As a classroom teacher, one of the things I truly value about being a part of the SDJA team is the commitment to ongoing professional development, including making sure that classroom teachers are well equipped with the best tools that our trade has to offer. The Orton-Gillingham training, which ten teachers on staff received two weeks ago, demonstrates this commitment.
Though most students will learn to read using standard reading and spelling curriculum, one in ten students needs something more. The O-G approach is a time tested and research based approach for supporting those students who need additional systematic, structured instruction. Using multisensory techniques and a carefully designed lesson format, our staff can now offer any student that is struggling with basic reading and spelling skills the building blocks from which to succeed.
In addition to benefitting struggling readers in the classroom, the O-G training supports our efforts to differentiate instruction at all levels. Retooling or refining our practice as English teachers, the O-G approach also helps us to better understand the basic phonetic rules that govern the English language. Though it may be difficult to believe, over 80% of words in English do follow a phonetic rule or generalization! Understanding these rules and generalizations more fully helps us to better address the needs of even our highest readers.
As Mrs. King said, the O-G approach will not replace the robust reading and spelling programs that are already in place. Rather, this offers our staff the opportunity to have the most effective tools available for supporting struggling readers and spellers as well as an in-depth study of the building blocks of the English language. I have enjoyed getting started with this approach during literacy groups, putting these principles into practice!