Orton-Gillingham Approach

An Effective Tutoring Technique for Children With Learning Disorders

O-G Approach is based on individual students’ needs, they should all share the following fundamental features:


Students are taught reading skills by combining input from more than one sense modality at the same time, using a technique that typically involves the auditory, visual and tactile-kinesthetic modalities. When methods of teaching involve more than one pathway to the brain, children are more likely to stay engaged, retain information, and have a better memory of the skill than if just one pathway were applied. As we know, there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to teaching students to read—nor to help them thrive in other subjects down the road—but by using all their senses, children are able to figure out the learning style with which they are most comfortable. For instance, seeing a word on paper may not resonate with a student, but the same individual might build an easier, deeper connection via active, tactile techniques such as using their finger to write out a word in the air while saying it aloud, tapping out the sounds, or taking part in a shared reading session.

Sequential and Cumulative

Instructors using the O-G Approach teach skills in a structured order based on an understanding of the structure of language. Students start by learning to identify sounds in words and building the connection to the letters that make those sounds; after that, it’s time to connect what they’ve learned to put together syllables, words, and so on, with the beginning of a lesson signifying a mastery of previously taught skills. If there is any confusion, the educator will reteach a skill to ensure full comprehension before moving on to the next in the sequence. With each new skill, the preceding concepts are incorporated and reviewed to further connect and reinforce learning.

Direct and Explicit

Critical to the O-G Approach is the need for direct, explicit instruction that will yield an understanding of not only what students are learning, but why. While some learners may succeed without understanding the connection between letters and sounds, a piece-by-piece breakdown of these phonics concepts can make a world of difference for the majority of students—and particularly for those who struggle. As Teacher magazine phrased it, “Systematic, explicit phonics instruction helps children to make the neurological connections between the areas of the brain that are devoted to visual (writing), phonological (sound), and semantic (meaning) processing.”

Prescriptive and Diagnostic

Student performance is closely monitored each step of the way to determine areas of both concern and progress. After careful analysis, the next lesson is designed to resolve any issues that still need improving, as well as to incorporate ideas or activities that address the student’s examined strengths.

The O-G Approach is often lauded

Not only for its ability to help students develop a new way of learning that can help them overcome their challenges, but for instilling confidence as learners continue forward in their educational journey—and that’s something worth celebrating.