To those of you who have tried (and some have succeeded) it seems like you need a secret handshake to get Orton-Gillingham training. After a quick search on the internet, it might appear that you need to fly to a destination that is most likely east of the Mississippi and requires at least two weeks of your time away from home. Then once you complete this two week training, you must dedicate the rest of your life to become ‘certified.’ But this is all an illusion, an illusion that really hampers the ability of very good people to get their knowledge and training to those who need it the most, the struggling kids."
Shattering the Illusion of Exclusivity
Like special education, which is not a place, Orton-Gillingham is not a program, it is an approach. It is not ‘owned’ by any organization or publishing company. It is a theory, a teaching philosophy. There are many ways to implement the approach and many authors have done a great job adapting it to meet the needs of even the most struggling readers. So, yes, there is more than one place and one way to get trained in the Orton-Gillingham approach and some of it can be done in the comfort of your pajamas while sitting at a computer.
There is no better time than right now to set the record straight. When groups like Decoding Dyslexia are making changes in their states and mandating training for teachers in the Orton-Gillingham approach, we need to be very clear about where they can get trained and what that training should look like.
But before we move on, you should know that this is not an article about what Orton-Gillingham is, but instead, where it can be had.
What should an Orton-Gillingham course include?
To be certified in Orton-Gillingham, the course should include the following components:
9. A supervised practicum
This training is a process is a journey. A philosophical shift in how teachers think about teaching reading. It takes time to adjust, re-adjust, learn and practice. Simply giving a teacher a week-long training in the approach and then a script will not do. We need to make sure the teachers and districts who become mandated (or strongly encouraged) to learn this approach know their options so they can complete the training. But it does not require extensive travel and time or a secret handshake.
Your Options for Training
Below is a list of organizations that offer training in the Orton-Gillingham approach (forgive me if failed to include an obvious resource). Some of them vary in how they label the approach they are using and some are online – they are all good, accessible and most importantly they are effective.
Now it's your turn? Does your child receive Orton-Gillingham? Has the school refused to provide it? Share with us in the comments?
The Oak Tree Academy mission is to improve the quality of life of people with language-based learning disabilities and their families by developing programs and disseminating knowledge based on current research.