Finding Effective Dyslexia Instruction The Orton-Gillingham approach combines multisensory instruction with deliberate instruciton of phonemic information and is the best approach for teaching the dyslexic reader to read. It was first developed in the mid 1920’s and modified by Ann Gilligham. Multisensory teaching involves the use of visual, auditory, and kinesthetic-tactile pathways to enhance memory and learning. Memory and learning is stored according to data from our senory organs of smelling, tasting, seeing, hearing and touching (including feeling muscle movement). Acitivities to systematically incorporate smelling and tasting in teaching have not been devised. However seeing, hearing and touching/moving have been incorporated by the Orton-Gillingham approach into activities that result in retention of new information and skills. The dyslexic reader has difficulty retaining and processing the auditory phonemic sounds, which are the foundation of reading. In Orton-Gillingham instruction this weakness is compensated for by the use of touch/kinesthetic pathway. Information stored according to these sensory pathways can be linked together. If one pathway is weak, the information can be accessed along one of the other sensory pathways. The heart of the Orton-Gillingham approach is combining multisenory instruction with systematic teaching of phonemic information. Many programs try to incorporate methods and principles described in the work of Orton and Gillingham with varying degrees of success that vary in intensity and individual instruction. The most desirable delivery of Orton-Gillingham based instruction is through individualized instructor from an instructor trained and supervised in the Orton-Gillingham approach. Is your teacher certified or supervised by a certified teacher? There are many people who represent themselves as Orton- Gillingham trained, despite a lack of actual formal training and supervision. Unfortunately, the quality and adequacy of preparation and experience of such persons varies significantly. Effective instruction should be provided by a certified instructor or supervised by a certified instructor. The Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators is unique in being the only organization established and authorized expressly to set and maintain professional and ethical standards for the practice of the Orton-Gillingham Approach and to certify teachers and to accredit instructional programs that meet these standards. Click her to visit the the Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators webpage. Contact the Michigan Dyslexia Institute for certified instruction. Of course many people do not have access to properly trained and supervised Orton-Gillingham instructors and must seek out alternate instruction. Below are resources that identify such alternate instruction. The International Dyslexia Association has identified instructional approaches that have a strong track records of success. These programs differ in specific techniques and materials and but they have components important for successful learning. Click here to view the International Dyslexia Association report about these various instructional approaches ( Matrix of Multisensory Structured Langauge Programs ). Reviews of various reading instructional programs. The Institute for Education Sciences, a branch of the United States Department of Education, established the What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) to provide evaluations of research regarding a variety of instructional programs. These reports sometimes do not give sufficient consideration to the role of quality implementation and teacher training on the outcomes reported, but provide a starting point for the consumer to evaluate the potential benefits for themselves. Click here to view the What Works Clearinghouse review of reading programs ( What Works Clearinghouse ). Below is a brief list of program from the What Works Clearinghouse review of reading programs that are commonly used. Alphabetic Phonics Barton Reading & Spelling System ® Dyslexia Training Program Earobics® Fast ForWord ® Fast ForWord Language Fundations® Herman Method Lexia Reading Lindamood Phoneme Sequencing® Project Read® Phonology Read Naturally Reading Plus ® Reading Recovery® Reading Recovery® Read, Write & Type!™ Learning System The Spalding Method® Wilson Reading System®
© Robert D. Smith, PhD
Robert D. Smith, PhD Diagnosis of Dyslexia, ADD & Learning Disorders Children & Adults