7 Best Orton Gillingham Based Reading Programs

Last Updated on October 30, 2023 by Editorial Team

Isn’t it exceptional for a child with learning disabilities to get a specialized approach to cope with peers? A good deal of educators believe and strive for finer instruction techniques for them by bringing neuroscientific information and principles of remediation together.  

Even if compromised neurologically, learners can now keep up with their learning persuasively. To ensure this, you may have to choose those specific learning programs that follow the Orton-Gillingham approach.

In this post, we will mull what the Orton-Gillingham program is, how to choose the best program, and finally, our best picks for your young learner. 

Orton Gillingham program- What actually it do?

If you are looking for an approach that is probably tailor-made for a child with a learning disability, Orton Gillingham Programs can be your best pick. This approach is direct, clear, and multi-sensory, and is accompanied by a sequential style of teaching, reading, writing, and spelling to pupils who have personal challenges in learning. The program guides these children to align with the pace of traditional learning.

Samuel Orton and Anna Gillingham initiated the Orton-Gillingham approach. Samuel Orton was an American neuropsychiatrist and a pathologist who focused on reading failure and other language learning difficulties. To resolve this, he brought neuroscientific information and principles of remediation together.

He encouraged Anna Gillingham, an educator, to compile and publish appropriate educational materials. The first version of this Orton-Gillingham material was seen in the early 1930s and soon became popular as the Orton-Gillingham approach. In our previous posts, we have also talked about how effective this approach can be. 

Choosing the best-suited program

Several programs are available today that follow the Orton-Gillingham approach. But you might be in a bewildering situation where you cannot decide which one would be the best for them! You can choose an appropriate program when you exactly know what the young learners need. When an appropriate style is chosen, their comprehension of concepts will be better, and thus they will enjoy it more. 

There are a number of learning styles that you can opt for. For tactile learners, programs with activities would work. While for visual learners, teaching with colorful images would come in handy. 

Broadly, you can avail two types of Orton-Gillingham programs:

Direct teaching Programs 

Some students need undeviating supervision from teachers for better grasping of notions. Direct teaching programs ensure the same, where instructors use straightforward techniques to enlighten their skills. This method is evidently traditional but is impactful most of the time.

Software-based Programs

Also known as Computer-based learning (CBL), it is an approach to instruction where aids are provided by the computer. This method ensures a number of interactive elements using software to improve the interactivity levels. 

Orton Gillingham program- Top direct teaching programs

The direct teaching approach ensures the pupils are taught and guided by teachers directly. This warrants minimal communication gaps and effective learning. Most of these programs are inexpensive and are quite easily formatted for ease of communication. 

Here are some top programs:

1. Barton Reading and Spelling

barton reading and spelling

This is a premium-priced yet effective program that parents often like. May it be clear instructions or great reading techniques, most of its attributes make it direct and effective. Thus, it stands as one of the most potent programs for children who have challenges in learning and grasping. This program makes non-professionals teach efficiently which is the factor that makes it distinctive. It is most effective for pupils who toil in spelling, writing, reading, and other language-related concepts.  

Each level of this approach ensures quality through Tutor Training on DVD/Online videos, tutor manuals, colour-coded letter tiles, manipulatives, and customer support too. The DVDs consist of approximately five to six hours of instructions. The pupil can halt and practice skills for ten to fifteen minutes. The tutor manual consists of everything you may need to instruct. The wide column in it contains full scripting, while the narrow columns contain just summary information. 

2. All About Reading

All About Reading

All About Reading (AAR) is a cost-effective program that briefs what to do and what not to do. Being a complete program in phonics, decoding, vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension, it has four levels along with a pre-reading program. The scripted lessons are fun and engaging due to their easy formats. Being a research-based multisensory program, it is timidly scripted; thus, it can give fruitful results in just a 20-minute session a day. This makes it a fitting choice for over-ornate parents and tutors too.

It consists of two parts: the Pre-reading program and the Reading Program. The Pre Reading Program consists of a teacher’s manual, a student packet, two read-aloud books, the letter sounds A to Z app, and a few other essential manipulatives. This account is a great starter. The Reading Program consists of four levels: 1 to 4. The five components of this program include phonological awareness, phonics/decoding, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension.

3. Lindamood-Bell


Being in the market for more than 3 decades, this evidence-based program develops the skills necessary for reading and comprehension, especially for students needing support. The program starts with identifying strengths and weaknesses, based on which instruction is decided.

