The Literacy Nest

6 Tips for Introducing Dyslexia to Your Child in a Positive Way



6 Tips for Introducing Dyslexia to Your Child in a Positive Way

Dyslexia parenting tips



I am so thrilled to have Amy share tips for dyslexia advocacy with you today. Thank you so much Amy, from Mamabearmoms.com for sharing your expertise! 

When parents think about dyslexia, they tend to focus on the negative because, let’s face it, school and dyslexia don’t tend to mix well together. In fact, a lot of the parents I work with find themselves hyper-focused on weakness, disadvantage and struggle because that is what they experience with their child on a daily basis.
What I have found is that the dyslexic children who focus primarily on their challenges are less inspired to work hard and see fewer opportunities for success. Since dyslexic children often work 10 times harder than typical learners, without adequate inspiration, a lot of them eventually just give up trying.
It’s important to remember that dyslexic kids also have inherent strengths. Those who acknowledge their strengths and focus on developing them, tend to have higher self-worth and are far more hopeful about their future. Small hurdles for these kids do not prevent them from pushing forward, but rather, just become a factor of the journey.
Since I see tremendous value in presenting dyslexia to children in a way that offers them hope for the future, I have created a list of tips to help you talk with your child in a positive way.
  1. Set the Stage: While choosing what to say is vitally important, selecting the right location to talk with your child can set the stage for a positive discussion. For example, if your child tends to experience homework stress in a particular room of your home, choose a room that inspires feelings of calm and relaxation. If you struggle to find a space in your home that isn’t connected to stress, consider taking a walk with your child to a location that is free from distraction or association.
  2. Introduce Dyslexia to Your Child: When explaining dyslexia to your child, it is important to utilize the actual word “dyslexia” in your discussion. Children with dyslexia often think they are “stupid” because they can’t understand why it is so much harder for them to learn to read. Let your child know that his struggle has a name so he can associate his difficulties with the disorder rather his sense of self or his overall capability. Let him know that kids with dyslexia are just as smart as kids without dyslexia. They just learn differently! Having dyslexia may mean that reading will not come as easily, but it should not prevent your child from excelling in other areas of his life, such as sports, art or music.
  3. Work with the School to Help Your Child: After you have explained dyslexia to your child, the next step is to let him know what can and will be done to help him. Inform him that you will be working as a team with his teachers to create a plan called an Individualized Education Program (IEP), which will be designed to help him get the support and services he needs to be successful in school. He will also have the opportunity to work with teachers who are specially trained to teach him how to learn to read. Another way to help your child is to create a teacher cheat sheet that describes not only your child’s weaknesses, but also his strengths. Your child’s teacher will also benefit from knowing how to best motivate him to work through challenge. 
  4. Offer Your Child Support at Home: Most importantly, your child needs to know that you are 100% behind him and will love him unconditionally. He needs to know that no matter what happens, you won’t give up on him. It’s important that he also know that if he needs your help with a task that is challenging for him, such as homework or reading a menu, that he can count on your judgment-free support and assistance. It is also essential that your child know that you encourage self-advocacy, but will also stand up for his needs. Children with dyslexia who experience unconditional love and support at home are far more successful than those who feel isolated or misunderstood. 
  5. Explain Dyslexia to Siblings and Friends: Once your child understands why he struggles, he may need some support dealing with other family members and friends. As soon as he is ready to do so, help him explain to his siblings what it’s like to have dyslexia. Provide them with specific ways that they can offer support and allow them to be part of the solution and support structure. Your child may be hesitant to tell his friends about dyslexia, but that’s okay. Give him permission to keep that information to himself, but if he chooses to share, make sure he knows that there is no shame in having dyslexia. It just means that he learns a little differently.
  6. Anticipate the Future: When your child is experiencing the challenge of learning to read, it can feel as though a future that includes success is out of reach. Help your child identify with future potential by finding a dyslexic role model or celebrity who is successfully in a career that your child aspires to do someday. Many dyslexic celebrities have shared their stories online and have accomplished great things despite their struggles in school. Our son was particularly interested in becoming an astronaut at the time we learned of his diagnosis, so we researched famous astronauts and showed him the story of the dyslexic NASA astronaut, Pete Conrad. When our son realized that dyslexia did not prevent Pete from becoming an astronaut, it renewed his faith in himself and his options. It allowed him to see that the hurdles he encountered in school may slow him down a bit, but they don’t have to prevent him from reaching his goals.

