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Orton-Gillingham (O-G) is a research-based, multisensory approach to teaching reading, writing, spelling, penmanship, and other literacy skills to individuals with dyslexia.  It is named for Dr. Samuel Orton, a Harvard-trained neuropsychiatrist and pathologist, and Anna Gillingham, a psychologist and master educator, who together developed this pioneering approach.


Orton-Gillingham is the basis of many reading programs, including Wilson (and Fundations), PAF, and Lindamood-Bell LiPS.  However, O-G itself is not a program; it is an instructional approach, based on the principles of diagnostic and prescriptive teaching.  It can be personalized and tailored to any age or skill level, and it is extremely effective for students with any degree of reading, spelling, or writing difficulty, whether or not they have a dyslexia diagnosis.  It is invaluable training for classroom teachers, reading specialists, and special educators, since by some estimates one in five people has dyslexia.  An even greater number struggle with literacy simply due to a lack of effective reading instruction because many common instructional practices, including those often taught in teacher preparation programs, fail to incorporate or even contradict the science of reading.


Orton-Gillingham lessons address all of the essential aspects of literacy, with the goal of fostering a fluent, enthusiastic, and independent reader and writer.  Skills that are integral to all O-G lessons include:

  • decoding (reading)

  • encoding (spelling)

  • phonological awareness (awareness and manipulation of speech sounds)

  • phonics

  • basic morphology (prefixes, base words, roots)

  • spelling rules

  • reading fluency

  • reading comprehension

  • written expression

  • penmanship

  • basic grammar

Older or more advanced students may also learn:

  • advanced morphology

  • advanced grammar

  • how to plan various types of essays

  • outlining

  • revising

  • organizational and executive functioning skills

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