The Literacy Nest

Effective Decoding Strategies To Improve Reading

Thursday, October 18, 2018


effective decoding strategies for decoding words


Many teachers are familiar with decoding strategies that may emphasize the use of picture clues, meaning and self-monitoring. Sometimes these decoding activities are even given cute nicknames to help students remember. 

While we want students to monitor our students and their reading for accuracy to make sure it makes sense, often these kinds of decoding strategies taught typically in younger grades barely touch decoding skills or WORSE, they may call a child's eyes and attention AWAY from the text, which is the opposite of what we want to do, especially for budding or struggling readers. 

Students absolutely need additional tools to solve unknown words in reading. There are a number of important strategies that will help students decode effectively and will sustain them over time, no matter what grade they're in or how old they are. Let's dive into decoding strategies that are suitable for all children and adults. 

The following decoding strategies have long been used within the Orton-Gillingham lesson plan as part of the Orton-Gillingham approach, but anyone can utilize them as part of their structured literacy framework. 

If You Suspect Dyslexia In Your Child

Monday, October 1, 2018



dyslexia symptoms


If You Suspect Dyslexia...

Perhaps your child is struggling with reading and writing and you are questioning what might be going on. Maybe you’ve seen a list of red flags for dyslexia and see some of them in your son. Reading may have been hard for you and now you are seeing similar challenges in your daughter. If this sounds like you, you may suspect dyslexia. Dyslexia is the most common reading disability and occurs along a spectrum of severity. But if you have that suspicion, what should you do next?

Tips for Teaching Consonant Digraphs

Sunday, September 23, 2018

digraph activities



Many children have some knowledge of consonant digraphs when they start their Orton Gillingham lesson with an Orton-Gillingham tutor, although few really are familiar with the term digraph, its definition, or all of the digraphs we teach in Level 1. Here are some tips for making digraph instruction multisensory and memorable. A digraph is 2 letters that make 1 sound. Combinations such as sh, th, ch and ck are digraphs.

When first introducing digraphs, I like to concentrate with children on the sounds that they hear. For example, if I were teaching the sh phonogram, I might ask a student to show me the sounds in the word shop and shut using tiles or counters or blocks. At this point, the student should be able to identify that there are 3 sounds in each word. After listening for which sound is the same, I would show the student the written words and ask them to identify which letters were making the /sh/ sound. If the student was unable to recognize that the sound was made by sh, I would tell them and have them mark the letters. By first focusing on the sound they hear, it reinforces the idea that a digraph is a single sound.

Online Supplemental Resources To Support The Big Five In The National Reading Panel

Sunday, September 16, 2018

supplementary resources for the national reading panel


 Please welcome, Lorna Wooldridge as my guest blogger! 

In a recent blog I wrote for the Orton-Gillingham Online Academy (OGOA) on “The National Reading Panel and The Big Five”, I explained what exactly “The Big Five” are, and why they are so important for reading. I plan to blog extensively about each one in the next few months, again for the OGOA, and will include resources and ideas that parents, teachers and tutors, can use with their struggling readers. I hope you will check in on those through the OGOA blog page. Today, I’m going to include five online supplementary resources which we have used in our tutoring practice, Wise owl Services, and which our students use at home to address the “Big Five.”

Seven Tips for Success When Starting with New Orton-Gillingham Students

Sunday, September 9, 2018

orton-gillingham tutor



7 Tips for Getting Off to a Great Start with a New Student


When parents come to me seeking help for their child, very often it is the child’s emotional well-being that has been the final catalyst to seek tutoring. Struggling readers often begin to think of themselves as “stupid” and their overall self-confidence and outlook on learning really suffers. Being a highly skilled, highly trained professional is crucial, but the ability to connect with our students and nurture that affective side of their learning is perhaps even more important to our success as an Orton Gillingham tutor. 

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