The most important thing to remember is that your child needs to feel that you believe in him. Express confidence in knowing that he will be successful and make it known that you will be there to support him each step along the way. Your child may stumble several times along the journey, but if you assure him that you will never leave his side, he will be empowered to always take that next step forward.    

Amy has created a free cheat sheet for parents to fill out and give their child's teacher. I'm sure you are going to find it a very helpful tool to keep the lines of communication open with teachers and administration. Download your free Teacher Cheat Sheet today! 


Dyslexia Advocacy


About The Guest Blogger:
Amy Ruocco is the mother of two, a dyslexia advocate and a fierce warrior for dyslexic children. Through her website MamabearMoms.com, she educates parents about the importance of early identification of dyslexia and teaches them how to advocate for appropriate interventions. To get access to her free guide, please visit https://mamabearmoms.mykajabi.com/p/is-my-child-at-risk

Be sure to read my post with suggestions for children's books with dyslexic characters to help open up the lines of communication.






Helpful Strategies For Teaching Syllable Division





Syllable Division activities


The ability to decode more complex text requires not only a working knowledge of the phonemes and graphemes of English and the 6 syllable types, but also an ability to divide multisyllabic words. How the words are divided affects the syllable types and pronunciation. At its most basic, syllables are units of speech. We hear or feel the beats, impulses or breaths in a word. We can put our hand under our chin and feel our chin drop for each syllable. But, when tasked with decoding an unknown word, locating and dividing syllables changes from an auditory task, to a task of visual detective work. It is not unusual to find the same word divided differently in different dictionaries depending on whether the word is divided according to morphemic or sound boundaries. Despite the possibility for differences, teaching students to divide words into syllable provides them with an important strategy for word analysis.

A few years ago, I wrote a series on posts for you to read about how to teach the six syllable types. Today, I’m going to address the types of syllable division.

Syllable Types Activities
How To Teach The Six Syllable Types


During an Orton-Gillingham lesson, I like to have students start tackling a longer unknown word by underlining the vowels, putting one finger on each one, and looking between them. Depending on the number of consonants he or she sees, the word will divide slightly differently. After making a tentative choice, the student pronounces the word by syllables. Sometimes there is trial and error involved. If the pronounced word is not recognized, it may be necessary to try a different syllable division pattern or a different accented syllable. Fortunately, there are some guidelines as to frequency of division and accenting patterns. 

