When I developed All About Spelling, I combined the key features of the Orton-Gillingham approach with the latest research and proven spelling rules. But why? What’s so special about Orton-Gillingham?
Orton-Gillingham is a powerful approach to teaching reading and spelling that uses instruction that is multisensory, sequential, incremental, cumulative, individualized, phonics-based, and explicit.
Though often touted primarily as an instructional method for children with dyslexia and other learning challenges, the Orton-Gillingham approach helps make spelling easy for all children.
The Orton-Gillingham approach helps take the mystery out of spelling by focusing on why words are spelled the way they are. Though the English language contains just 26 letters, these letters combine to create 44 speech sounds, and there are over 250 ways to spell those sounds. But the Orton-Gillingham approach condenses the spelling of these sounds into phonograms and demystifies spelling by teaching students to apply rules and generalizations that help make what was once difficult much easier!
Dr. Samuel T. Orton (1879-1948) was a pioneer in the study and understanding of dyslexia. He studied numerous children with language processing issues and eventually developed teaching principles designed to help these children learn language more effectively. One of Dr. Orton’s students, Anna Gillingham (1878-1963), further developed Orton’s ideas and eventually combined his teaching methods with her own understanding of language structure. The first Orton-Gillingham manual was published in 1935.
This feature focuses on the idea that children learn through three major pathways to the brain—visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. By engaging the senses of sight, sound, and touch all within the same lesson, multisensory instruction allows you to capitalize on your child’s preferred learning style while simultaneously strengthening the other learning pathways. When used correctly, the Orton-Gillingham approach can help children with ALL learning styles learn to read and spell.
Lessons are always presented in a logical, well-planned sequence. When instruction is sequential, children are able to make easy connections between what they already know and what they are currently learning. The Orton-Gillingham approach makes learning a rewarding experience.
With incremental instruction, each lesson carefully builds upon the previous lesson, ensuring that there are no gaps. This helps your child move from simple concepts to more complex ones, smoothly and naturally. With an Orton-Gillingham approach, even students who have experienced failure with other programs can learn to read and spell.
The most important component of cumulative learning is constant and consistent review of previously taught skills, and this is one of the cornerstones of the Orton-Gillingham approach. When review is integrated into every lesson, what a child learns stays learned.
Because everyone learns differently, the Orton-Gillingham approach is always concerned with the needs of the individual. Anna Gillingham once said, “Go as fast as you can, but as slow as you must.” Curriculum that follows this approach makes it easy for you to teach to your child’s strengths and at his pace. Consequently, this approach works for ALL ages—beginning readers, intermediate students, teens, and adults.
One of the priorities of the Orton-Gillingham approach is to simplify the English language by focusing on why words are spelled the way they are. By teaching the basic phonograms and the rules and patterns that spell 98% of English words, the O-G approach takes the guesswork out of spelling. People with reading disorders like dyslexia can actually overcome the language processing issues associated with these disorders.
In an Orton-Gillingham spelling program, students are taught exactly what they need to know in a clear and straightforward manner. Students know what they‘re learning and why they’re learning it. Children taught with this direct instructional approach gain skill and confidence. There’s no guessing, no ambiguity, and no confusion.
All About Spelling makes it easy to use the Orton-Gillingham approach to teach spelling. Our open-and-go teacher’s manuals walk you through each step of teaching spelling—with no experience, special training, or extra prep time required by you! You‘ll be teaching like an expert from your very first lesson, and your child will receive all the benefits of this effective method.
Did you enjoy this post? Be sure to read the whole series to learn how Spelling Can Be Easy!
Do you have questions about All About Spelling or the Orton-Gillingham approach?