• Tools

    Hey, Orton Gillingham, Where Do I Start?

    Where do we start? One question I think many tutors and teachers have when beginning Orton Gillingham as a teaching approach with students is, Where do I start? It’s a very reasonable question! My answer would be, start at the beginning. The reason for starting at the beginning is that Orton Gillingham is a sequential and cumulative approach – each part of the Scope & Sequence builds on the next. If you skip something, you may not realize a student doesn’t know it. Even an older student. For example, if you do not start at the beginning by pulling your consonant reading deck from your jewel box and at least…

  • Consonants & Vowels,  Spelling,  Vowel Teams

    Sound Spelling Versus Sound Reading

    Sound Spelling Versus Sound Reading, What’s the Difference? When taking an Orton Gillingham class, as a student or as a teacher, you will have two terms: Reading Consonant & Vowels and Spelling Consonants & Vowels. What’s the difference in the two? It can get a little confusing. Reading Consonant & Vowel Sounds When going through a consonant reading deck with a student they will use an s two ways, as two sounds, /s/ or /z/. The s can make two sounds, /s/ and /z/. Sound reading is asking, what sounds does this letter (or letter combination) make? Ideas to drill sound reading To drill sound reading, use decks from your…

  • Accenting Rules,  Consonants & Vowels,  Sight Words,  Spelling

    Go Bananas for Schwa

    I’ve written about Schwa before, but I’m seeing a lot of questions around this topic so I want to take a deeper dive into the topic of Schwa. What is a Schwa? Schwa is a term used when a vowel takes on (or gets “swallowed up” by) the “uh” (ŭ) sound. Any vowel can do this and some vowel combinations make the sound as well, for example, doctor (the or takes on a schwa sound) or dollar, (the ar is a schwa). Schwa is represented with an upside-down e: ə Because any a, e, i, o, u, or y can make this sound, and even some letter combinations, it can…

  • Consonants & Vowels,  Spelling,  Vowel Teams

    A Deeper Dive into Generalizations OI/OY, OU/OW, AU/AW

    I’ve written about Orton Gillingham Generalizations before, but I want to take a deeper dive into this topic. What Are Generalization Rules? Generalizations or Generalization Rules are vowel teams that sound alike and also have general rules or situations for when to use them. There are three: OI/OY saying “oi” as in oil/boy OU/OW saying “ou” as in out/cow AU/AW saying “ô” as in auto/paw Generalizations are rules associated with certain sounds that help know when to use each vowel team and in what position to use them in a word. They are tools for spelling and reading words. When do you use each Generalization? OI/OY Generalization Use oi at…

  • Tips and Games,  Types of Syllables

    REVLOC Game Online, Fun with Syllable Division

    Syllable labeling and division is a major foundation of the Orton Gillingham approach. I posted, April 2020, a REVLOC game with a printout that you could cut out and have students sort syllables. Now, with many kids learning from home, I created a sorting game online. How To Play The colored blocks (at the bottom of the board) are the REVLOC + Misc. for each grid square. A student will need to drag those REVLOC letters to the top of each square in the grid. They can then drag each syllable to the appropriate square in REVLOC. If you have a student who is not familiar with one or more…

  • Tools

    Scope and Sequence Is the Ship, You Are the Captain

    A scope and sequence is a plan – the teaching of a subject (the scope) in a specific sequence.  Many subjects have scope and sequence plans. Orton Gillingham is no different – it is an extensive subject that needs to be broken down into bites for easy digestion if someone is going to teach it (and learn it). There are different scope and sequences in Orton Gillingham. The scope and sequence that is used to teach a course to those who will teach or tutor OG is different than the scope and sequence a teacher or tutor will use to teach OG to a student. In addition, not all OG…

  • Possessive Rules

    You’re in Possession of Orton Gillingham Possessive Rules

    Possessive rules can be easy, but can also get a little tricky when we move beyond just adding ‘s. Possessive Rules are all about ownership and can be narrowed down to a couple of categories: singular and plural. Singular Possessive Rule Singular Possessive Rule is to show ownership for a singular owner, add ‘s to the singular form of the noun. For example: the eyes of my sister would become my sister’s eyes. Practice! Sample 1: The pony’s tail is fluffy. Ask the student: Who owns something? (the pony), What is the possessive of the pony? (pony’s), What does the pony own? (its tail) Sample 2: The book’s cover is…

  • Syllable Division

    A Lion or a Poem: Dividing Vowel Team Words

    In dividing words with vowel teams in Orton Gillingham there are two types: Lion Words Lion Words. In Lion words there will be a reversal of vowel teams. For example, io as in lion, rather than oi as in oil. Another example is ia as in dial, rather than ai as in rain. When a student sees the reversal, it means, in most cases, the team will be divided (split up) and the first vowel will be long. ◊ In Lion Words, these are vowels that are together, but they are not vowel teams and you would never teach this concept before teaching vowel teams. ◊ Examples: Eon is e…

  • Consonants & Vowels

    Speech Pathology in OG

    Speech pathology is important in creating sounds, and this is important in Orton Gillingham because the method relies on teaching in a three-prong approach – auditory, kinesthetic and visual. For a learner with no speech issues, I think the most taught is that there is such a thing a voiced and unvoiced. Let them put their hand on their throat and feel the difference when saying “th” as the word mother versus the word thumb. Mother is voiced th, and thumb is unvoiced. Same th, but sounds differently when one is voiced and unvoiced. This can help feel the letters in the body, as well as hear the difference. If…

  • Tips and Games

    Why does Orton Gillingham work? And, A Few Tips!

    Why does Orton Gillingham work? The Orton Gillingham method is used to teach reading, writing and spelling. It’s not a “fast” approach to learning – it’s a thorough approach. Orton Gillingham starts with the most basic part of language, the phoneme, the smallest unit of sound, and teaches all the sounds the letter makes – that’s right, many letters have more than one sound! (Think letter s – it says “s” as in moss or it can say “z” as in rose.) Orton Gillingham then builds on this to add blends, beginning sounds and ending sounds. Then moves into rules like FLOSS, Magic E, Hard/Soft C&G, and more. OG then…