  1. The simplest and most straight forward type of syllable division pattern is VCCV. When there are two consonants between the vowels, the syllable break falls in the middle. This is how we divide words such as cac/tus, cup/cake, rab/bit, bet/ter, and ex/cuse. Most commonly the accent is on the first syllable as in nap’/kin. Less commonly, the 2nd syllable is accented as in un/til’. The least common situation in the VCCV pattern is to divide before both consonants as in se’/cret or fra’/grant.
  2. The next syllable division typically taught is VCCCV pattern, when there are three consonants between the vowels. In this case, the reader has to make a decision. The most common way to divide is after the first consonant, but a rule of thumb is that common blends and digraphs should be kept together. This is how we divide words such as gum/drops, ten/dril, hun/dred, pump/kin, sand/wich, and bank/rupt. Most commonly the word is divided after the first consonant with an accent on the first syllable such as pil’/grim. The second most common situation is to divide after the first consonant with the accent on the 2nd syllable as in com/plete’. Less commonly the word is divided after the second consonant with the first syllable accented as in pump’/kin. 
  3. For words with 4 consonants, typically the division is in the middle, again with attention to common three letter blends and trigraphs. Words that are divided in this way would include: back/ground, gang/ster, egg/plant, ab/stract, and ham/string. Very often these are compound words or words with a prefix or suffix. 
  4. Compound words are divided between the two words that make up the compound word. In most cases, this follows one of the patterns above, but for compound words where the first word part is a vowel-consonant-e syllable, this becomes important. In this way, we would divide base/ball, mole/hill, fire/man, life/line or even line/up.
  5. When just one consonant falls between two vowels in a VCV pattern, the reader once again must do some detective work. In this situation approximately 60-75% of words divide before the consonant. This makes the first syllable an open syllable and the vowel would have a long sound. This is true in words such as ti/ger, po/ny, Da/vid, hu/man and be/have. The long vowel sound should be tried first. Most frequently, the accent is on the first syllable. Less often, it is the 2nd syllable that is accented, often in verbs. If the long vowel sound does not make sense, there is a good possibility that the word in question falls into the smaller percentage of words that divide after the consonant, making the first syllable closed and the vowel sound short. This is the case in words such as: cam/el, rob/in, cred/it, pun/ish and lim/it. Once again the reader must rely on his or her judgment and some trial and error. In this case, the accent is typically on the first syllable as in riv/er. 
  6. Perhaps the most complex and challenging syllable division scenario is the VV pattern. Fortunately, this is not a very common syllable division pattern. Most often, this type of syllable division occurs with vowels that do not form a vowel team, as in the word Ohio or Oreo; “io”” and “eo” are not vowel teams, therefore indicating that the word is divided between the vowels. Each of the vowels makes its own sound. Typically, the accent falls on the first syllable. Sometimes, a word will look like a vowel team as in the ue in fluent or the ie in client. In this case, reading the vowels as a vowel team does not make a real word. The syllables are divided between the vowels and are not a vowel team in this situation. 



A knowledge of syllable division patterns and a routine of divisions to try if the solution is not obvious are invaluable for helping the Orton-Gillingham student deal with complex multisyllabic words. Having a roadmap to guide them gives students a sense of control and agency, sometimes giving students with dyslexia a chance to shine as they apply their knowledge to activities in the regular education classroom. It should be noted that expanding the student’s listening vocabulary is extremely valuable as they must rely on their ability to recognize a real word to guide them. As always, it is important to make syllable division instruction multisensory and hands on. 

Syllable division activities


Here is a FREE Syllable Division Types Poster set. It comes from my Syllable Types and Syllable Division Bundle. In the bundle, you will find a wide variety of multisensory activities and over 20 different games for your 1:1 intervention or small groups. Your kids will LOVE playing them and you will love the practice and reinforcement they will receive. 

syllable division activities


syllable activities
Syllable Types and Syllable Division Multisensory Activities

Thank you so much for stopping my my blog today! 

12 Fresh Ideas for Your Phonogram Card Drills


Orton-Gillingham sound cards  drill cards


After working with a student in Orton-Gillingham lessons for awhile, the routine can become very well known. Guess what? That's a good thing! But... if you don't take time to shake things up every now and then, you run the risk of having certain segments become a bit mundane. You really don't want that to happen!

At the beginning of an Orton-Gillingham three part drill, there is an auditory portion with a deck of phonogram cards. The routine is to hold up a card to the student, say the name of the phonogram, the key word and the sound it makes. For instance, for the letter A, you would say, "A, apple, and (then say the short a sound) a. As a student progresses, they may have several responses per card. For instance, after learning the three sounds of suffix ed, their replies will be,

  • ed, jumped, t,
  • ed, rented, ed,
  • ed, sailed, d
Teachers and tutors may use the drill deck for a variety of multisensory practice. Multisensory techniques are one of the hallmarks of the Orton-Gillingham approach because you are helping to create newer and stronger neural pathways for a child's brain to process language. You may see them used for:
  • Visual Drills
  • Auditory Drills
  • Kinesthetic Drills
  • Blending Drills
  • Introducing new phonograms
For more information on the structure of a lesson, read, "What Does An Orton-Gillingham Lesson Plan Look Like?"

If you have students who've gone through the Orton-Gillingham three part drill for awhile and are starting to feel a bit ho-hum about this part of the lesson, let me share some fresh ideas with you that will...

