What is the Orton-Gillingham Approach?

The Orton-Gillingham approach was established as early as 1925 by Samuel Torrey Orton who identified the syndrome of dyslexia as an educational problem. Anna Gillingham was a gifted educator and psychologist with a superb mastery of the language. This approach is language-based, multi-sensory, structured, sequential, cumulative, cognitive, and flexible. Infinitely adaptable, it is a philosophy rather than a system.

Language Based

The Orton-Gillingham approach is based on a technique of studying and teaching language, understanding the nature of human language, the mechanisms involved in learning, and the language learning processes in individuals.


At its best, Orton-Gillingham teaching is diagnostic-prescriptive in nature. Always the teacher seeks to understand how an individual learns and to devise appropriate teaching strategies.

Emotionally Sound

Because old material is constantly reviewed and new material is introduced systematically, the student experiences a high degree of success in every lesson and gains in confidence as well as in skill. Learning becomes a happy experience.


The Orton-Gillingham approach is multi-sensory. Sessions are action-oriented with auditory, visual, and kinesthetic elements reinforcing each other for optimal learning. Spelling is taught simultaneously with reading. In this respect Orton-Gillingham differs from traditional phonics instruction.


Students learn about the history of the language and study the many generalizations and rules, which govern its structure.

Structured, Sequential, and Cumulative

The elements of the language are introduced systematically. Students begin by reading and writing sounds in isolation. These are blended into syllables and words. The various elements of the language, consonants, digraphs, blends, and diphthongs are introduced in orderly fashion. As students learn new material, they continue to review old material to the level of automaticity. The teacher addresses vocabulary, sentence structure, composition, and reading comprehension in similar structured, sequential, and cumulative manner.

Who would benefit?

Our tutoring program is a Highly Specialized Remedial Program appropriate for school-aged children and youth with a diagnosis of dyslexia, language-based learning disabilities and/or ADHD, who:

  • NNeed 1:1 instruction in one of the areas listed below
  • NNeed a multi-sensory, research-based approach
  • NNeed a safe and comfortable learning environment with a highly qualified teacher

Program Focus

Choose your focus:


Phonological awareness, sound/symbol recognition, blending, decoding, handwriting, reading fluency and reading comprehension.


Basic grammar, including parts of speech, sentence structure, punctuation, paragraph structure.


Basic skills in computation, measurement, fractions, use of money, telling time.

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We are a registered charitable organization that does not receive any government funding to support our initiatives. Your gift will help us to ensure we can continue providing our programs and services to support those who are impacted by Learning Disabilities in Halton and Hamilton.

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