Why is Orton-Gillingham Needed?
The National Institutes of Health report that one in six people in the United States have difficulty learning to read. They also report that 75% of children identified as having reading difficulties after nine years of age continue to have difficulties throughout High School. Traditional methods for teaching reading are ineffective with this population of children and adults.
To address this issue of literacy, a National Reading Panel was formed in 1997. This panel consisted of 14 individuals, including leading scientists in reading research, and representatives of colleges of education, reading teachers, educational administrators, and parents. Congress asked this panel to assess the status of research including the effectiveness of various approaches to teaching children to read.
A report submitted to Congress in February 1999 by the National Reading Panel showed that a successful reading program should consist of systematic phonics instruction integrated with phonemic awareness, fluency, and comprehension strategies.
The Orton-Gillingham method has been successfully used for more than 70 years and incorporates the components recommended by the National Institutes of Health. It is a structured, multisensory phonics approach. It is systematic, proceeding from simple to complex, and it is cumulative in that new information builds on what has been previously learned. Multisensory reinforcement and practice cements new learning into long-term memory. Although it is structured, the program is also flexible, which means that the method can be adapted by building on the strengths of the individual while providing remeditation of weaknesses.