  • Get your kids THINKING CRITICALLY.
  • Get them MOVING.
  • Keep them engaged. 

Building in a sense of structured choice makes a child feel like they are a part of the learning process, which will make them more invested. Offering structured choices is especially helpful when you are working with resistant students.The ideas below are mainly for students who are well established with routines. I wouldn't recommend mixing up the routine with a brand new student.

First, you will need a set a phonogram cards. I have a set from EPS or my own Orton-Gillingham card decks, depending on the students. Be flexible and diagnostic, but most of all, use works for your student. Second, choose the cards you need for your lesson. The drill deck shouldn't take very long. Five minutes is a good length of time. Then, once you have your drill deck ready, take a look at these ideas I've listed below. I have tried them all with kids and they really love them.


12 Fresh Ideas for Your Phonogram Drill Deck

  1. Spill It: Shuffle and throw all the cards on the floor. Students only have to drill through the cards that are face up, or alternatively, the ones that are face down. You or the student can choose.
  2. Leave It Out: When you do the visual drill, have them leave a part out of the drill. For instance, have them only say the key word, or only the sound. 
  3. Trace It: Use a sand tray, shaving cream, gel board, plastic cross-stitch, felt board, Tac screen or even just simply tracing the phonogram on the table. 
  4. Smash It: Roll three balls of play-dough (one ball each for the name, the key word and the sound). Students can push, smoosh or smash each play-dough ball as you drill.
  5. Sky-write It. Using two fingers and a straight arm, sky-write the phonograms as you drill each card. 
  6. I'm The Teacher: Kids love playing the teacher. Give them a small deck of cards where you do the drill while they hold up the cards. This is a good listening and monitoring activity.
  7. Ask It: I spread the cards out on the table and ask questions like: Give me all the digraph cards. Give me the card that says /a/. Which cards are the diphthong cards? Be sure to have the child reply back to you with a verbal response, instead of just handing the cards to you and saying nothing. Eliciting a verbal response, completes the multisensory circuit you are creating with the student and it's a good exercise for replying with a complete thought. I REALLY like this one, because it forces kids to get out of the routine and apply their learning in different format. It's great for categorizing and sorting, too.  
    Orton-Gillingham activities
  8. Which One Is Missing? This is a good drill with children who have practice with sounds that have multiple grapheme choices. Pick out all the cards that will say /e/ (the sound of long e), BUT leave one out. Spread the cards on the table, face up.  Ask: Which card did I leave out that also says /e/ (the sound of long e)?
  9. Hot Lava: If you have large versions of the drill cards, this game is perfect. Find them in this phonogram drill deck, if you need any. Laminate and spread on the floor. Those are the stones. Call out a phonogram card for them to step on and reply with the name of the phonogram, key word and sound, without touching the bare floor or rug (the hot lava). 
  10. Squish it. Sometimes having a stress ball while you drill is helpful for focusing attention. Kids can squeeze it every time they drill a new card.
  11. Throw it. Use a Koosh ball or any ball to toss back and forth while you drill. First toss: say the phonogram name. Second toss, say the key word. Third toss: Say the sound.
  12. Use your whole body! Imagine the body being broken into three parts for the drill. The toes will be the name of the phonogram. The waist is the key word. The head is the sound. You want the head to be the sound, so you can watch their mouth formations. Print out this phonogram drill activities visual. You can switch up the movements to keep things fun and interesting. This could be a real workout and get the blood flowing. If you have a physio-ball in your classroom or tutoring facility, try while the student sits on the ball. They'll be building core strength and balance while drilling their phonograms!
Orton-Gillingham sound card drills phonograms




Orton-Gillingham lesson plan ideas


Which ones have you tried? Are there any new ones you plan to try out? Let me know in the comments. Thanks so much for stopping by my blog today!



How To Run A Successful Dyslexia Pilot Program





Last Spring, I received an email from Mindy Bramer, an educational consultant for PaTTAN, (Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network). The state of Pennsylvania had just become one of the first states to initiate a ground-breaking, dyslexia pilot program that was backed by state legislation. 


