Orton Gillingham Method For Struggling Readers: All About Reading

January 20, 2021, 6:48 am

If you have a struggling reader in your home or homeschool, you’ll definitely want to know about Orton Gillingham.  Sadly, as of 2016, roughly 36 million adults struggled with basic reading and writing skills.  This is tragic and can have devastating long-term impacts on lifestyle, emotional well-being, and access to decent-paying jobs.

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What Do We Do When Kids Hate To Read?

So what happens when your child struggles to read and what do we do when kids resist or hate reading? Whether a child has dyslexia, a learning difference or simply struggles to read, how we adults approach these reading challenges has vast implications.

This is why it’s so important to choose homeschool reading materials that are effective and engaging.  So let’s talk about Orton-Gillingham and All About Reading.

What is The Orton Gillingham Approach?

Orton Gillingham is a teaching approach that explicitly teaches the relationships between letters, combinations of letters and their sounds. It is multi-sensory which means it uses multiple parts of the brain in order to solidify reading component skills.

How to Evaluate a Reading Program

What is Multi-Sensory Learning?

Multi-sensory refers to teaching that provides the brain with multiple forms of sensory input. And while we now know that the body contains dozens of sensory systems, for the sake of this post, we will focus on the basic 5 senses. Think of the senses that you learned about in grade school.

  • Sight
  • Taste
  • Hearing
  • Touch
  • Smell


Relationship Between Sensory Systems & Learning

Basically, each sensory system is designed to allow the brain to receive and process information from the outside world. This is what many parents of uniquely-wired kids know as sensory input. We know that a child with ADHD or autism may need specific sensory input in order to function well in day-to-day activities.

This same concept applies to learning in general. The brain often needs multiple forms of sensory input specific to what is being learned. Learn about the brain and the sensory systems that impact learning and behavior in Homeschooling The Unregulated Child.

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How Does Orton-Gillingham Work?

Let’s look at an example Orton-Gillingham lesson.  When engaged in reading lessons, the teacher may have a child learn basic phonics sounds in the following way:

  1. Teacher holds a letter symbol card for child to see (visual),
  2. Child then builds the letter with clay (kinesthetic),
  3. The adult models the sounds aloud (auditory),
  4. Student then repeats back the sound (oral output) aloud (auditory )

This multi-sensory learning approach is highly effective as it targets multiple parts of the brain.

All About Reading

All About Reading & Orton-Gillingham

All About Learning is a homeschool curriculum company that uses the Orton-Gillingham method. They have two programs lines to support literacy with each complementing one another.

  1. All About Spelling
  2. All About Reading

Both All About Spelling and All About Reading work well for outside-the-box and struggling learners. The curriculum includes:

  • Hands-on letter tiles,
  • A systematic flash card system (unlike any I have ever used) that provides explicit and incremental instruction,
  • Leveled readers that are engaging, fun, and well-illustrated,
  • and easy to follow step-by-step teaching guides for parent teachers.

RELATED POST: How Do I Choose The Best Homeschool Curriculum For Learning Differences 

Check Out The New Homeschool Parent Training: Reading, Writing & Relationships! Click Link Below!

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The Power of Orton-Gillingham

All About Reading: Sequential & Intentional Reading Instruction

All About Reading and All About Spelling includes a sequential flash card system that teach the sounds for each letter and combination of letters.  Rather than teaching our children that the English language doesn’t make sense or follow rules, it specifically teaches the patterns within our language.

Homeschool Reading Dyslexia

All About Reading: A Solid Foundation

Instead of waiting until kids are “older” to teach these patterns, this foundational knowledge is taught even in the lower levels.

  • c says “s” before i, e & y
  • a says “a” (cat), “A” (skate) and “ahh” (all)- this is laid out right away before official spelling or reading instruction begins
  • syllable division rules are explicitly taught
    • Open Syllables (represented by an open door image) have a long vowel sound (We)
    • Closed Syllables (represented by a closed door image) have a short vowel sound (hat)

RELATED POST: How To Help Struggling Readers (& Writers)

Check Out The New Homeschool Parent Training: Reading, Writing & Relationships! Click Link Below!

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Strong Readers Benefit From Orton-Gillingham

Personally, some of our best homeschool memories involve our time using All About Spelling.  I initially taught my girls to read using Teach Your Child To Read in 100 Easy Lessons. Once we “mastered” reading, I wanted to give them a solid foundation in spelling to further strengthen their reading skills.

All About Spelling

All About Spelling: Hands On Letter Tiles

All About Spelling is chock full of literacy support and has given us a solid understanding the English language through spelling rules. Both my girls loved physically manipulating the letter tiles which were color-coded to identify vowels, consonants, and vowel teams.

Dyslexia Resource Library

Orton-Gillingham, All About Reading, Dyslexia & More

Fast-forward to today.  My oldest is going into high school, my middle into middle school, which means I’ll be starting kindergarten with my boy. My son has cognitive differences including a severe speech and language delay. Because of this, I have to be very intentional with our homeschool curriculum choices. I’ve decided that in order to best equip him with what he needs to thrive as a reader, we will be using All About Reading this year.

Check Out The New Homeschool Parent Training: Reading, Writing & Relationships! Click Link Below!

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Reading Aloud TO Your Child as a Reading Instruction Strategy

In addition to seeking out alternative reading curriculum, I highly recommend reading aloud to your struggling reader. Reading aloud to your child will yield incredible fruit including:

  • Language development
  • Reading comprehension skills
  • Exposure to rich vocabulary
  • Deepened family connection and so much more…

For a comprehensive guide to language-based learning issues (reading, writing and social struggles), check out How To Help a Struggling Reader.

All About Learning Press

Who Benefits From Orton-Gillingham?

Kids are unique in so many ways. This includes neurodiversity which is the way we process the world around us. I’m convinced that every student can excel when taught based on their own wiring. Therefore, parents need to be equipped with alternative strategies for struggling learners. Kids with ADHD, Autism, dyslexia and other learning differences can be served well with How To Help A Struggling Reader.

All About Spelling Giveaways

Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you do end up purchasing any of the recommended items through this link, I may receive a small commission at no cost to you. I appreciate your support.

2 thoughts on “Orton Gillingham Method For Struggling Readers: All About Reading”

  1. Well-written and great review of the programs and materials. I will definitely be looking into this for our son with cognitive delays. Appreciate your help!

    Reply

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