The learning disability evaluation ensures this and it results in a real-time difference in performance. Offers by the institute are another distinguished aspect; parents can avail themselves of good discounts occasionally; this school also welcomes international students.

4. Wilson Reading

Wilson Reading

A tried and proven program from Wilson Reading (WR) ensures quality with its experience of more than 3 decades. Used by many private schools, this program is not heavily scripted. It focuses on the education of teachers, ensuring it with certifications. It collaborates with districts and universities for school implementation, science and literacy development, graduation programs, and graduate credits. The research-based discipline incorporated with COMPASS (COMprehensive Plans for Achieving Success and Sustainability)and literacy specialists guides the discharge of programs with assured constancy. 

WR starts with very basic skills like letters and their sounds and then gradually dives into needed skills. Thus, it is age-appropriate; students of every age get materials designed for them. For instance, if the eighth-grader wants to learn fourth grade, the materials are designed for their level with advanced vocabulary and exemplars. This can be your pick if you are looking for a popular and proven scheme that possesses brand value.

5. ABeCeDarian Reading Program

ABeCeDarian Reading Program

The next option for parents and teachers who are looking for a direct teaching program for their child is the ABeCeDarian reading program. It is a comprehensive decoding program that uses a multisensory approach to help students gain the ability and confidence to read fluently.

Children in kindergarten through grade 2 receive explicit phonics instruction, so they develop a stronghold in phonemic awareness and decoding. For older students in grades 3-6, the program offers word study materials, which must be combined with appropriate reading materials so they can keep making progress in reading.

Some time ago, the program rolled out levels A, B1, and B2 in a digital format. This makes learning more convenient, as learners can now access the reading material anytime, anywhere, enhancing their overall experience.

Orton Gillingham Program- Top Software-based Programs

A software-based program along with a direct-teaching program can lead to ameliorated results. Software-based programs have a lot of value additions like convenience and flexibility. Additionally, this approach circumvents the need for repetitive teaching. Evidently, it is rare to find a patient-practitioner as well.  

Here are some of our picks:

1. Lexia Reading

Lexia Reading

With five levels of learning, Lexia reading is a thorough course that begins with basic sounds and continues teaching through concepts like roots, syllabication, suffixes, and prefixes. The program meets the Common Core standards and now has timed drills; thus, it becomes a great pick for daily training. 

This computer-based reading program provides phonics instructions ensuring independent student practice in basic reading skills. Being designed to supplement regular classroom instructions, it amplifies skill development in five different areas of reading instruction identified by the National Reading Panel.

This program usually consists of two to five 30 minute-sessions each. The Internet-based reports from developers allow instructors to access and monitor the progress of the pupils at all levels. Unfortunately, the limited time span constrains educators from repeated lectures. 

2. Fast ForWord Program

Fast ForWord is a unique software-based program developed by neuroscientists. It helps in building a learning foundation, followed by training for reading fluency and comprehension. To begin with, learners complete 5 to 7 exercises of early programs to strengthen their foundational skills and then move on to programs that focus on reading and comprehension.

While most reading programs are either conducted at a dedicated center or offer software to be used at home, this program has the best of both worlds by offering the convenience of learning to read at home and the guidance of professionals who coach and mentor parents and their kids to derive the best possible outcomes from this program. They even conduct virtual sessions if need be.

The Fast ForWord program is perfect for learners of all ages and those with different learning difficulties. Just 30 minutes a day, 3 to 5 days a week, brings significant progress in children and adults when the program is used consistently for 4–6 months.

3. HearBuilder


HearBuilder focuses on building a strong foundation of literacy and reading by improving listening and memory retrieval skills. The research-based online interactive programs offer a set of multi-level activities with reports for parents and educators to track the progress. It offers multiple plans ensuring tailor-made training. These include:

  • Home (for one student and one parent)
  • Home + ( doe one parent and 2-4 students)
  • Educator (for one instructor and up to 20 students)
  • Educator + (for one instructor with up to 40 students)
  • Administrator (for multiple educators with over 40 students)

Summing up

The Orton-Gillingham approach is focused on individual learning needs. Concentrating on the early needs of pupils would boost them in sorting, recognising, and organizing the lessons helping them to ponder and apply what they learned. As much as these programs help children with learning disabilities, they can also be a boon for others who wish to learn with ease. 

Being validated for more than 80 years, this approach has created enough evidence of being effective. Having a professional instructor can make it a tool with extraordinary depth and flexibility. Mull into the above picks to check if any of them fits your young learner. 

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