"Act 69 of 2014, the Dyslexia and Early Literacy Intervention Pilot Program became effective on June 26, 2014.  The Act provides that: Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) will establish an early literacy intervention and dyslexia pilot program to provide evidence-based early screening using evidence-based intervention services for students with potential risk factors for early reading deficiencies and dyslexia, such as low phonemic awareness, low letter and symbol naming and inability to remember sequences." 


Mindy had reached out to me by asking me to assist in the Dyslexia and Early Literacy Intervention Pilot Program with writing connected reading passages for the second grade teachers and support staff to use with their students. I was THRILLED to help Pennsylvania get this initiative off the ground and help their students! Starting in April, 2017 until October, 2017, I wrote and published three sets of non-fiction decodable passages for the pilot. The eight participating school districts in the pilot use them in their classrooms.

After the pilot got off the ground, I was eager to shine a spotlight on this amazing program, in hopes that parents and educators from other states might want to begin a pilot program of their own. It can be done successfully! Mindy graciously agreed to complete a set of interview questions for me, which I am sharing with you today. If you have any questions about my part in the pilot or the pilot itself, feel free to email me or comment below. Thank you!

***********************************************************************

How did the idea for the Dyslexia and Early Literacy Intervention Pilot Program come about?
Parents.  Parents were the ones that initiated and worked on the legislation. Diane Reott and Daphne Uliana, parents of children with dyslexia were the main impetus for the legislation.

What was the process like getting legislation at the state level for the pilot? What were the steps involved?
The parents worked with the legislators in both the House and Senate to enlist their support and gain sponsors for the legislation.  There were several champions within the Legislature who developed it as a bipartisan bill, focused on helping children. 

How long did it take for the legislation go through?
Approximately one year

How has the pilot been structured for schools and classrooms?
The pilot is structured to address both the classroom and individual student level through core instruction and intensive intervention based on student needs.  All K-2 classrooms in a school building participate in the pilot.  

What training are you offering for teachers?
Training is provided for classroom teachers and interventionists.  Interventionists are the identified staff who receives additional training in multisensory structured literacy (MSL). Interventionists may be reading specialists, speech/language pathologists, general and special education teachers.   
The goals of the classroom training were to deepen knowledge and skills of the essential components of reading instruction (phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency, comprehension, and oral language), to integrate multisensory structured language/literacy (MSL) methods into the core, and to build explicit, direct, sequential, systematic instruction practices into the classroom.  The training series was based on the recommendations of the National Reading Panel (2000) National Early Literacy Panel (2008), National Research Council (1998), Adams (1990), Foorman et al. (2016), and Shanahan et al., (2010).

How is it going? Do you have any data on student performance or anecdotal information from teachers you could share?
The second year has been completed and it is going well because of the work of the classroom teachers, interventionists, and administrators in the pilot schools.  They have committed to improving reading instruction practices and student results.  We have DIBELS Next data that demonstrates improved results as well as anecdotal information from teachers, parents, and administrators.  (A one page summary is attached. COMING SOON. Please check back.)

What are the future plans for the Dyslexia and Early Literacy Intervention Pilot Program program?
The districts that participated are making local plans for continuing and sustaining the gains they made.  Replication plans are available for districts that wish to develop programs based on the pilot. The state may choose to provide further support to the existing pilots and/or expand the pilots to other districts, but that has not been determined.

What advice could you offer for any state or school district looking to begin a similar pilot program?
Make sure that if you do intend to offer a pilot program, one works with committed people to its success because there are too many obstacles and barriers to implementation without having people involved that do not believe in or want the program to be successful.

dyslexia and early intervention pilot program


For more information, this informational handout on the Dyslexia and Early Literacy Intervention Pilot Program have been provided for you.

It's in the news! Read, "Pen Argyl sees signs of success in elementary reading program based on research on dyslexia" from Fall, 2017 on the Dyslexia and Early Literacy Intervention Pilot Program


To view or purchase the three sets of non-fiction decodable passages, you'll find them in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.





What Does An Orton-Gillingham Lesson Look Like?


