Orton-Gillingham for Special Education

The tailored and systematic approach of the Orton-Gillingham method makes it a valuable resource in the special education classroom.

The Orton-Gillingham (OG) approach is a valuable resource for children with special educational needs and their instructors. Its individualized, structured, and multisensory nature allows educators to provide personalized instruction that addresses the specific learning needs of each student. It provides educators with a customizable plan to teach reading and vocabulary skills, focusing on step-by-step learning and incremental development. 

What Does Orton-Gillingham Look Like in The Special Education Classroom?

Orton-Gillingham is often integrated into the overall literacy instruction in the special education classroom. Teachers align OG principles with the broader curriculum, incorporating strategies and techniques into reading, writing, and language arts activities. This integration ensures students can transfer their learning from explicit OG instruction across subject areas.

Teachers using the OG approach regularly assess and monitor student progress. They use various assessment tools to identify mastery and areas that require further instruction. Continuous assessment helps inform instructional planning, allowing teachers to adjust lessons to meet students’ individual needs.

The OG approach incorporates multi-sensory techniques to engage multiple senses in the learning process. Through seeing, saying, sounding, and writing letters, students i special education can build skills to help decode and encode words. The emphasis on multisensory learning ensures student engagement and optimal learning for students with special educational needs. 

Students receiving special education services will see gains in reading proficiency through a comprehensive 10-18 week curriculum based on Orton-Gillingham. With 30 minutes of instruction per day, three times a week, and 90 minutes of core instruction, their progress will be monitored monthly or bimonthly. This structured literacy approach ensures that special education students make tangible advancements in their reading skills.

OG Activities for the Special Education Classroom

The tailored and systematic approach of the Orton-Gillingham method makes it a valuable resource in the special education classroom, empowering educators to effectively teach literacy skills and empowering students to grasp what they are learning. A wide range of OG activities are available for implementation, providing substantial support to students with special educational needs. Some activities include:

Sound-Blending and Segmenting

Sound blending (putting sounds together) and segmenting (pulling sounds apart) are skills that are necessary for learning to read and spell. In this activity, students practice blending individual sounds together to form words. The teacher may provide phoneme cards or use a multisensory approach by having students tap or move objects as they blend sounds. For example, the teacher might say the sounds /b/ /a/ /t/ and the students blend them together to say the word “bat”. Blending and segmenting activities can help students to develop phonemic awareness, a strong predictor of reading achievement.

Multisensory Letter-Sound Association

Multisensory letter-sound association involves utilizing various senses to reinforce the connection between letters and their corresponding sounds. Through activities like air writing, using letter tiles, magnetic letters, or writing letters in sand, students can explore different letter shapes and sounds. They trace the letters with their fingers while simultaneously vocalizing the associated sounds. This approach enhances the understanding of how letters visually represent specific sound. By engaging multiple senses during these activities, students can strengthen their comprehension and retention of letter-sound relationships. 

Dictation and Spelling Activities

Spelling is crucial for literacy development, and the Orton-Gilingham method offers an effective strategy. In this approach, students listen to a word or sentence, write it down, and break down complex words into syllables or sounds. Students then use multisensory strategies, such as tapping and segmenting sounds, and apply their knowledge of letter-sound relationships. This structured and supportive approach helps students achieve automaticity in spelling, preventing frustration and ensuring they don’t fall behind in their literacy skills. 

Decoding Practice

By providing repeated opportunities for decoding text and incorporating multi-sensory techniques, students develop strong spelling skills through dictation exercises. This approach is comprehensive and effective for all students and especially beneficial for those with learning differences. 

By implementing the Orton-Gillingham approach in the special education classroom, educators can provide targeted and systematic instruction to students with language-based learning differences, helping them develop strong reading, writing, and language skills while building confidence and independence.

Searching for an Orton-Gillingham Approach for Your SpEd Classroom?

Implementing OG in the special education classroom requires specialized training for teachers. The Institute for Multi-Sensory Education (IMSE) offers comprehensive OG training programs for educators. It equips teachers with the knowledge, skills, and resources necessary to implement OG techniques in the special education classroom effectively. By investing in high-quality OG training, teachers can enhance their instructional practices and provide equitable literacy instruction to all their students.

Investing in the right OG training, such as the programs offered by IMSE, empowers teachers to implement this evidence-based approach effectively and significantly impact their student’s academic success. For more information on OG training available to all teachers, check out IMSE.com!