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Orton-Gillingham

Camperdown Academy is accredited by the Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators (AOGPE) as both an Institution and a Training Site.  Of all the accredited institutions and training sites, Camperdown is only one of 8 that is accredited as both.  The core foundation of the school's teaching is philosophy is the Orton-Gillingham Approach, and these principles are found in the 1:1/2:1 Language Development Tutorial Program, as well as in all content-area classrooms.  All teachers in the school are Orton-Gillingham trained.

Orton-Gillingham is an instructional approach intended primarily for use with persons who have difficulty with reading, spelling, and writing of the sort associated with dyslexia. It is most properly understood and practiced as an approach, not a method, program, system or technique. In the hands of a well-trained and experienced instructor, it is a powerful tool of exceptional breadth, depth, and flexibility.

The essential curricular content and instructional practices that characterize the Orton-Gillingham Approach are derived from two sources: first from a body of time-tested knowledge and practice that has been validated over the past 70 years, and second from scientific evidence about how persons learn to read and write; why a significant number have difficulty in doing so; how having dyslexia makes achieving literacy skills more difficult; and which instructional practices are best suited for teaching such persons to read and write.

The approach is so named because of the foundational and seminal contributions of Samuel T. Orton and Anna Gillingham. Samuel Torrey Orton (1879-1948) was a neuropsychiatrist and pathologist. He was a pioneer in focusing attention on reading failure and related language processing difficulties. He brought together neuroscientific information and principles of remediation. As early as 1925 he had identified the syndrome of dyslexia as an educational problem. Anna Gillingham (1878-1963) was a gifted educator and psychologist with a superb mastery of the language. Encouraged by Dr. Orton, she compiled and published instructional materials as early as the 1930s which provided the foundation for student instruction and teacher training in what became known as the Orton-Gillingham Approach.

The Orton-Gillingham Approach is most often associated with a one-on-one teacher-student instructional model. Its use in small group instruction is not uncommon. A successful adaptation of the approach has demonstrated its value for class-room instruction. Reading, spelling and writing difficulties have been the dominant focus of the approach although it has been successfully adapted for use with students who exhibit difficulty with mathematics.

The Orton-Gillingham Approach always is focused upon the learning needs of the individual student. Students with dyslexia need to master the same basic knowledge about language and its relationship to our writing system as any who seek to become competent readers and writers. However, because of their dyslexia, they need more help than most people in sorting, recognizing, and organizing the raw materials of language for thinking and use. Language elements that non-dyslexic learners acquire easily must be taught directly and systematically.

The Orton-Gillingham Approach has been rightfully described as language-based, multisensory, structured, sequential, cumulative, cognitive, and flexible. These characteristics can be easily amplified and extended as they are in the following attributes.

Language-based
Orton-Gillingham (OG) lessons equip students with learning differences to succeed with language skills. These may include language that is receptive or expressive, spoken or written.
 
Multisensory
Multisensory instruction uses auditory, visual, kinesthetic, and tactile pathways simultaneously. This creates and reinforces strong memories that are easier to recall.
 
Structured
OG lessons teach the structure of language. OG practitioners use direct instruction to reveal the patterns that make English reading and spelling predictable. Lesson routines are clear so that students know what to expect.
 
Sequential

Concepts are presented in logical order. Simple, foundational ideas are presented and mastered before complex ones.

Cumulative
Information and skills build on each other, so regular review ensures that previously studied lessons are not forgotten. Concepts are mastered and retained.
 
Cognitive
Students begin to understand the logical patterns of language, and they are empowered to think through spelling and decoding challenges. Strategies are given and practiced so that students can exchange the insecurity of guessing for the ability to answer confidently.
 
Diagnostic and Prescriptive
The OG practitioner makes careful diagnostic notes about student errors. The next lesson is prescriptively planned to address the root of a student’s misunderstanding.
 
Personalized
Lessons flexibly accommodate students’ particular strengths and weaknesses. Students move through curriculum as quickly as they can, but as slowly as they must in order to master material.
 
Emotionally Sound
Success builds success. OG lessons are designed so that students succeed when they use the strategies they have learned. The needs of the whole child are addressed. Newly gained competence becomes the foundation for confidence as a learner.