Orton-Gillingham lesson plan ideas


What Does an Orton-Gillingham Lesson Look Like?

If you were to observe a lesson from an Orton-Gillingham based program such as Wilson, SPIRE or Barton, they would have similarities, but also plenty of differences. The same is true of a non-program-specific Orton-Gillingham lesson plan that follows the Orton-Gillingham approach. The exact lesson sequence may differ depending on where the teacher was trained, the student that they are working with, and what specific skills are being taught. However, there are certain lesson components that you are likely to see in some form or another. 

I typically think of an Orton-Gillingham lesson as comprising 5 main sections. It is important to note that although there may be some variability in the OG lesson from teacher or tutor, these are the components you are likely to see in some combination. There will be opportunities to read and write using new skills and a variety of multisensory techniques to activate visual, auditory and kinesthetic systems.  So if you are new to the Orton-Gillingham approach and wondering what it involves, this post is the perfect opportunity for you to learn more. Let's begin!

Part One: Drills, Review & Explicit Instruction


Overall, this section of the lesson is brief, lasting at the most 10 minutes.
  1. Phonogram Review  Almost all lessons begin with some sort of rapid phonogram card drill to review sound symbol correspondence. This may take longer as the stack of known phonograms becomes extensive, but a typical review may be about 5 minutes long. Particular attention is paid to vowels and tricky phonograms. Typically, there is some sort of procedure for error correction. I will have a student trace the tricky phonogram 3 times on the table repeating the letter(s), keywords and sound and then return the card to the back of the pile, so it will reappear once again in the drill.  Find Phonogram drill cards for this portion here. 
  2. Blending Drill Some lessons include a brief 2-3 minute blending drill using the phonogram cards, in which the student decodes and blends a randomly generated series of syllables. These are not necessarily real words, but do follow the expected rules of spelling etc. This gives students a chance to apply rules like the FLOSS rule in a hands on activity. 
    Orton-Gillingham lesson plan ideas
  3. Introduction This portion of the lesson is the teaching of the new concept such as a new phonogram, a new sound for a known spelling pattern, or a new spelling generalization. Typically, this is brief, lasting only 3-5 minutes, but utilizing visual, auditory and tactile pathways. Many teachers use a guided discovery method of introducing new learning, guiding the student through specific questioning and examples to be able to identify and verbalize the new concept themselves. For example, the student might be asked to identify what sound they hear in 3 words. Then looking at those words in writing, they may be asked to identify and mark the letters that make that sound. Finally, the student may trace in multiple textures the phonogram while reciting the keyword and sound.  Often, this component of the lesson will also include a brief review of related concepts such as syllable types, long and short vowel sounds, or base words and affixes. 
Here can find out more about multisensory ideas to use during this portion.



Part Two: Reading Words & Sentences

This part of the lesson is very closely related to the teaching of the new concept. It is the application of that concept through the reading of a series of words and sentences that use the new pattern, as well as review words targeting skills that need particular practice. The length of the word list and number of sentences is very much individualized for each student and their strengths and needs. As needed, time is taken for error correction routines including tracing and discussion of unknown vocabulary. Typically, we read through the word lists and sentences twice to build fluency. 
For younger students, this is very often where I will insert a game in place of a second reading. It livens up the practice and often gives opportunities for even more repetitions of the selected words.
This second section of the lesson also takes approximately 10 minutes.
This Orton-Gillingham word list strategies post may help give you a few more ideas. These Orton-Gillingham word lists will help you organize your lessons and provide fluency sentences as well. 

