26 Feb

The Orton-Gillingham Reading Program

What is the O.G. Program?

The Orton-Gillingham (O.G.) Approach to reading is an explicit, multisensory, systematic approach to literacy instruction created especially for individuals with dyslexia. It was originally developed by a neuropsychiatrist and psychologist, Samuel Orton and Anna Gillingham, in the 1930s. They developed the program to help struggling readers understand the connections between letters and sounds.

How Does the Program Work?

The Orton-Gillingham Program is individualized and highly structured and systematic. It involves a series of visual, blending, and auditory drills each session in which the child sees, recites, and hears individual sounds along with their corresponding phonograms, blends the phonograms together to form syllables, and encodes sounds orthographically. A new sound is then introduced following the drills. The child learns about that sound (e.g., /B/) and its features (e.g., voiced, consonant, bilabial) and then practices decoding the new letter in words, phrases, and sentences. Finally, grade-appropriate books are introduced to assist the child in applying their decoding skills to connected text.

What is Included in the Program? 

The Orton Gillingham program contains 5 main Levels. Each Level contains between 20-50 individual lessons, in which new material is introduced and applied in words, phrases and sentences. Below is a breakdown of the general material covered in each level:

  • Level 1: individual consonants (e.g., b, f, t), vowels (e.g., a, e, u-e), digraphs (e.g., sh, ch, th) and consonant blends/clusters (e.g., spl-, -ft)
  • Level 2: vowel teams (e.g., ea, ou), closed syllable exceptions (e.g., -ost, -ild), and r-controlled syllables (e.g., ar, or, er)
  • Level 3: new vowel teams (e.g., au, oi, ie), soft /c/ and /g/ (e.g., ce, gi) and suffixes (e.g., -ly, -ness, -tion)
  • Level 4: new vowel teams (e.g., ui, eu, ei), prefixes (e.g., un-, trans-, pro-).
  • Level 5: silent letters (e.g., kn, wr, rh), french patterns (e.g., que, gue), common word endings (e.g., iate, able, ence)


Where Should We Start? 

The Orton-Gillingham Levels do not correspond with age ranges or grade levels. Rather, upon individualized assessment of each student, the appropriate level is selected based on the child’s specific needs and current phonological knowledge. As lessons are introduced and reviewed, the administrator matches the pace of each lesson based on the child’s needs. Every reader is unique, and dyslexia presents in a variety of ways. For this reason, the Orton-Gillingham program is flexible and designed for individualized instruction which can be tailored to meet each developing reader where they are at in their literacy journey.

Posted Monday, February 26th, 2024