Orton Gillingham (OG) is a way of teaching reading and writing. It is an intensive phonics based method. It is also multi-sensory. Multi-sensory instruction uses the visual, auditory, and kinesthetic pathways at the same time when learning new information. Orton Gillingham can help anyone learn to read and write. Pilot studies have shown big improvements in reading and writing success when OG concepts are taught in K-12 classrooms. Unlike most methods of teaching English, students are taught directly by the teacher. It uses synthetic phonics taught in a sequential way using all three sensory pathways. There are studies that have shown that OG is the only evidence-based approach for teaching reading.
OG helped me improve my reading level by two grades in a seven-month period. At this point I am now learning advanced Orton Gillingham. Advanced OG teaches the meanings of Greek and Latin roots. It has helped me with spelling words correctly and understanding the meanings of words.
Studies have shown that when OG is used in the classroom all children are able to learn to read. So the real question is why aren’t all schools using this approach? OG has been around since 1935 when Samuel Orton and Anna Gillingham published their first book. Unfortunately, there are only a few schools using this evidence-based method to teach reading. Those schools that are using the approach, are not using it through 12th grade. Most schools are unwilling to spend the money to train their teachers to use the approach. If schools spent the money so that their students didn’t fall behind, they wouldn’t need to spend as much money for remediation. This would actually save money. The reading data shows that when children are caught up by 2nd grade, they remain at grade level with their peers.
I wish more teachers would be trained in the Orton Gillingham approach. Unfortunately, teachers in Indiana are not taught how to teach reading. I believe there needs to be a law like the one in Ohio that requires teachers to be trained in this evidence-based approach. Marian College is the only college in Indiana that teaches this approach. Too many children in Indiana are falling behind in reading and this is unacceptable.