Home / Newsletters / January 21, 2018 GMLS Division Newsletter / GMLS Reading Program Set to Distinguish Itself Nationally

GMLS Reading Program Set to Distinguish Itself Nationally

Golda Meir Lower School is soon to become one of the only schools in the nation in which every language arts teacher is trained in the Orton-Gillingham approach to reading. Why are we making this particular investment in professional development? For three reasons:

  • To enhance our teachers’ specialized skills and knowledge to support every kind of reader;

  • To equip every teacher with the tools to identify and remediate reading difficulties at the very earliest sign; and,

  • To give every child – whether they are a struggling reader or not – access to the oldest, best researched and most effective reading program in existence.


Of all reading programs, Orton-Gillingham has the most research to support its approach.


What is Orton-Gillingham?

O-G, as it is called for short, was the first reading program ever designed for struggling readers.  It focuses on breaking reading and spelling down into smaller skills involving letters and sounds, and then building on these skills over time. Teachers use sight, hearing, touch and movement to help students connect language with letters and words. Orton–Gillingham also puts a strong emphasis on understanding the “how” and “why” behind reading. Students may explore why the letter s sounds one way in the word plays, and another way in the word snake. Once they know consistent rules and patterns, they’re better able to decode words on their own.

Who uses Orton-Gillingham?

Currently, many schools use the Orton-Gillingam approach – but only in their special education reading programs. But at GMLS we ask, “Why reserve this gold standard reading program for just one or two specialists and a small handful of students?” We believe that every one of our students should have access to the best of the best, as early as possible, right in their own classroom.


Why reserve this gold standard reading program for just a handful of students in a school? Why not let every teacher – and every child –  in on the power of O-G?


It is important to note that Orton-Gillingham is not intended to replace our Guided Reading approach; rather, it is to serve as a complement and extension of our reading instruction that can benefit many of our students. For children who are identified with a reading disability, however, O-G is recommended to become the core approach. As always at GMLS, personalization for each child is key and a hallmark of what we do.

During the week of January 29th, all of our K-2 teachers and specialists will spend the full week in intensive O-G training right here on our own campus. K-2 teachers will then be able to begin implementation of the O-G approach in February. Our 3-5 teachers will be trained during the week of June 18 with implementation in the fall.

It is very exciting to take this step to distinguish GMLS nationally in reading instruction. We are confident in the transformative impact that Orton-Gillingham will have on our ability to maximize every child’s potential as a reader.


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