Orton Gillingham Works
Three short examples of kids whose reading improved with OG.
Since earning my teaching licensure in 2004, I have been employed as both a classroom teacher and reading specialist. At the beginning of my career many of the students that I encountered were what may be referred to as environmentally challenged. These students lacked exposure to print within the home or had little preschool experience. What the majority truly needed was simply an extra dose of guided reading with opportunities to practice strategies within a small group setting.
When I began teaching at St. Mary School, I met a different type of student. These children came from backgrounds that had adequate reading resources. These students had a rich preschool experience but still struggled with basic early literacy skills. Although I had been trained in Wilson and Leveled Literacy Intervention, it became necessary for me to add additional tools to my repertoire. So I began to seek a way to reach students that had adequate intelligence and opportunity but still struggled to read. This led me to acquire Orton Gillingham certification. Using Orton Gillingham lessons has allowed my targeted students to make progress and retain strategies that have made them confident, capable readers.
I want to share my success using Orton Gillingham methods so we enable all kids to learn to read with greater ease and improve their educational experience and future opportunities.
The first student I began individual weekly tutoring with was a second grader. Steve had little knowledge of vowel teams and was at least two reading levels behind his peers. Much of his reading struggle could be attributed to his apraxia. After tutoring in second grade and the following summer, this student transferred to his public home district school. His mother was proud to report that he passed our state's third grade reading guarantee.
Sara*, a third grade student was having some comprehension difficulties and trouble decoding multi-syllable words. Her oral responses on reading benchmark assessment questions that went beyond the text demonstrated that she was a thoughtful thinker. It was the details that were confusing Sara's understanding. Orton Gillingham lessons trained her how to approach unknown words by their sounds. She began to internally self-prompt when she came to unknown words. Once this occurred her comprehension improved. Her classroom teachers report that she is able to keep up with her peers in content area reading and writing. Although her spelling is still weak, she is now able to meet grade level expectations. We will continue to support Sara with Orton Gillingham lessons so that she has direct instruction regarding the remaining sounds that have not been taught.
John gave me the opportunity to teach the acquisition of reading from the beginning. He came to first grade missing some consonant sounds, vowel sounds and with u/n and b/d confusion. John's needs demonstrate the necessity of consistency and the importance of the thoroughness required in all parts of an Orton Gillingham lesson. Correct pacing combined with the proper level of mastery is necessary before introducing new sounds. To support John's progress I used materials such as phoneme cards and books with controlled text.
* Names have been changed