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Transcript of Orton-Gillingham History
"It is obvious [...] that no miracle such as learning to read fluently in a few weeks or months can be expected and that the program should be planed looking toward two or three years of more or less individualized help with a gradual change in the nature of the remedial work as the child's skills incrase and as advances in school grade alter the demands on him" (Orton, 1937. p. 102).
Leverage strengths in auditory comprehension and kineasthetics
Sequenced instruction from phonemes to multisyllabic words to fluent reading
Use a close association of visual, auditory and kinesthetic elements forming the "Language Triange (Gillingham, 1956. p. 40)
"Our approach has been an attempt to capitalize their auditory competence by teaching them the phonetic equivalents of the printed letters and the process of blending sequences of such equivalents so that they might produce for themselves the spoken form of the word from its graphic counterpart" (Orton, 1935. p. 95).
Trace letters while saying sound
Use nonsense words to prevent guessing
Point to letters while decoding words
Form a language triangle
"We have found it is not safe to assume that when the associative linkages are established in one direction they will also be operative in the other" (Orton, 1937. p. 98).
Described often seeing students say and write two different things
Spelling options present a significant challenge because students with poor visual memory cannot tell what "looks right"
Teach students spelling generalizations
Memorize common, non-phonetic words
Samuel T. Orton
Worked with adults who had suffered traumatic brain injuries
Later used this experience to inform his research on children with reading disabilities
Worked with and studied Orton's methods, later writing a teach manual with Bessie Stillman
Created a systematic curriculum for teaching reading using a multisensory approach to phonics
"There remains, however, the very pertinent question as to whether children who use finger pointing while reading are slow readers because of this habit or whether they are slow readers because of strephosymbolic [dyslexic] confusions and make use of the finger to overcome their difficulty. It must be remembered here, moreover, that in the case of extreme degrees of the reading disability our choice may not lie between rapid and slow reading but between slow reading or none at all" (Orton, 1937. p. 98).
Need age appropriate & high interest materials
Students can be discouraged by slow pace
provide words they cannot decode
take a turn reading to keep them engaged
Rapid reading drills with charting with isolated words
Decodable stories to help practice putting learned sounds together
"Delay or disorder in language acquisition, developmental alexia (congenital word blindness, strephosymbolia, specific reading disability" (Orton, 1937. p. 40).
Resulting from a deficit in left hemisphere
reversals (e.g., b, d, p, q)
inverting palindromes (e.g., saw/was, not/ton)
reversal of parts of words or whole syllables (e.g., gray/gary, tarnish/tarshin)
reordering sounds within syllables of multisyllabic words (Orton, . p. 140)
"Each child presents an individual problem, not only because of the diverse influence of a considerable number of environmental conditions, but also because the relative part played by each of the three major functions entering into the language faculty - vision, audition, and kinaesthesis - varies markedly in different children as does the child's emotional reaction to his difficulty" (Orton, 1937. p. 94).
Evaluate external factors
Look for symptoms (described in previous slide)
Behavior is often impacted by frustration over the disability
"Each case of developmental delay forms an individual problem [...] we are all prone to search for simplified and universally applicable formula but no such general 'method' can be defined" (Orton, 1937. p. 86).
Orton intentionally did not describe instructional methods in an effort to prevent it from becoming "too inflexible and [...] routine" (Orton, 1937. p. 96).
His basic guidelines were used by Anna Gillingham to write, The Gillingham Manual:
amount of practice based on individual need
review of previously taught concepts
engagement & motivation are key factors o success
Recommended Reading & Resources
Reading, Writing, and Speech Problems in Children and Selected Papers by Samuel Torrey Orton (1937)
"The 'Sight Reading' Method of Teaching Reading, as a Source of Reading Disability" by Samuel Torrey Orton in The Journal of Educational Psychology
The Gillingham Manual: Remedial Training for Students with Specific Disability in Reading, Spelling, and Penmanship by Anna Gillingham (revised edition, 1997)
The International Dyslexia Association (formerly The Orton Dyslexia Society) www.interdys.org