Adventures in Orton-Gillingham, Part 1

One of the things I did for myself this summer was to enroll in an Orton-Gillingham Comprehensive training. I’d been trained at a previous school in Lindamood Bell and found that systematic phonics instruction really helped my students, particularly those whose first or primary language was not English.

While the intensity of this training can’t be minimized, it was something life-changing. I feel so strongly that this approach to phonics will push my struggling readers to greater success.

Why shouldn’t it? Orton-Gillingham incorporates all three learning modalities – visual, auditory, and kineshetic. And how is most direct instruction delivered? If you said auditorially, you would be correct.  Just by re-thinking how much of a lesson is delivered in each modality and adjusting has got to help.

My first goal for the new school year has been to convince my administrators and coaches of implementing OG with my safety net readers in place of the district-preferred LLI (Fountas Pinnell). Thankfully Orton Gillingham has a built-in data collection process so that the request for collecting data as proof of the program’s effectiveness with my students will be natural.

Yesterday, our second day of school, I taught the students the routine for learning red words, or high frequency, irregularly decoded words. Today I’ll target my safety net readers and administer the OG Level 1 test as a baseline.

We are on our way toward what I know will be effective instruction for kids who really, really need to make sense of the print in front of them.

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