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What is Orton Gillingham?

Orton-Gillingham (OG) is a philosophy, not a curriculum, for teaching the structure and code of the English language. The philosophy has been in use since the 1930s and the techniques are sequential, systematic, multi-sensory and cumulative. The system relies on phonics and progresses from teaching the fundamentals of word formation to advanced level word attack. The brainchild of Samuel Torrey Orton, a neuropsychiatrist and pathologist, and Anna Gillingham, an educator and psychologist, their philosophy is based on extensive studies of children with language processing difficulties like those of dyslexia. Together they developed a teaching approach to help these children and mentored teachers accordingly.

The Orton-Gillingham philosophy—sequential, systematic, multi-sensory, and cumulative—is appropriate for all ages and skill levels. By intellectualizing the language, rather than depending on rote memorization, students are able to make sense of English. By removing the confusion and mystery, what seems to be an illogical system is shown to be quite regular and predictable. Our program offers step-by-step instruction that helps each student master skills in a cumulative way. Our techniques incorporate tactile and visual as well as auditory elements. Our curriculum ensures that every student has the skills and the confidence to succeed in and out of the classroom. Orton-Gillingham provides a solid foundation upon which individuals can build a thorough understanding of reading, writing and vocabulary.

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