Introduction to the Orton-Gillingham Approach

Course Number: EDU 5620 C02 (Graduate)
Instructor: Peggy A. Price, M.Ed., Fellow/AOGPE
Location: Stern Center for Language and Learning
183 Talcott Road
Williston, VT 05495
Dates and Times: 1. Friday, October 20, 2017
2. Thursday, November 2, 2017
3. Friday, November 3, 2017
4. Thursday, December 14, 2017
5. Friday, December 15, 2017

All dates: 8:30 am to 3:30 pm
Credits:  2 credits
Tuition:  $1,630

Note: Please register directly with the Stern Center. Castleton University registrations will be collected on the first day of class.

Course Description

The Orton-Gillingham Approach is the underlying foundation of all multisensory structured language instruction. Orton-Gillingham (OG) is biologically and linguistically sound, diagnostic and prescriptive, and structured yet flexible to the needs of each student. In this 30‐hour course, participants will gain an understanding of the OG Approach and how to develop an OG lesson. Participants will learn about the reading brain and dyslexia, phonology, spelling patterns, the history of the English language, and morphology. OG teachers must be knowledgeable of the history and structure of the English language to effectively teach reading, spelling, and writing. The OG teacher must be able to select and develop instructional materials from a variety of literacy programs and provide sufficient practice for student success. Instructional hours include 32 hours of direct instruction, and the course is available for two graduate credits. There is no practicum option with this course, but you can apply coursework hours towards either the Orton-Gillingham Classroom Educator or Orton-Gillingham Associate Level course and certification.


  • The history and principles of the OG Approach
  • The biological and neurological processes underlying the OG approach
  • The history of phonology and basic speech production
  • The history and structure of the English Language
  • Elements and procedures within an OG lesson and the why behind each lesson part
  • Understanding morphology and how it should be taught within an OG lesson
  • Developing student lessons and maintaining student records
  • Using and interpreting formal and informal diagnostic assessment measures


Methodologies will include teacher-written and taught OG lessons, in-class activities, homework, small and large group discussion, readings, and practice in instruction procedures and lesson planning. Participants will provide written summaries of required readings. 

Course Expectations

Course Expectations include complete attendance, active participation, and homework.

Day 1 Topics Assignments

What is Orton-Gillingham? 

A. Approach 
B. Where it comes from
C. Who is it designed for
D. Approach vs. Program 

The Orton-Gillingham Approach

Principles of Instruction 

A. Direct and Explicit
B. Diagnostic and Prescriptive
C. Multisensory (VAKT)
D. Structured (yet flexible)
E. Sequential and Incremental
F. Cumulative
G. Individualized
H. Cognitive
I. Teaches to Automaticity
J. Systematic phonics & linguistic competence
K. Continuous Feedback & Positive Reinforcement
L. Emotionally Sound 

How Decoding Impacts Comprehension 

A. Demonstrate & Practice

Sound Production and Articulatory Gestures

A. Vowel Circle
B. Voiced and Unvoiced Consonant Pairs
C. Digraphs vs. Consonant Blends
D. Demonstrate & Practice

Introduction to OG Scope and Sequence (Level I) & Lesson Plan Template

- Phonogram Drill (Association I) & Key Words
Demonstrate & Practice
- Optional: Blending Drills (part of Words to Read)
Demonstrate & Practice
- Auditory Drill (Association II & III)
Demonstrate & Practice


  1. Learn the 12 principles of Orton-Gillingham
  2. Practice accurate sound production, key words, and learn voiced & unvoiced pairs.
  3. Practice Phonogram drill, blending drill, and auditory drill
  4. Read two handwriting articles by Virginia Berninger and Diana Hanbury King

Day 2 Topics Assignments

Chall’s Stages of Reading Development

Brain - behavior relationship 

-Neurological processes underlying typical reading, dyslexia, and the OG Approach

