What Is The Orton-Gillingham Method?

My name is Jenny Caldwell, and though my titles include licensed certified social worker and therapist, my favorite is “mom.” I have two kids at CAC, and we have loved being part of the Mustang family.

“They get to see, hear, and move with the word as they learn it. This results in a stronger and more thorough foundation in the elements that make reading easier…”

For more than four years I served as the executive director of a center that specialized in assisting students, many of whom had been diagnosed with dyslexia and other learning disabilities.

I chose CAC for my children because I loved the positive and friendly attitude of everyone at the school coupled with the excellent education that it provides to students. It was also really important to me that my kids get the strong, Christian foundation that I saw in CAC. At the time, I wasn’t aware that CAC’s elementary teachers were trained in Orton-Gillingham methodology, but now that I know, it’s something I frequently talk about when discussing the school with other parents.

One in five kids today has a learning disability and dyslexia is one of the most common. The Orton-Gillingham method is a technique used to teach children how to read. It’s a notable method because it is one of only two that is proven to work with students who are dyslexic. The great (and unique) thing about Orton-Gillingham is that it takes a multisensory approach to reading education. As a result, it works for all types of learners, not just those who have dyslexia, because it integrates auditory, kinesthetic, and visual techniques.

Orton GillinghamIn the classroom, the Orton-Gillingham approach uses visual (sight), auditory (sound), and kinesthetic (touch) techniques to engage all learners when teaching reading. This means that students may use tools such as tiles to build words based on individual sounds. They may even use their finger to trace letters in sand while spelling out the word. This method allows kids to move and learn as they tap their hand against their other arm to break down the spelling of words. They get to see, hear, and move with the word as they learn it. This results in a stronger and more thorough foundation in the elements that make reading easier, such as phonemic awareness, fluency, and phonics.

All students can benefit from the Orton-Gillingham approach because it can teach any student how to read. Even students who don’t have dyslexia can struggle when learning to read. Because Orton-Gillingham takes a multisensory approach, children are able to learn through the use of multiple pathways while bolstering the strongest and thus easiest pathway for an individual child, and developing the weaker ones too.

I would recommend CAC to other parents because it’s different. My kids have attended other public and private schools, but the educational environment and nurturing family-like feel of this school sets it apart. I love the Christian values and strong character development that occurs and is lived out every day on campus. The academics rival that of the best schools in the area, and as a mom who wants the best possible education for her kids, I couldn’t be more pleased with the teachers and staff at CAC.

Virtually no other school I know of has teachers who are using this proven method every day in the classroom. While it may seem like a small detail of a child’s education, this is one of the best-kept secrets of CAC that truly makes it a hidden gem in Central Arkansas.

Jenny Caldwell

Jenny Caldwell is a CAC parent and a licensed certified social worker and therapist. For four years she worked as the executive director of a center that specializes in assisting students with learning disabilities.

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