Research Topic: Orton-Gillingham based teaching

Orton-Gillingham (OG) is a generic term for a specific set of remedial teaching guidelines; this may also be called Multisensory Structured Language Teaching. The name comes from a teaching method created by Dr. Samuel T. Orton and teacher/psychologist Anna Gillingham in the 1930’s. The method combines the uses of multi-sensory teaching strategies with a system of categorizing and teaching letters and letter combinations that represent English sounds. This system is widely known and accepted, especially in the U.S.

Despite widespread acceptance and anecdotal support, claims of efficacy of OG methods have not been supported by research. A literature review published in 2006 (Ritchey & Goeke) reported mixed results and significant methodological flaws among only 12 studies then available. None of these studies qualified for inclusion in the 2010 U.S. Department of Education’s 2010 Intervention Report. A meta-analysis published in 2021 (Stevens, et al) again lamented the poor quality of available research, and reported that a lack of evidence of statistically significant improvements of foundational reading skills, vocabulary, or comprehension as a result of OG interventions.

Research Articles:

International Literacy Association. Dyslexia: A response to the International Dyslexia Association [Research Advisory Addendum].. . , (2016).

Patterson, Daniel. An Investigation of the Effectiveness of an Orton-Gillingham Based Reading Intervention in Kindergarten and First Grade Using a Fuzzy Regression Discontinuity Design. Doctoral Thesis, University of California Riverside. , (2016).

Ritchey, Kristen D., and Jennifer L. Goeke. Orton-Gillingham and Orton-Gillingham—Based Reading Instruction: A Review of the Literature. The Journal of Special Education. 40(3), pp. 171–183, (2006).

Stevens, Elizabeth A., Christy Austin, Clint Moore, Nancy Scammacca, Alexis N. Boucher, and Sharon Vaughn. Current State of the Evidence: Examining the Effects of Orton-Gillingham Reading Interventions for Students With or at Risk for Word-Level Reading Disabilities. Exceptional Children. First Published February 22,, (2021).

What Works Clearinghouse. Orton-Gillingham–based Strategies (Unbranded). WWC Intervention Report: Students with Learning Disabilities. July, (2010).


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