Dyslexia: What Every Teacher Should Know

A. Definition and underlying causes
B. Red flags
C. Dyslexia simulation

REVIEW: Sound Production, Vowels, Consonants, Digraphs, and Consonant Blends

Phonogram Drill, Blending Drill, Auditory Drill

Review OG Scope & Sequence Level I


Reading and Writing within the OG Lesson
Simultaneous Oral Spelling (S.O.S.)
Phrase & Sentence Dictation

OG Lesson Plan in Detail

1. Handwriting
Symbol to Sound:
2. Phonogram Drill
3. New Concept
4. Words to Read
5. Oral Reading
Sound to Symbol:
6. Auditory Drill
7. SOS
8. Phonetically Irregular Words (learned words or red words)
9. Dictation: Phrases & Sentences

Example lesson and video clips


1. Write a sample lesson plan introducing a digraph

  • For oral reading: Write at least 5 sentences of decodable text
  • Be ready to practice teaching it to a partner for the next class

Day 3 Topics Assignments

Practice teaching a lesson plan with a partner

Six Syllable Types:

Closed, silent-e, open, r-controlled, vowel team, and consonant-le

A. Demonstrate & Practice

Scope and Sequence (Level II):

1. short vowel spelling rules in Level II (FLoSZ, -ck, -tch)
2. Wild Old Words
3. y can be both a consonant or vowel 
4. Vowel Teams Spelling Generalizations

a. ai & ay
b. oi & oy 
c. ou & ow
d. oa & ow

How to introduce VCe silent-e in an OG lesson


1. Write a sample lesson plan introducing a new syllable type VCe Silent-e

  • For oral reading: Write at least 5 sentences of decodable text
  • Be ready to practice teaching it to a partner for the next class

2. Read International Dyslexia Association. (2013). Dyslexia in the Classroom: What Every Teacher Needs to Know.
3. Read Armbruster, Bonnie, Lehr, Fran, and Osborn, Jean; Put Reading First

Day 4 Topics Assignments

Practice teaching complete OG lesson plan with a partner

Syllable Division Patterns

3. V/CV
4. VC/V
5. -Cle
6. V/V

Words to Read vs. Words to Spell

A. Demonstrate & Practice

Overview of Schwa & Accenting

History of Language
Introduction to Morphology

1. Teaching the basics of morphology
2. What is a morpheme?
3. Implications for SOS 

Teaching Morphology: Basic Introduction for Teaching S&S Levels I & II

1. LEVEL I: Simple endings: -s, -ing, -ed
2. LEVEL II: -er, -est, -y, -ly, -ful, -less, -ness
3. Three sounds of -ed
4. Reinforcing morphology throughout your OG lesson


1. Complete Day 4 Cumulative Review Homework

Day 5 Topics Assignments

Student Assessment & Error Analysis 

Analyzing pre-assessment data & following a scope and sequence:

1. What information does the assessment data give you?
2. Reading and spelling error analysis
3. What should the major priorities of your OG instruction be? decoding, handwriting, fluency, spelling?
4. Where should I start?
5. Case study- partner work

Steps to Begin Pre-Assessment Battery

1. Reading words in isolation: TOWRE and PAT nonsense words
2. Spelling words in isolation: MCGUFFEY Qualitative Spelling Inventory
3. Reading text and comprehension questions
4. Writing Sample
5. Sound checklist

OG Jeopardy: Review of phonology, syllable types, syllable division, morphology, and spelling rules 

OG Organization 

student binder
organizational aids
taking data
student language book

Guidelines to Remember

Interview with student with dyslexia


Complete the rest of the assigned readings by April 14, 2017.

1. The Gillingham Manual

  • In chapter 1, special attention to: History of Language script pp. 14-24

2. The Structured Flexibility of Orton-Gillingham

Required Texts

There are 6 required readings for this course. A typed summary is required for each reading due by January 12, 2018.

For additional course information

Peggy Price
(802) 878-2332

For additional registration information

Caitlin Niland
(802) 878-2332

Register online now!