You are probably visiting this site because you or someone you love is struggling to master the skills of reading and writing.

These skills are critical for success in school, work, and every-day life. Reading is not a natural process – it has to be learned. Some brains are “wired” to pick up these skills easily, some people need to work at it with typical effort, and 15% – 20% of people have moderate to extreme difficulties. Watching your bright, creative child fail at something other kids seem to do with ease is heartbreaking. With the right help, dyslexia and related reading problems can be overcome. You have taken the first step to learn about the skills that can be life changing.

Dyslexia Savannah provides dyslexia information, diagnostic assessment resources, and dyslexia OG tutoring in Savannah.

What is Dyslexia? Definition of Dyslexia

Word Meaning
dys: difficulty with lexia: language
So basically dyslexia is a difficulty with language.

Simple Definition
“dyslexia: a reading difficulty in a child or adult who otherwise has good intelligence, strong motivation and adequate schooling.”
-Overcoming Dyslexia by Sally Shaywitz, M.D.

Detailed Definition
Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurological in origin. It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction. Secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede the growth of vocabulary and background knowledge.
– International Dyslexia Association

Why is reading so hard?

  • Reading is a very complex process and it is amazing that anyone learns to do it. We actually use a code that we see – letters – to represent the sounds that we hear in words. It is all about decoding.
  • Reading requires that the areas of the brain that support vision, and the areas that support verbal language, work together to perform the functions of reading and writing. There are many places along this process that the system can break down.
  • Add into the mix the importance of working memory and processing speed, plus visual and auditory skills – reading is indeed amazing.
  • Fifteen to twenty percent of the population deal with some form of a reading challenge, impacting many areas of their life.
  • Dyslexia is the most under-diagnosed learning disability and is at the root of many academic difficulties.
  • Phonemic awareness and the ability to discriminate, sequence, and manipulate individual sounds within words underlies decoding and spelling. SO YOU NEED TO LEARN THE CODE!

Why is multisensory instruction best?

The multisensory instruction method activates multiple areas of the brain and integrates the left and right brain hemispheres. This method, known as Orton-Gillingham, is structured, systematic, and cumulative.

Repetition builds neural pathways, and with more sensory input, those pathways become stronger. This is especially important for learners who haven’t learned through typical classroom methods.

Utilizing the multiple brain pathways that control hearing, seeing, speaking, and feeling increases the brain’s ability to learn and retain the information necessary to be a reader and speller. It is much like having a whole team working on the task, instead of a single player – especially helpful if some “players” are under-performing. Scientific research has proven that this instruction is the “gold standard” for helping struggling readers, and actually changes the way the brain functions.

The Orton-Gillingham Approach: Why has it been called the “Gold Standard” for teaching students with dyslexia?

  • Orton-Gillingham is an approach, not a method. This means that it is flexible and focuses on the needs of the individual student. While the tutor carefully constructs each lesson in advance, he/she is able to make appropriate changes in the moment when needed. This is called diagnostic teaching. This requires a highly trained experienced practitioner who has mastered both the theory and the practice of Orton-Gillingham. A method, on the other hand, 1) uses the same pre-packaged lessons for all students, 2) all students begin at the same point and 3) they must all proceed at the same pace.
  • Orton-Gillingham is truly multi-sensory, in that both the visual, the auditory and the kinesthetic-tactile pathways of learning are used simultaneously.
  • Another distinctive feature of the Orton-Gillingham Approach is that reading, spelling and written language are taught simultaneously. It is not only a reading approach.
  • Orton-Gillingham is structured, meaning that the structure of the language is taught and that each lesson is carefully crafted using the same lesson segments each time and the same processes in teaching the student to the point of automaticity.
  • Orton-Gillingham is sequential, meaning that the language is taught from the simple to the more challenging; from the concrete to the abstract; from short, regular forms to longer and irregular forms.
  • Orton-Gillingham directly teaches phonics – the alphabetic symbol-to-sound and sound-to-symbol relationships.
  • Orton-Gillingham teaches the logic of the language; it is 85% regular for reading and spelling when one knows the rules and patterns. Only 15% of the language is irregular or non-phonetic. These words must be memorized for both reading and spelling in a logical sequence, using an appropriate multi-sensory process.
  • Orton-Gillingham teaches for mastery. A careful sequence is followed. New learning is connected with prior learning. Much practice is incorporated and the student is taken at his/her own pace to the point of mastery, or life-long learning.
  • The Orton-Gillingham Approach was developed by the neurologist, Dr. Samuel Torrey Orton and, later, his colleague, educator Anna Gillingham, specifically for the dyslexic student. It has withstood the test of time, having been successfully used with thousands of dyslexic students for more than 70 years. In recent years this multisensory structured language approach has been independently validated by modern research using Positron Emission Tomography (PET scans) and functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), as well as studies by the National Institutes of Health at Haskins Laboratory at Yale University and at 17 other universities.