Approximately 50% of young students learn to read and write with relative ease once exposed to formal instruction. This leaves the other 50% of students falling behind. These other 50% may have a formal diagnosis of dyslexia but many do not. These concerns affect all segments of our population regardless of race, gender, or economic status. Any student that is not reading or writing to grade level expectations can benefit from explicit, one-on-one instruction in reading and writing.
The therapists at LLA Therapy utilize the Orton-Gillingham Approach. This approach was derived based on the need for explicit teaching of the rules for reading and writing in the English language. It has been found that for children struggling to learn these rules a multi-sensory approach allows for the best learning. The Orton-Gillingham approach introduces each sound-symbol relationship in isolation first, and then incorporates that sound with previously learned sounds. Encoding (writing), basic decoding (reading), reading fluency, vocabulary instruction, and reading comprehension are addressed throughout the model.

The Orton-Gillingham program has developed it’s own non-standardized assessment material. This material assists the therapist in knowing where the child’s strengths and weaknesses are in relation to their reading and writing skills. Assessments are done periodically to determine retention of previous skills and areas that need more attention. In addition, ongoing data is collected each treatment session to determine progress toward goals.


The Orton-Gillingham approach first introduces 9 carefully selected letters and builds from there. The order these letters are taught is determined by auditory, visual, and kinesthetic factors rather than their alphabetic order. These letters are then used to form words for spelling (encoding) and reading (decoding) progressing through sentences and storybook reading. For each letter visual, auditory, and kinesthetic information is provided. Each session begins with a three-part drill of previously learned information. This drill again focuses on visual, auditory, and kinesthetic information as it is completed. Following the drill new sounds will be taught one at a time. Instruction of the new sounds is very clearly stated to impress upon each child’s mind a meaningful relationship. Instruction then progresses from teaching individual sound-symbol relationship to teaching the more advanced rules for reading and writing in the English language. These rules are often not deliberately taught in schools or instruction proceeds to quickly for struggling students. New vocabulary is taught throughout the course of therapy when a new word is introduced and reading fluency and comprehension can be checked when working with sentences and/or storybook reading.

There is not set dismissal criteria needed for the Orton-Gillingham approach. Discharge from therapy can occur when age and grade level expectations in reading and writing have been achieved. Some individuals may choose to continue with therapy so that further explicit instruction for new reading rules learned at school can be provided. The decision to dismiss from therapy is one that should be made with the child’s therapist and parents.