Why has it been called the "Gold Standard" for teaching the dyslexic student?


1.  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.

2.  Orton-Gillingham is truly multi-sensory, in that both the visual, the  auditory and the kinesthetic-tactile pathways of learning are used  simultaneously.

3.  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.

4.  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.

5.  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.

6. Orton-Gillingham directly teaches phonics - the alphabetic symbol-to-sound and sound-to-symbol relationships.

7.  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.

8.  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.

9.  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 multi-sensory 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.