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What’s In My Orton-Gillingham Binder?

Orton-Gillingham Materials

Whenever my students meet with me for an Orton-Gillingham lesson plan, they have a few supplies handy. I, of course come towing my large O-G bag, but I find having things that the student can easily access while I am not with them is helpful for them. Families have an opportunity to see what they are working on as well. The parents appreciate the chance to discuss what the day’s lesson was about. It’s all about keeping the lines of communication open.

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Here are the supplies the student has:

If you have been following my blog for awhile, you know I have let you in on what I keep in my O-G bag, what students keep in their notebooks, and even how to use a file folder for reusable practice, but today, I am going to talk about what they keep in a student binder, along with some potential ideas you might want to try out. Many of you have been waiting for this post for some time now, so I apologize for not getting to it sooner! Let’s begin.

Why Keep A Binder?

  • I love keeping a record a everything for the families to see.
  • Children have a opportunity to create a large collection of the reading passages they have practice with me. This is GREAT for review.
  • No loose papers!
  • Children love looking back to reflect on the progress they’ve made. This is a powerful opportunity to build in praise for all of their hard work over time.
A quick note about binders and notebooks: After I have assessed a child and make the decision to move them onto the next Orton-Gillingham level, we start a new binder and notebook. Families are asked to keep them handy, so if I ask the child to take out an old binder or notebook, they know where they are stored.
If you are in a classroom and not a private tutor, you can still do the binder system. You might not want to have students transporting them back and forth if they travel to your room for a lesson, though.
When you open the binder, students keep blank dictation paper (about 6-10 blank sheets) that is already three hole punched in the front inside pocket. That way they take the paper out when you inform them it’s time for the dictation portion. This binder is a way to enforce the responsibility and active participation within your lesson. Don’t do something for them that they can do themselves. Blank dication papers in a variety of options are found in my Orton-Gillingham tutoring forms.
orton-gillingham materials
You notice a couple of key ring tools hanging off of the rings. They keep their learned words for practice and another ring for their brag tags. Read more about using brag tags for positive reinforcement and grab a bunch of free brag tags in my store.
brag tags
Next, you will see decodable passages. Having a collection of the reading passages is really a win win for students and families. They practice them with you. Then they can practice them at home, OR back at the classroom in a fluency center in their own classrooms if they are pulled out for Orton-Gillingham lessons.  Teachers using O-G in the classroom can easily create a fluency station for added practice.
I keep a copy of each passage to follow along in case I want to do a quick assessment or running record. Even if you are not a fan of sending homework home, a one page passage to practice reading is VERY doable for your students and families. It’s worth considering and I have found my families are always in support of passages being sent home. One of my students reads them out loud to his dog. What a good fur buddy!
In addition, the process of streamlining and finding appropriate reading passages is an interesting one.  For more decodable passages with controlled text, you will find many options in my store.
Next, students have a pocket folder in the center of the binder. The folder also serves as a divider between fluency and dictation. You ,might want to consider tabbed sections, but I keep the binder as simple as possible for kids to locate what they need. Inside the folder, there may be a mini poster or added practice sheet that coincides with whatever lesson we are on that week or weeks. Baggies of game cards and or word cards can be tucked in the pockets as well.
Directly after the folder, I have a sheet of the learned words they are responsible for reading and another list for spelling according to the level they are on. This is helpful for classroom teachers and families to see as they decide what words might become “no excuse” words for proper spelling. This student is in level four, so the list is longer and more challenging. In addition, reading about strategies for teaching learned words for Orton-Gillingham lesson plans may help you.
Finally, I have the student keep all of their completed dictation pages clipped in the back of the binder. They do not write on the paper while it is clipped in the binder. I find the three rings really get in the way. So, they take a blank sheet out of the front, write on a desk or table, and THEN it gets clipped it.


You might be freaking out at this point wondering if the child has possession of all of their dictation work, how do you keep track of what happened during that portion of the lesson when planning future lessons on your own, and the paper isn’t in front of you. I have come up with a simple solution.
Go digital. 
I have an app called Tiny Scanner on my phone that I paid a few dollars for a year ago and it has been a game changer. The Tiny Scanner app snaps a photo of any paper and instantly converts it into a PDF file. I can email it to myself and keep a digital file on that student. This really is a time saver, especially since I type up my lessons on my computer. If you don’t have this app, you could snap a picture and email that to yourself in a pinch. I just prefer to use Tiny Scanner because it’s already converted into a doc for me rather than an image. I can easily save it to a child’s folder on my computer. This becomes a huge space saver as well.
orton-gillingham binder

If you are wondering about the posters I add to the binder, I use the ones I created them in the Spelling Concepts and Strategies Binder

This resource is pretty big, so I keep it in its own binder and in my tutoring space. But I also give students copies of some of the posters, especially the ones for spelling generalizations. If you want your students to use interactive notebooks, there are a TON of templates included. 

orton-gillingham reference binder

Does this system look manageable for you and your students? I’d love to hear from you.



TPT is having their annual back to school sitewide sale on August 4-5, 2020. Save up to 25% off everything in my store with promo code BTS20.

tpt sale the literacy nest


I’d love to share a tool that will cut some of that lesson planning time down for you.

Word List Builder is a time-saving, web-based tool that is going to streamline the lesson planning process for you.

Since it’s all web-based…

  • You can use Word List Builder anywhere.
  • Try the mobile or desktop version.
  • No need to bog your hard drive with lots of files or clunky software that becomes outdated.
  • Updates to the site are done automatically for you.

What can you do with Word List Builder?

  • Search for words with a highly unique search engine by spelling patterns, syllable types and division and morphological patterns
  • Create folders to save the words you searched.
  • Export the words from a folder into a template: Create word lists, word cards, phrasing templates for fluency practice and games.
  • Adjust for font size, font type and formatting
  • Save the templates you create.
  • Print and use what you made right away!

In this part one tutorial video, I show you how to set up a folder and begin searching for words. I have a tutorial for Word List Builder Part Two and Word List Builder Part Three.

You can catch them on the Word List Builder site or on The Literacy Nest YouTube Channel.

Sign up for a 21-day FREE trial of Word List Builder. Simply create an account, login and you’re on your way!


 Try Word List Builder!   

Calling all Orton-Gillingham tutors and therapists! I have a directory of qualified educators on my site for parents to search. Join or search when you click on “Word List Builder” at the top. When you are there, click on   “Find A Tutor” or go HERE. You may register to enter your contact information in the directory for only $10 a year. Families may search the directory for free!

 Try Tutor Finder Directory!

A HUGE thank you for your continued support of me, my store and my website! It is greatly appreciated!







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