The Orton-Gillingham® approach is language-based, multisensory, structured, sequential, cumulative, cognitive, and flexible. Its breadth, perspective, and flexibility prompt use of the term approach instead of method.
The Orton-Gillingham® approach is based on a technique of studying and teaching language, understanding the nature of human language, the mechanisms involved in learning, and the language-learning processes in individuals.
Orton-Gillingham® teaching sessions are action oriented with auditory, visual, and kinesthetic elements reinforcing each other for optimal learning. The student learns spelling simultaneously with reading.
Structured, Sequential, Cumulative
The Orton-Gillingham® teacher introduces the elements of the language systematically. Students begin by reading and writing sounds in isolation. Then they blend the sounds into syllables and words. Students learn the elements of language, e.g., consonants, vowels, digraphs, blends, and diphthongs, in an orderly fashion. They then proceed to advanced structural elements such as syllable types, roots, and affixes. As students learn new material, they continue to review old material to the level of automaticity. The teacher addresses vocabulary, sentence structure, composition, and reading comprehension in a similar structured, sequential, and cumulative manner.
Students learn about English language and study the many generalizations and rules that govern its structure. They also learn how best they can learn and apply the language knowledge necessary for achieving reading and writing competencies.
At Swan, Orton-Gillingham® teaching is diagnostic-prescriptive in nature. The teacher seeks to understand how an individual learns and devises appropriate teaching strategies.