Recognizing, educating, and advocating for dyslexic students

Orton Gillingham

It amazes us, but this approach to reading instruction that is proven to help dyslexic students and can help unaffected students become really strong readers as well was developed in the 1930’s! Credit goes t neurologist Dr. Samuel T.Orton and educator, psychologist Anna Gillingham. The approach can be implemented in a variety of settings and includes all the foundations of the English Language.

Essential Elements to OG: Intensive, Multisensory, Explicit, Systematic, Sequential, Provides multiple repetitions and scaffolding of skills


  1. Why Orton-Gillingham needs to be used --> LINK
  2. Bright Solutions for Dyslexia -->
  3. Overcoming Dyslexia, Sally Shaywitz, M.D. --> LINK
  4. Make Dyslexia a National Priority, Sally E. Shaywitz, M.D. and Bennett A. Shaywitz, M.D --> LINK
  5. Articles and presentations by Dr. Joseph Torgesen --> LINK

The absence of appropriate teacher training in dyslexia is a serious problem:

  • less than 14% of teachers are confident that they can recognize a dyslexic child.
  • less than 9% of teachers feel confident that they could teach a dyslexic student to read.
  • 4 out of 5 teachers have asked for extra training to teach dyslexic students.

Principles of appropriate instruction:

  • Intensive: one-to-one or homogenous (skill based) small group instruction for a minimum of 4 -5 times per week, 45 – 60 minutes per session.
  • Explicit: Concepts are clearly and directly explained, no assumptions are made about the student’s ability to make inferences.
  • Systematic: Planned teaching of all useful correspondence patterns in a sequence of instruction; progress is in measurable and manageable steps. Skills are continually reviewed, practiced, extended, and once mastered, applied to more and more difficult text.
  • Multisensory (see-hear-say-touch): Incorporates the three learning pathways: auditory, kinesthetic, and visual. Capitalizes on an individual student’s dominant pathway while strengthening weaker ones. Simultaneous practice of skills strengthens connections between pathways adn supports retrieval and working memory--essential skills for struggling readers.


  1. Beginning to Read: Thinking and Learning about Print, 20 years of reading research compiled by Marilyn J. Adams
  2. Topics in Language Disorders,  a paper entitled "Wanted: Teachers with Knowledge of Language”  by Louisa Moats and Reid Lyon

Resources from M. A. Rooney Foundation

About M. A. Rooney Foundation:

The M. A. Rooney Foundationis a non-profit organization committed to improving student achievement. The Foundation's primary focus and mission is ensuring that all students in K-2 are reading at grade level.
The Foundation's mission is to ensure that ALL kids are reading at grade level. To successfully accomplish their mission, they offer educators a broad set of services and capabilities that include a Data Management and Reporting System, Strategic Planning, and Professional Learning.

The Foundation provides professional learning support that focuses on increasing student achievement.  The Foundation work directly with school leaders to identify needs and next steps for success. Collaboratively, they design professional development opportunities that are engaging, motivating and relevant to district goals.
Student achievement increases when:

  • Success plans are clearly articulated and understood by all stakeholders
  • Goals are measureable and are systematically monitored
  • Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment are aligned
  • Data is easily accessible and understood
  • Data is effectively used to drive instruction
  • All stakeholders “Own It!”

Teacher's Resources