• 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…

  • Accenting Rules

    No Stress Over Accenting Rules

    Accenting is something that can be taught early in Orton Gillingham, but the advanced rules are for advanced decoding and fall much later in the OG scope and sequence. Accenting is to aid in pronouncing words correctly – that’s the goal. If a student looks a word up in a dictionary (online these days) and sees an accent mark, they will know how to use that accent mark to pronounce the word. Early Accenting These first, simple accenting exercises are to introduce accenting. Say it both ways. The best way to teach early accenting is to have the student say the word both ways and decide what makes the most…

  • 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…

  • Tips and Games

    Feel the Flow with Fluency Stories

    Fluency stories are important in all phonics and reading programs, not just Orton Gillingham, and if you are an educator reading this post, I don’t need to tell you all the stats and reasons. I would like to say that in Orton Gillingham I love to use fluency stories to reinforce rules, introduce new words, and check progress on concepts, and of course reading fluency. In fluency stories, you’ll find that not all words are easy for the reader. Don’t expect a student to have expression and automaticity in the first pass of a story, or even the second, and maybe not the third or fourth either. You should read…

  • 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…

  • Plural Rules

    Stores of Plural Rules

    Without even thinking, we turn many singular words plural in our language. I might go to the grocery store, or the first store didn’t have what I needed, so I went to grocery stores. In many cases, like the word store, we just add an s and move on. But what if it’s not that simple? Orton Gillingham makes learning much easier by giving us rules. Luckily, there are the following plural rules to help out. In dividing plural rules, we have five categories. CH, SH, S, X, Z Plural Rule CH, SH, S, X, Z Plural Rule This rule says that a noun ending in ch, sh, s, x,…

  • 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…

  • Tools

    What’s In a Plan

    With so many kids having to learn from home these days, you may be wondering what a lesson plan in Orton Gillingham looks like. A lesson can be between 45 minutes to an hour. Lessons consist of Drills, Letter Formation, Concepts, Dictation, and Reading. Much more detail on a lesson to come… There is also something in Orton Gillingham called a Scope and Sequence – the order in which the letters and concepts are taught. The thing about lessons is that they build upon one another, so I can’t give you a lesson plan and you just go use it (without creating a whole book of plans), but I can…

  • Sight Words,  Spelling

    Breaking the Rules: Wild Old Words

    I’ve written in the past about closed syllables and how if a syllable is “closed in” by consonants, then it will be a “closed syllable” and the vowel will be short. However, there are groups of words called Wild-Old Words that are “fossil” words left from Anglo Saxon times that do not follow the rules. These words are common but irregular. A student can learn that some common words ending in ld, st, nd, and lt have a single vowel with a long vowel sound. Examples comb roll, troll, stroll mold, told, sold, scold, old, bold, cold, fold, gold bolt, colt, dolt, jolt, Holt, molt, volt bind, find, mind, wind,…