Orton Gillingham and The Science of Reading

Orton Gillingham and The Science of Reading

Orton Gillingham and The Science of Reading

Orton Gillingham is an instructional approach rooted in the science of reading. It was developed in the 1930s by Dr. Samuel Orton and Anna Gillingham to help students with dyslexia and other reading difficulties. The approach is based on the idea that reading and writing are language processes that require integrating multiple cognitive and sensory systems. 

Orton Gillingham is a structured, systematic, and multisensory approach that is designed to help students develop the foundational skills needed for reading and writing.

What are the Reading Wars?

The Reading Wars refer to a longstanding debate in education about the most effective way to teach reading. 

One side of the debate advocates for a whole language approach, which emphasizes the meaning of the text and encourages students to use contextual cues and prior knowledge to decode words. 

The other side of the debate advocates for a science of reading approach, emphasizing the importance of explicit instruction in phonics, decoding, and other foundational reading skills. Proponents of the science of reading argue that this approach is more effective at preventing and remedying reading difficulties, particularly for struggling readers.

Whole Language Approach vs. Science of Reading: Which One Wins?

The Whole Language and Science of Reading approaches are contrasting methods for teaching reading that have been debated among educators for many years.

The Whole Language Approach

The Whole Language approach is an approach to teaching reading that emphasizes the importance of meaning and context in learning to read. According to this approach, reading is a natural process children learn by being exposed to rich, meaningful language in a supportive environment. 

Whole Language advocates argue that children should be taught to read by reading books that interest them and by using context clues and prior knowledge to guess the meanings of words. 

Whole Language instruction often focuses on reading comprehension and encourages students to use strategies such as predicting, visualizing, and making connections between reading and their experiences.

The Science of Reading

On the other hand, the Science of Reading approach emphasizes the importance of teaching foundational reading skills, such as phonics, phonemic awareness, and decoding. This approach is based on the latest research in cognitive psychology, neuroscience, and linguistics and emphasizes the importance of explicit instruction in these skills. 

The Science of Reading approach argues that reading is not a natural process but a complex cognitive skill that must be explicitly taught. Science of Reading emphasizes the importance of teaching foundational skills in reading. 

At The Learning Lab, we focus our programs based on the science of readingreadacing. We believe that this approach is the most effective way to teach reading to students, particularly those with learning differences. 

A Comprehensive Approach to Reading

Lucy Calkins, a well-known proponent of the whole language approach, developed the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project, which is widely used in schools across the United States. However, critics of the approach argue that it is not appropriate for teaching children to read and that it can lead to reading difficulties and delays. Recently her theories and curriculum have been disproven, and she has since admitted that it is not as effective as the science of reading.

On the other hand, the science of reading approach is based on the latest research in cognitive psychology, neuroscience, and linguistics. It emphasizes the importance of explicit instruction in phonics, decoding, and other foundational reading skills.

In conclusion, Orton Gillingham is an instructional approach firmly grounded in the science of reading. It emphasizes the importance of explicit instruction in phonics, decoding, and other foundational reading skills and is designed to help students develop the language processes needed for reading and writing. 

Why We Follow the Neuroscience 

At The Learning Lab, we follow the science of reading approach. By following the neuroscience of reading, educators can help ensure all students have the tools they need to become successful readers. Following the neuroscience of reading means using research-based strategies and instructional methods that align with our current understanding of how the brain processes language and learns to read. 

To apply the neuroscience of reading in the classroom, teachers can use evidence-based instructional methods, such as explicit and systematic phonics instruction, direct instruction in vocabulary and comprehension strategies, and guided reading and writing activities. Multisensory instruction incorporating visual, auditory, and kinesthetic modalities can also effectively engage multiple brain areas and promote learning.

Following the neuroscience of reading also means recognizing the importance of individual differences in reading development, such as the presence of learning disabilities, the impact of environmental factors, and the role of language exposure and development. 

By considering each student’s unique needs and abilities, teachers can tailor their instruction to support their learning best.

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