7 Must-Have Orton Gillingham Tools And Resources

Last Updated on October 12, 2022 by Editorial Team

Who doesn’t love a straightforward, direct, organized, chronological, and descriptive practice of teaching literacy? Orton-Gillingham is one such approach that lays out facile means to instruct compromising students too. This learning technique which has been validated for more than 80 years can be even handier with valuable resources.

In this accord, let us mull over effective resources for this seminal approach that makes instruction constructive. Prior to this, it is imperative to know more about this pioneering method. 

Orton-Gillingham Approach- The most formative technique

Designed to aid struggling readers to explicitly instruct the connection between letters and sounds, Orton-Gillingham is a highly structured approach that breaks down all the reading and spelling skills to build one after another over time. This age-old program thus has several reasons to pick it out. Being a multisensory, and individualized plan to teach language, this approach has the following value additions: 

  • Instructors Stimulate Pupils: Mentors in this approach are embellished with advanced skills and insights to encourage students to master notions. They thus consistently inspire with various activities rather than relying on traditional instruction.
  • Early Detection of Learning compromises: This seminal approach includes the identification of learning compromises at every grade with its set of activities. Learning compromises, like dyslexia, can be detected as early as Kindergarten. 
  • The language needs differ from one student to another; thus, they need individualized care. The Orton-Gillingham approach ensures this by letting pupils know their strengths at their own pace.
  • These programs are sequential approaches, which means every new lesson is carefully built on the previous, ensuring no gaps. 
  • Several schools implement this approach in their special & general education programs as they know that Orton-Gillingham is a highly-valuable program that breaks spelling and reading into minuscule skills.

List of tools & resources to carry out Orton Gillingham method

1. Phonogram Decks

phonogram decks

These cards are contrived to preach pupils with letters and their combinations to represent sounds. Proficient teachers prefer starting off every OG (Orton-Gillingham) lesson employing a Phonogram Deck to amplify the knowledge of letter sound & create great fluency. This affix deck is also helpful for those who are working on morphology (suffix & prefix patterns). Phenogram decks can be beneficial in multiple ways:

  • Symbol and sound recognition get stronger, and unfamiliar words can be sounded effortlessly.
  • Syllable structure can be implicitly preached; thus, students understand multi-syllabic words effortlessly.

2. Magnets or Letter Tiles

Magnets or Letter Tiles

Students seldom adore playing with words. It is a substantial idea to employ this to evolve phonological awareness. Instructors may ask them to pair up word tiles to form a justifiable phenome. These crucial manipulatives ease virtual learning and have the following value additions: 

  • Apart from elucidating reading and spelling concepts, differences in colors help learners visualize their different roles. 
  • Tiles are easily replaceable; thus, mistakes are no big deal and can be easily rectified. 
  • These make tasks easy and lay the groundwork for the accomplishment of sizable goals later.

3. Red Word Grid

Also known as a word screen, it is a netted sheet that students use to assist their writing skills. These even grids guide them to write even-sized letters. The sizable manipulative is a crucial component of tactile learning. The pupil needs to trace their finger over the letters and speak them out; now, they trace them ensuring both multisensory experience and motor movement.

The red colour makes us evidently halt and pay attention; thus, this colour is preferred for the grid. Here’s how it can be cast-off:

  • The child holds the grid with the non-writing hand, then Slides the index finger of the writing hand on the word while they read it. Repeat this three times at least.
  • Now, they take the index finger to the grid, trace the letter, and repeat it at least 3 times. 
  • Extend the non-writing arm with the card with the letter
  • Place the writing hand on your shoulder as they read it.
  • They are now asked to write down the word/letter on paper. 

4. Whiteboard & Dry Erase Markers

Instructors can use whiteboards as they are reusable, unlike papers. You can mark crucial spelling words and create new terms using drills. You can opt for a usual 11″ x 14″ board, or a double-sided dry erase board for multitasking. Using multiple colours to mark differences can protrude as a substantial edifying strategy. 

whiteboard and dry erase markers

Whiteboards turn up as an essential classroom tool for all instructors to accommodate students. Since image-based activities are critical for visual learners, illustrations on whiteboards can effectively process the information, thus can be effortlessly recalled later. 

5. Activities and Games

activities and games

Research by Thorkild Hanghoj[1] shows the relevance of activities and games-based instruction, which are potent instructional approaches. Orton-Gillingham believes in these pedagogic resources since they are multisensory.  

Thus,  Orton-Gillingham is not complete without games and activities. Boggle, Square Panda Playset, Word search and Think Fun Zingo can be great board game choices. Activities should never be blotted out; you can avail free worksheets to practise effortlessly.

6. Digital Manipulatives

digital manipulatives

In the present scenario, where kids are just a click away from their favourite games on mobile phones and tablets, these devices have turned into nifty resources as well. You can perpetuate learning-based applications and games in these devices ready to learn at your convenience. Research by Jennifer Groff[2]  showed that game-based learning showed a significant impact on students’ performance and engagement with the support of teachers. 

7. Data monitoring system

A data monitoring system accompanies every program. Traditional approaches assess students with examinations and report cards, while the OG approach accesses with specified progress monitoring registers showcasing pupils’ advancement over time. Popular resources include Screeners, Gallistel-Ellis, and QRI (Quality Reading Inventory). 

Screeners are online monitors that administer pupils three times a year with parallel forms of equal difficulty. Gallistel-Ellis is a simple 30-minute survey that aligns with the Orton-Gillingham sequence. QRI is an informal reading inventory that accesses text reading, comprehension, and fluency. 

Concluding thoughts

Breaking down chapters into a few specific skills can be a reliable technique for pupils; this is what the Orton-Gillingham approach absolutely ensures. Thus several programs like Wilson Reading System and Barton Reading are based on it. This age-old approach is evidently tailor-made for special needs children; it can be a pre-eminent option for others as well. Being a one-on-one instructional model, the coaching needs specialized resource conglomeration—Mull over our picks of resources to ensure the supreme outcome for your toddler. 


[1]Game-Based Teaching: Practices, Roles, and Pedagogies: Aalborg University (Hanghoj T.) (2013, January) 
[2] Console Game-Based Pedagogy: A Study of Primary and Secondary Classroom Learning through Console Video Games: Groff J. (2012)

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