This is the second article in the series, "Empowering Writers with Dyslexia." If you missed the first one, you can read it here: Empowering Writers with Dyslexia.
Do you know what the "gold standard" is when it comes to teaching students with dyslexia how to read? Although students have different learning disabilities, teachers and parents can still help students to become successful readers and writers through unique strategies.
The Orton-Gillingham Approach
The Orton-Gillingham Approach is widely considered as the top strategy for teaching individuals with dyslexia to read. Developed in the 1930s, Orton-Gillingham Language Training was the first instructional strategy that successfully taught individuals with dyslexia (which was called word blindness back then) to read.
Here is how the essential elements of the Orton-Gillingham Approach connect with Empowering Writers' methodology.
Our Approach is Multisensory
The Orton-Gillingham approach is multi-sensory. Over and over again, research has confirmed that the human brain has evolved to learn and grow in a multi-sensory environment. Thus, we learn most effectively when instruction engages multiple senses. The Orton-Gillingham Approach taps into the auditory, visual, and kinesthetic pathways to learning.
The Empowering Writers' methodology does much the same.
How do we do it?
Using consistent vocabulary, teachers can:
Begin by introducing and clearly defining each specific writing skill
Identify main ideas using detail-generating questions, or creating word referents.
Model the skill and articulates the thought process of an author by speaking aloud, and incorporating student feedback to create sentences or paragraphs.
Examples You Can Use in Your Classroom
To help understand how we've drawn parallels between our approach and the Orton-Gillingham Approach within the Empowering Writers curriculum, below, you will find a few scripted modeling lessons that illustrate how this step stimulates auditory learning.
After students are familiar with the similar organizational frameworks of informational and opinion writing, they are ready for cut and paste activities.
Projecting student activity sheets or charting the ideas generated by the class provides a bridge to visual learning. These lessons focus on the foundational skills for writing and tap into the auditory, visual, and kinesthetic modalities, as linked above. After students have been adequately prepared, learning is then cemented with the kinesthetic act using the keyboard or cursive handwriting to write independently.