Section Three: Writing

What I think of as the writing portion of the lesson has 3-4 parts and lasts up to 20 minutes. This is a part of the lesson that often necessitates extra attention to following specific procedures without shortcuts. Students and teachers alike have a tendency to skip steps in the procedure, particularly if a student is doing well.
  1. What Says? This is basically a reverse phonogram drill. The student is asked what says a specific sound and he or she writes down everything that they have learned that makes that sound. So, for long vowels, students quickly have a lengthy list of possibilities. Typically, short and long vowel sounds are reviewed as well as the new concept and review concepts. 10-15 sounds per lesson is typical. I have students read back the sounds they have written. 
  2. What Means? This is the morphology cousin of the “what says” component. Instead of sounds, the teacher asks students what prefix or suffix or root has a particular meaning. Any new morphological units are practiced as well as those recently introduced. Otherwise, rotating through taught morphemes with 5 or 6 per lesson is usually adequate. These morphology resources may help you with this portion.
  3. SOS (Simultaneous Oral Spelling) This is the word dictation portion of the lesson. It typically includes repeating the word, sounding the word out using finger tapping, spelling the word orally using finger tapping, writing the word while saying the letters, and then reading the completed word. I use 4-5 words that use the new concept and 5-6 review words. I also have students read back the words they have written. For more information on how to implement the SOS strategy you can read my SOS spelling strategy blog post or try this SOS spelling strategy freebie
  4. Dictation The final portion of the writing section is sentence dictation. This is an opportunity for students to apply their learning (both new and old) to writing a complete dictated sentence. This frequently combines not only the new concept, but also spelling generalizations and phonograms that the student has learned in the past. It is important that the tutor takes into consideration different spelling possibilities and has a plan regarding how to reduce confusion where more than one spelling choice exists. I will often give students a general hint at the beginning of a sentence such as “This sentence uses all vowel team spellings.” Students are asked to repeat the sentence, write it independently, and then proofread using the COPS (or similar) procedure. Students very quickly take on responsibility for self-correcting errors of capitalization and ending punctuation. Frequently, I will ask students to identify a problem word if there is an error. Students usually know if a word is not quite right. Being able to identify which word does not appear to be correct is a valuable skill to carryover into the classroom. It will help the OG student identify when to use resources such as personal dictionaries or spelling guides.  The dictation pages in the Orton-Gillingham materials will help you and your students keep the dictation process organized. https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Orton-Gillingham-Materials-Multisensory-Phonics-Approach-1344257
For more ideas, "What's In My OG Notebook?" may help.

Part Four: Text Reading
This is arguably the most important part of the Orton Gillingham lesson. Think about it. What is the end goal for these kids? TO BECOME READERS! A full 15-20 minutes is ideally devoted to this portion of the lesson. Students have an opportunity to read out loud and apply their decoding skills to continuous text. At the early levels, this is decodable text using as close to only skills that the student has been taught as possible.
These Orton-Gillingham decodable reading passages are great for fluency practice.
There is a focus on accuracy with a goal to break the guessing habit and get students using their decoding skills and strategies. At least one of the reading selections should include the new concept. Typically, I address comprehension during this time through informal dialogue and conversation.



Part Five: Additional Activities

This is probably the hardest part of the lesson to plan for and make decisions about on the fly. There is wide variability in which activities are included. The first activities listed here tend to be more common. These activities are very much time-dependent and based on individual student needs.  
  1. Learned Words This includes practice with both reading and writing of specific sight words. Most of the time, these are limited to words that are not decodable using what the child has been taught and therefore are truly sight words at this point. Here is a Learned Words resource if you are looking for ideas. This learned words routine will explain the routine I follow. 
  2. Phonemic Awareness Specific activities to promote phonemic awareness such as phoneme segmentation with manipulatives or sound sorts. Here are Phonemic Awareness activities if you are looking for ideas. 
  3. Fluency Activities to work on fluency such as repeated reading, contrast cards, or speed drills. These Orton-Gillingham decodable reading passages are great for fluency practice. 
  4. Handwriting Practice and Instruction There is a great deal of debate about how much time and effort to put into handwriting remediation. A reasonable goal is to focus on efficiency and legibility rather than precise accuracy. 
  5. Grammar instruction This would include basic concepts such as parts of speech.

For More Information

Orton-Gillingham activities


  1. I hope you found this post to be a helpful explanation of an Orton-Gillingham lesson. As you can see, it is jam-packed! If you are a traveling tutor,  I have written a post which lists what I pack in my Orton-Gillingham tutoring bag
  2. Finding your starting point with Orton-Gillingham will outline the assessment process I follow. 

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