5 Orton Gillingham Approach Based Board Games

Last Updated on October 9, 2023 by Editorial Team

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“My son could not understand letters, he used to run away from reading sessions. However, things took a magical turn when his teacher told me about Orton Gillingham Board Games and showed me how to use them. With the help of these games, he did develop a liking for learning phonics, letters, and spellings, though in unconventional ways.”

This is not the experience of just one person. Statistics reveal that about 10-15% of school-going children in the US suffer from learning difficulties. The biggest challenge faced by the parents of these children is how to equally pace them up among mainstream students. A documentary, ‘Our Dyslexic Children‘ has further explored this issue quite brilliantly. It showcases the ways a section of parents adopted to make learning easier for their children whose brains are wired differently but their intelligence is intact; in fact, way better than others!

All these anecdotes, stories, and documentaries have emphasized one common thing – a need for gamification of learning procedures. That is why; researchers and educators use intervention tools[1] like manipulatives, board games, flashcards, and other teaching materials and classroom intervention methods so that education of a basic nature is made available to one and all.

Need of Orton Gillingham approach-based board games

Orton Gillingham’s method is not some formula but a well-designed approach. It asserts the need to understand the learning curve of dyslexic children and adjust the teaching methods according to it. The board games based on the Orton Gillingham approach[2] offer a structured method of imparting basic skills of reading. The main characteristics of such board games are:

  • Multi-sensory: Since reading is too difficult for dyslexic children, the use of multi-sensory tools that involve auditory or tactile-kinesthetic modalities is promoted in these board games.
  • Sequential learning: Dumping all information onto a dyslexic is not going to do any good. Children need a systematic learning pattern featuring a gradual accumulation of skills to accomplish the proficiency attainment objectives. Many board games based on this approach stress going from very basic like sounding out letters to ultimately writing spellings and words.
  • Direct and clear approach: Dyslexic children need additional support to make neurological connections[3] among the areas of the brain devoted to visual, sounding out, and literal meaning processing.
  • Corrective and skill-building ability: All OG approach-inspired board games have ample scope for letting children correct their approach, see the area where improvement is required, and monitor the progress.

Sounds interesting, isn’t it?

So, take a look at the 5 most promising Board games Based on the Orton Gillingham approach that can make your kids fluent in phonics, reading, spelling, and sentence-building kind of basic language development skills.

5 Best Orton Gillingham Board Games

1. ThinkFun Zingo Word Builder Early Reading Game

ThinkFun Zingo Word Builder Early Reading Game

Zingo word builder is one of the most popular reading-and-spelling games that help students acquire proficiency in letter recognition and their sound outs, to start with. Further, this game involves putting the letters together that correspond to the sequential learning characteristic of the OG approach.

Kids can learn about the CVC (consonant-vocal-consonant) method of forming words by selecting the appropriate words, and eventually building spellings. The kids cannot form spellings unless they have used the letters in the correct sequence. Thus, this game makes the best use of the Orton Gillingham approach and helps the kids overcome the reading difficulties the gamification way.

2. Boggle Junior

Boggle Junior

Boggle Junior offers visual and tactile support for learning spellings and relating them to the pictures corresponding to the words formed. This spelling and word-making game has very interesting dice-like tools that carry letters.

One child can take the cue card and put it on the slot, and the other copies the letters from the picture and tries to make words by putting dice to form the spelling. All letters are underlined to ensure that kids understand the correct formation of letters.

Spelling formation is an outcome of gradual learning and is one of the advanced stages of language building, which forms part of the preschool’s curriculum. Thus, with the introduction of the play method, children with reading difficulties can become intelligent spelling bees with Boggle Junior.

3. Junior Learning Spelligator

Junior Learning Spelligator

Spelligator is a fun word-building board game that helps kids learn letter patterns, their positioning in words, and phonemic awareness. It is apt for kids 5 years of age and older and allows up to four players to engage at a time. As kids love animals, they can have a great time building basic words on a Spelligator’s back using the plastic letter tiles provided in the box.

To assist kids who have a hard time differentiating between beginning, middle, and ending letter sounds, the makers of this game have created tiles in unique shapes that guide students to position their letters correctly. The game offers a fun learning experience to small groups for early language learners and those who need a little extra support through the gamification of language concepts.

4. Learning Resources Alphabet Island, Letter & Sounds Game

Learning Resources Alphabet Island, Letter & Sounds Game

When the letters come out of books and take positions in cards, kids find it easier to relate. Alphabet Island is a board game that attracts children when they have become well-acquainted with letter sounds, shapes, and phenomes.

The letter discs pop out from a dolphin’s mouth and kids need to arrange them to make the words with the beginning sound starting with that letter. Upper case and lower case letter matching is another aim of this game that pushes gradually to higher levels of learning. Upfront, as well as step-by-step learning support provided by this game, coincides with the Orton Gillingham approach to learning sight words and boosts learning with added sustainability.

5. Wordsearch Fun Word Puzzle Game

WordSearch Fun Word Puzzle Game

Word identification and spelling-building skills are the two main outcomes of this board game. Picking specifically the spelling-building skill as a core objective of this game offers better clarity of understanding of the learning objective to the players.

They are given clues by spinning the wheel, and the challenge is to find as many words as possible on the board in the given time frame. Thus, this board game qualifies to be a perfect tool for building spelling and reading fluency in growing children. Their word identification skills come into play in this game enabling them to pick up spellings fast.

To conclude,

Board games using the Orton Gillingham approach offer perfect learning material to kids who need gamification support to build basic language skills. These games ease the learning process by laying stress on various aspects of reading skills such as phonics, letter, and word identification spelling building, and others, and groom the kids eventually into confident and proficient language enthusiasts.


  1. Malik, Najma & Rehman, Ghazala & Hanif, Rubina. (2011). Effect of Academic Interventions on the Developmental Skills of Slow Learners. 27.
  2. Purkayastha, Saptarshi & Nehete, Namrata & Purkayastha, Jashodhara. (2012). Dyscover — An Orton-Gillingham approach inspired multi-sensory learning application for dyslexic children. Proceedings of the 2012 World Congress on Information and Communication Technologies, WICT 2012. 685-690. 10.1109/WICT.2012.6409163.
  3. Nicolson, R. I., & Fawcett, A. J. (2019). Development of Dyslexia: The Delayed Neural Commitment Framework. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 13. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnbeh.2019.00112

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