseat. You …

“How was School?”: Tips for Helping Your Child Develop Narrative Language Skills Read More »

Follow Us

COVID-19 Protocol

We hope you and your family are continuing to stay safe and healthy! We have outlined our protocols for in-person sessions during COVID-19. As you know, the health and safety of our clients and therapists remain our highest priority. As always, please reach out with any questions or concerns. Thank you for your cooperation and understanding as we work together through these unprecedented times.

Hand Washing:
Upon arrival at your home, your therapist will wash their hands with soap and water and/or use hand sanitizer. We ask that you and your child also wash your hands and/or use hand sanitizer upon your therapist’s arrival.
We are asking our therapists to wear masks upon entering your home and throughout your child’s session. That said, we understand that some children have adverse reactions to seeing adults in masks and will leave it up to you and your therapist to decide your comfort level while still taking safety precautions.
We ask that parents and caregivers also follow the guidelines and wear masks when sitting in on sessions. We will not enforce that policy, but we do kindly ask for compliance.
As for your child, we realize that masks may not be appropriate for every child so we will not enforce the rule that children over the age of 2 should wear a mask.  However, if your therapist insists that your child wear a mask, then that will be a requirement directly between the two of you. We respect our therapists’ individual comfort levels with safety precautions and ask that you respect them as well.


Protocol Acknowledgment and Health Certification:

Before your child’s first in-person session, we are asking clients to submit an acknowledgment of these protocols and a health certification, which you can find here. Thank you again for your cooperation and for helping all of us stay healthy!