What is the OG Approach?​

If your child is receiving reading, spelling, or writing instruction from me, you may have heard me talk about the OG approach. But what exactly does that mean?


OG is short for Orton-Gillingham, named for the two founders of the approach, Samuel Torrey Orton, a neuropsychologist and pathologist, and Anna Gillingham, an educator and psychologist. The approach is utilized to help students who have reading, spelling, and writing difficulties and it is most often used with students with dyslexia. However, I have found the approach helpful with many types of students.


What is fantastic about the OG approach is its basis in research on how students learn to read and write combined with knowledge of which instructional practices work best when teaching reading and writing.


For example, the approach is highly multi-sensory, meaning it employs visual, tactile, kinesthetic, and auditory methods in each lesson and each section of an OG lesson reinforces the other, leading to deep instruction and practice.


The approach is also highly tailored to each student. We work on the skills needed by individual students and follow a path that helps fill in their particular gaps in knowledge. In that same vein, the approach is diagnostic and prescriptive, meaning that I assess each student to determine their particular needs and I also make sure to analyze each lesson after teaching it to figure out what is the best next step. Lessons are highly structured, sequential, and cumulative, but I have a great deal of flexibility within that structure to provide students with the best lesson for them at any given time.


What I love about the OG approach, and what I have noticed in lesson after lesson with my students, is that they are gaining a deep knowledge of how our language works and why it works the way it does. I'm not just telling them "spelling rules" and having them parrot those back. Instead, we are exploring why our language is structured the way it is and how the pieces they learn today build a foundation for what is coming. As a result, I have watched my students' understanding grow and their spelling and reading abilities improve in a way that I did not experience before I learned the OG approach.


I have been receiving training in the OG approach for the last year, and I am currently in the middle of a 100-hour practicum in which I am working with students and receiving feedback from a fellow who is helping me refine and improve my instruction. At the end of this school year, if all goes well, I will become an OG Associate.


If your child is not already working with me using the OG approach and you are interested to know more, please let me know. I have a few more openings for OG students at the moment. Remember, this is not just for students diagnosed with dyslexia; it can help students who have many different struggles with reading, spelling, and writing.


And if you'd like to dive into this subject more fully, you can visit the Orton Academy's web site, which has an excellent resource list.​