The Orton-Gillingham approach was first developed by neuropsychiatrist and pathologists Samuel Torrey Orton and Anna Gillingham, an educator and psychologist. Orton-Gillingham is a highly successful teaching approach designed to help individuals who struggle with reading, writing, spelling, or any combination of the three. Commonly used as an instructional method for children with dyslexia, Orton-Gillingham tutors provide highly individualized techniques and strategies that make it ideal for individuals of all skills and ages.
Orton-Gillingham pioneered the multisensory approach to teaching reading. A typical Orton-Gillingham tutoring session often involves action-oriented techniques that use auditory, visual, sensory, and kinesthetic elements to help students establish the connection between language and letters or words. By modeling how to best utilize their sight, hearing, touch, and movement to assist in the reading process, an Orton-Gillingham tutor can help children and students with dyslexia learn to become more successful in reading and spelling.
As a step-by-step teaching approach, Orton-Gillingham puts focus on the individual needs of students and struggling readers. Hence, an Orton-Gillingham teacher or reading specialist can design and customize lessons according to a learner’s present skill level. The approach is often used in one-on-one teaching sessions, but it can also be employed during small group instruction called the Slingerland Approach. And while it focuses primarily on teaching literacy skills (reading, spelling, and writing), Orton-Gillingham has also been adapted, due to its multisensory nature and sequential teaching, to teach students who struggle with mathematics. (Know more about multisensory math and our math tutoring services here!)