According to a 2012 study from Statistics Canada, one in six Canadian adults cannot pass the most basic literacy tests. This represents an overall decline in literacy compared to the results of a similar study conducted in 2003. If anything, the study highlights how, even though we often take literacy for granted, reading and writing are difficult. Compound this inherent difficulty with an obstacle such as dyslexia and it’s no wonder why many children struggle to learn the literacy skills expected of them.
The Orton-Gillingham tutoring approach aims to accommodate those who find reading, writing, and spelling especially challenging. Orton-Gillingham tutors use a variety of auditory, kinesthetic, and visual activities to teach their students the relationships between the sound, shape, and appearance of each letter and word. Students become familiar with these relationships and are then able to read, write, and spell more confidently on their own.
What Does Orton-Gillingham Tutoring Look Like?
Orton-Gillingham tutoring sessions are usually one-on-one, but small groups are possible as well. Sessions are typically one hour long, but there is room for flexibility according to students’ needs. It is generally recommended that students participate in at least two Orton-Gillingham tutoring sessions per week for best results. We can discuss this more in our initial meeting to find the best fit for your family.
Orton-Gillingham tutors are equipped with props to facilitate learning. For example, students might physically arrange colourful cards featuring letters and word fragments to create their own words and read them aloud. Students might also dip their fingers in a baking tray filled with sand or rice to practice tracing letters and words. The goal is always to engage students on all fronts—establishing aural, physical, and visual connections to language is essential.
Approximately 85% of the words in the English language follow predictable rules for spelling and pronunciation. With the skills taught by Orton-Gillingham tutoring, students will be able to confidently apply those rules to recognize the spelling and pronunciation of most words, even upon seeing them for the first time.
I’ve Been Given a Psych-Ed Assessment… Now What?!
The results of a psych-ed assessment can bring relief but also stress. Relief because now you know what you’re up against, but stress because now you know what you’re up against! If your child has been diagnosed with dyslexia and the psych-ed assessment recommends an Orton-Gillingham tutor, follow the steps below to set everything in motion.
Connect with an Orton-Gillingham Tutor
In order to find the best tutor for your child, it’s important to ask the right questions. Don’t be afraid to be thorough! A good tutor will have no problem answering your toughest questions.
In addition to your own questions, be sure to ask any prospective tutor these twelve questions to guarantee a perfect match. Additionally, ask if the tutor is willing to facilitate a transfer to another tutor in case it is necessary in the future.
Your Orton-Gillingham tutor should be flexible with their delivery of content. While prioritizing Orton-Gillingham methods, make sure your tutor acknowledges the methods your child’s teacher is using in the classroom. This will help bridge any gaps between the way literacy is taught in school and the way it’s taught through the Orton-Gillingham approach, preventing your child from getting confused.
At Tutoring…With A Twist, we have a certified Orton-Gillingham tutor who is happy to help translate your child’s psych-ed assessment and develop a personalized Orton-Gillingham plan for your child. We also work closely with teachers to make sure everyone is on the same page. Our goal is to establish a team and a system that works for your child specifically—Orton-Gillingham methods lead the charge, but we uniquely tailor the tutoring experience so that it works for your child as an individual.
Create an IEP
Ask your child’s school for a team-based school meeting to create an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). The “team” should consist of you and any other primary caregivers, an administrator from the school, someone from the school’s special education department, your child’s teacher, an education assistant (EA) if there is one assigned to your child’s classroom, and your child’s Orton-Gillingham tutor.
At the meeting, ensure that the IEP contains goals and strategies to help your child learn, services and resources for your child, and ways to track your child’s progress. Make it known that you want the IEP to be a living document—it must always be taken into account and updated with changes as your child grows and changes… make sure it is not simply shelved and never seen again!
Refer to the comprehensive guide to IEPs for everything you need to know about IEPs and how to advocate for your child.
Twisted Orton-Gillingham Tutoring
The most important part of tutoring is to acknowledge each learner’s unique abilities and needs. A reputable Orton-Gillingham tutor would agree! At Tutoring…With A Twist*, our Twisted Tutors get to know you and your child on an individual level so they can prepare personalized plans to help you achieve your specific goals. It’s all part of our twisted guarantee!
The twisted tutor toolkit includes Orton-Gillingham methods, but it doesn’t end there. Because we know every child is unique, we treat all of our students as though they have special needs. This means we believe students are so much more than their diagnoses and deserve to be taught in ways that work specifically for them, not just what is prescribed.
If you need help advocating for your child or understanding their psych-ed assessment and/or IEP, we’re happy to lend a hand. We’ll start with a team-based initial meeting to make sure everyone’s on the same page, and then we’ll all be a part of your child’s journey together.
If you think Orton-Gillingham tutoring would make a difference in your child’s education, we would love to discuss this important decision with you. Feel free to contact us today.
*Services provided by With a Twist Education Ltd.