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Friday Foundations: Orton-Gillingham Lesson Planning Tips


Hi everyone! Welcome to my first Friday Foundations post! Every Friday, I am dedicating a special post to all my OG instructors with helpful tips for you and  your students. I hope you find it informative, practical and take away a little something you can use right away. 🙂

Let’s talk lesson planning. When I was training to be a certified OG instructor, I enrolled in a year long program while teaching full time. This was before kids, which looking back was a good idea because boy was it time consuming! Picture your usual Sundays. Laundry, groceries, hopefully some family time, and then of course…PLANNING! It’s hard enough mapping out a week of teaching, but add writing 4+ original lesson plans every week to use during my OG practicum and that literally added hours onto my planning. I had 100 hours to complete that year and I was tutoring students after school every day, except Friday. I was exhausted! (But not as exhausted as I am with my 3 little ones, that’s for sure.)

If you’re new to OG, lesson planning is going to take time. There are no short cuts. I will say that once you complete the practicum, you’ll have a large supply of lesson plans to draw on and tweak to use with future students. Since OG is prescriptive by nature, you can’t use the same lesson with all your students every time. But you can certainly reference them and revise areas to suit the needs for the individual child.

Here are some tips when you are beginning to write a lesson plan:

  1. Have ALL your planning materials handy. I mean dedicate a huge open space to spread it all out. I still do it this way. I have a photocopier in my home to make copies, laminate, and three hole punch anything in advance.
  2. Know your student’s areas of need. After you give an initial pre-assessment, that will give you a starting point.
  3. Since each lesson is based on performance from the previous lesson, you’ll want to plan accordingly. You may be introducing a new phonogram or skill, reviewing, or reteaching.
  4. I pull from a variety of resources when I create a word list for a new lesson. This is especially helpful when I create review games.
  5. It can be challenging to find decodable or controlled passages of text that match your lesson exactly. I used to use The ABCs of OG phonetic readers, Bonnie Kline stories, in the past, but now I have created my own! Find them here. They are not always a perfect match, but come very close. It’s worth noting that you should make every effort to find passages for your students that will be appropriate for the lesson and level they are working on currently.
  6. I try to find or create fun, but simple games to play that don’t require a lot of prep, are focused on the phonogram or skill that needs reviewing, and won’t take away from the confines of the lesson plan.
  7. Games for review should last about 10 minutes tops. If you’ve seen my products, I do lots of sorting and games of Concentration. These are brain-based activities that are hands-on and multi-sensory. They can even become built in fluency drills. Take a look at the picture sort I created to review short a and i for one student this past week. I’ve included it as a little freebie for you to download by clicking here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1IfP1qg39PPMF9icWJmX0I5WHc/edit?usp=sharing
  8. If you are looking for even more review games to match your lessons, you can check here.

I’ll be back next Friday to get into the parts of an Orton-Gillingham lesson plan. Do you have questions for me or suggestions for future Friday Foundations topics? Please feel free to add your thoughts in the comments below. As always, be sure to check in with my Facebook page each day for useful tips and resources. Have a great weekend!


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  1. Thanks Emily! I don't see the Bonnie Kline stories available for sale anywhere, and the ABCs of OG is expensive. I'm wondering if you think it's worth it? Your games have been so helpful. I've got some kids who I see 3 days/week and it's great to give them something to look forward to for the last few minutes of a session!!!!

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