When kindergarten students return home from a day of learning at Graland, they might tell you about how they discovered a new letter or sound at school. What they might not know is that they learned this new and exciting skill through an innovative phonics approach known as Orton-Gillingham.
According to the Institute for Multi-Sensory Education, Orton-Gillingham is “an explicit, sequential, systematic, and multi-sensory approach used to teach literacy.” Known among educators as “a multi-sensory approach that is proven to teach reading skills more effectively,” this research-based program “breaks reading and writing into smaller skills involving letters and sounds, then builds on these skills over time.”
For Graland kindergarten teacher Liza Baker, Orton-Gillingham has proven effective for her students time and time again. For this reason, on a daily basis, Mrs. Baker implements Orton-Gillingham practices into her lessons and routines.
“In kindergarten, we use Orton-Gillingham for teaching phonics, phonemic awareness, sight words, and math.” Mrs. Baker shared. “The reason why this approach is so successful is that it gives the students the chance to actually interact with what they are learning through visuals, audio, and touch.”
By bringing the Orton-Gillingham method into her classroom, Mrs. Baker has made traditional subjects more inclusive for all types of learners. “Because of its multi-sensory approach, Orton-Gillingham allows for all types of learners to better access the information being taught,” Mrs. Baker said. “The goal of this approach is to pull the learning off paper to create a hands-on experience for an activity that is typically not.”
Ultimately, Mrs. Baker has noticed that utilizing Orton-Gillingham has helped her students to better retain information by bringing fun back to learning.
“Students think learning is fun. Most of the time, they don’t even realize that they are learning something new until suddenly, they can utilize that knowledge in their reading, spelling, and math. I have found that as a whole, my students benefit from the multi-sensory approach in their ability to recall their learning,” Mrs. Baker said.
Graland Country Day School is a private school in Denver, Colorado, serving students in preschool, kindergarten, elementary, and middle school. Founded in Denver in 1924, Graland incorporates a rich, experiential learning approach in a traditional classroom setting, emphasizing the development of globally and socially conscious leaders who excel academically.