The Essential Need for Orton Gillingham Based Reading Instruction: Webinar Q&A

March 23, 2012, Angie Barnett

The Essential Need for Orton Gillingham Based Reading Instruction: Webinar Q&A

We were so excited to have reading expert Kathy Chappell-Muncy present a webinar for us! She presented on “The Essential Need for Orton Gillingham Based Reading Instruction” and did a fabulous job!

Just so you know, Orton Gillingham based reading instruction is a systematic intervention used for struggling readers that includes visual, auditory, and kinesthetic components to engage the child’s entire brain. Here are some questions and answers from Kathy’s wonderful webinar:

What is a joint and cut off point?

We don’t have the resources to put every child that is a poor reader into special services. So, where do we draw the line? There is no natural cut-off. Schools make up a cut point not based on research. It has been assigned arbitrarily. So we miss kids… these are the kids that fall through the cracks. But if we give use a systematic, Orton Gillingham reading intervention as our elementary reading curriculum, these students don’t have to fall through the cracks.

What are your recommendations for a child who has a lisp?  Is it important to remediate this (for a 7-year-old) or to continue to work with speech, singing, rhythm waiting until the child is 8 or 9?

Very important to remediate. A child who has a lisp is going to get special services with a speech pathologist. However, I’m going to recommend a fabulous pronunciation tool from Reading Horizons that shows animated tongue placements and footage of a mouth saying each sound.

I’m tutoring two fourth graders that can barely read, and I was wondering if they need to start from scratch with an Orton Gillingham based approach?

What they need to start from is a great assessment. Use as many assessments that you can use. One that I use is the San Diego Quick Assessment. It is whole word-based and they have to read the words with automaticity or they get it wrong. But if you have a child that is reading two grade levels below or more, you want to do more than one assessment. You need a diagnostic assessment. Another one is called, CORE, online assessments (as long as they go into segments – decoding, vowels, diphthongs, syllables). Look for assessments that go deep and that will diagnose for you. Also, there are some free assessments on the Reading Horizons website.

How does this program work with adult and ESL students?

For years I worked with ESL students and we used an Orton Gillingham approach with them. Using an Orton Gillingham approach we became the highest-scoring school for ESL students. By adding a tactile approach to the instruction, the students finally started to get it.

It works great for adults as well as long as you are using age-appropriate activities.

Do you have an opinion about retaining a child in the same grade if they struggle with reading?

As a parent or teacher, you have to look at what reading curriculum is being used to teach the child. Dependent on the teacher using it and the way it is being used, the child may need another year. But if the teacher and program are the problems then they may just need remediation. Regardless, if a child isn’t reading by the end of the first grade then there is something going on and you need to look into it before making a decision.

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