A Note from the Principal’s Desk    

A Different Approach to Reading

     During the month of September teachers across the district in grades K-2 were trained on a new reading program. This new approach is called Orton-Gillingham and the strategies and skills gained from this 5 day conference will be used with struggling readers. 


What Orton–Gillingham Focuses On

     Orton–Gillingham focuses on teaching kids to read at the word level. While it can help develop reading comprehension, that is not the program’s primary goal.  This approach uses multiple pathways to help kids learn. For example, students might learn the letter by seeing it, saying its name and sounding it out while writing it with their fingers in shaving cream.

     Orton–Gillingham also puts a strong emphasis on understanding the “how” and “why” behind reading. Students may explore why the letter s sounds one way in the word plays, and another way in the word snake. Once they know consistent rules and patterns, they’re better able to decode words on their own.

How Orton–Gillingham Works

     The first step is assessing a student to determine his reading skills and areas of strength and weakness. This can be done by any specialist or teacher trained in the Orton–Gillingham approach.

     Students are then taught in small groups with others at similar skill levels. Instructors follow a highly structured approach that teaches skills in a particular order. This order is based on an understanding of how children naturally develop language.

     For example, the group may first work on making the connection between sounds and the letters that represent those sounds. The next step will be recognizing those sounds in words. Students must master each skill before they move on to the next. If a student is confused, the instructor will reteach that skill from the beginning. The goal is for students to use the skills they’ve learned to decode words independently.

     Effective help is available for struggling readers. It’s important to know what program your child’s school uses, and how the different programs work. That knowledge can help you see if the school is meeting program goals. And it will give you a better idea of how to help your child at home.

                                                                                                               Mrs. Miller