dyslexic student tutoring with Orton-Gillingham sound/symbol connection

Understanding the Orton-Gillingham Method: A Guide for Parents

What is the Orton-Gillingham Method?

As a parent, watching your child struggle with reading is heart-wrenching and anxiety-provoking. You know that reading and writing are essential skills and you want to give your child the best possible start. If you've done some research, you've likely come across the term "Orton-Gillingham." At Mindguide, we specialize in 1:1 tutoring using the Orton-Gillingham method, and we're here to shed light on this approach that has empowered countless wounded learners.

What is the Orton-Gillingham Method?

The Orton-Gillingham (OG) method is an approach specifically designed to help students who struggle with reading, spelling, and writing, which are often signs of dyslexia. Developed in the 1930s by Dr. Samuel T. Orton and educator Anna Gillingham, OG lessons are: 1) structured, meaning each lesson has a rhythm and order 2)sequential, meaning they progress in order of frequency of use 3) multi-sensory, for example, students use their voices to make sounds as they simultaneously write or make movements and look at the letters they form and 4) phonics-based, meaning we focus on the sounds of our language. Phonos meant "voice" or "sound."

OG explicitly teaches sound-symbol connections and then builds upon that foundation to develop advanced literacy skills like morphology - the way word meanings change when we add and subtract prefixes and suffixes - and etymology - the study of word origins.

Here's a video of Jennifer demonstrating the parts of an OG lesson and their functions: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ab4mbZHoLTQ

How Does It Differ from Mainstream Methods?

Unlike the one-size-fits-all approach most learners find in their classrooms, OG is highly individualized. Mainstream methods encourage students to guess words based on pictures or context, rather than to decode them, and it's assumed that regular exposure to printed language will result in reading gains. OG is a more direct and explicit way of teaching that incorporates visual, auditory, kinesthetic (movement-based), and tactile (touch-based) learning strategies to ensure concepts stick. OG Students frequently review previously learned concepts and get adequate repetition of new concepts to retain knowledge. The OG approach moves at each student's pace, ensuring mastery before proceeding to the next lesson. The approach is centered around success and progress, no matter how small, which boosts confidence and motivation.

Why 1:1 Tutoring Is Best

  • Individual Attention: Tutors can focus exclusively on your child's specific challenges without the distractions of a classroom setting.

  • Pacing: Your child can work through the material at their speed without feeling rushed or held back by other students.

  • Relationship Building: A quality tutor develops a rapport with your child, creating a safe learning environment where they can be vulnerable, take risks and make mistakes without judgment.

  • Immediate Feedback: In a 1:1 setting, tutors provide instant feedback and correction, which is crucial for children who are building foundational reading skills.

At Mindguide, we understand that every child's path to reading fluency is unique. Our experienced tutors are trained in the Orton-Gillingham method and are committed to providing personalized 1:1 support to unlock each student's potential. We believe that with the right approach and dedicated attention, all children can overcome their reading challenges and thrive.