OG Theory

Learning to read!

Orton Who? What is the OG approach and why does it work?

Original Post by Dee Beattie  July 29, 2018

Dr. Samuel T Ortonwas a neurologist and pathologist.  He was the first to identify dyslexia as an educational issue.

Educator and psychologist Anna Gillingham assisted in developing his principles. 

The result of this combined effort is known as the Orton-Gillingham Approach. 

What is the Orton-Gillingham Approach?

The OG-approach is a language-based curriculum rooted in a multi-sensory approach to teaching phonetics. 

Medical and educational advancement continue to support the O-G Approach as ideal for teaching-learning different individuals of all ages and learning styles.

Designed for persons with specific learning differences, such as dyslexia. Good for all struggling learner and the approach offers excellent results for most learners. 

Designed to teach Language Arts through sound, spelling rules, syllabication, grammar, writing skills, and other basic elements found within the English language. 

The O-G approach is detailed, specific, and sequential, and allows the ongoing diagnostics of a student’s learning style, areas of challenge and areas of strength. 

This hands-on approach is individualized, interactive, supportive, and fun.

The aim is academic success with stress reduction.

Diversity of the program. 


The use of visual/sight and tactile/touch cues and tools.  Uses 3-5 senses. 

Purpose:To use as many learning pathways (parts of the brain) as possible while learning.


New work is taught using phonetic sounds, spelling rules, and syllabication. 

Purpose:To give students the knowledge and tools needed in order to manage unknown words.


Teaching strategies and curriculum are individualized to a student’s needs and personalized to a student’s learning style.

Purpose:to reduce stress and frustration levels, and to make the learning environment conducive to success.

Sequence and Structure

A student’s individual working level is found and then new work is presented in detail, within a logical sequence.  A personalized teaching structure is used for each student making the curriculum very specific and deliberate. 

Purpose:to minimize confusion and anxiety while the student is gaining knowledge.

Cumulative and Repetitious

New work is introduced at a basic level before progressing to advanced levels. Previously taught concepts are continually practiced and incorporated in the new work.

Purpose:To move tools, skills, and knowledge from short-term memory to long-term memory while continuing to grow academically.

Self-Esteem Building

Successes are highlighted. Honest positive reinforcement is offered as routine. A gentle and fun approach is customary.

Purpose:To encourage healthy growth, personal esteem, and motivation while reducing the stressors commonly experienced by learning different individuals.

Elements of an OG program (more coming)

Broken into components an OG program teaches the child how to decode language.

Students learn:







Writing Skills  

Reading & Comprehension


Word Usage

Each area has intense specific intentional lessons that are reinforced daily until mastered.  

Two programs that have materials ready to support classrooms

Wilson Reading Program 

Barton System 

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