Orton-Gillingham Tutoring

Steps Involved in Orton-Gillingham Tutoring

Step 1: Intake Meeting


First, we meet with parents (and potentially other key players, such as learning specialists and teachers) to answer the following questions:

  1. What challenges is the student currently exhibiting?

  2. When did these challenges start to become obvious or concerning?

  3. What assessments have been done to date? (past and most recent)

  4. What were the general findings of the assessments? Diagnoses such as dyslexia, dysgraphia, ADHD, executive dysfunction, etc.?

  5. What services, in and out of school, have been provided and for how long? These could include pull-out sessions, small groups, tutoring, mental health supports, etc.

  6. Does the student have an IEP or 504 plan?


Step 2: Assessment


  • After the initial intake meeting, we gather and review all previously collected data, including neuropsychological and educational testing reports, school reports, IEPs/504 plans, and notes from current and previous service providers.

  • Following a thorough review of the reports and data provided, we determine the appropriate assessments the student will complete to fill in any gaps in the data provided and attain a current picture of the child’s strengths and weaknesses. This information will provide a baseline from which we can assess progress at set times during the treatment process.

  • Next, we conduct screening assessments with the student to collect data on their current levels of performance. Most commonly we assess:

    • Phonological awareness- understanding of the sounds and syllables that make up words (90 minutes)

    • Phoneme-grapheme correspondence-  ability to match sounds to letters (falls within the assessment of phonological assessment or 5-10 minutes if assessed alone)

    • Decoding- reading (being able to sound out real and nonsense words and read irregular/sight words) (45-60 minutes)

    • Encoding- spelling (including regular and irregular (sight) words) (30-60 minutes)

    • Fluency- ability to read with speed, accuracy, and automatic word recognition (15 minutes)

      • Optional (these fall outside the focus of the O-G approach, but may be addressed during treatment services):

    • Prosody- the rhythm, stress, and intonation used while reading (falls within fluency assessment)

    • Comprehension- ability to understand what was read (30 minutes)

  • Following the completion of the assessments, we provide parents with summary reports of the baseline data collected in each of the assessments as well as recommended frequency of sessions. Parents may opt to meet with the assessor to gain further understanding of the findings for an additional fee.


Step 3: Orton-Gillingham Tutoring


Following the intake and assessment process, we meet with the student regularly. The number of sessions per week is based on the assessment findings. Students progress at varying speeds, but the more often sessions are held, the higher likelihood of faster progress.


In the initial session, the tutor spends time getting to know the student to begin the process of building a trusting relationship and determine ways to personalize activities during sessions. 


Tutoring follows a structured and sequential program and uses direct, explicit, and multisensory methods to teach reading (including phonological awareness and fluency) and spelling. Sessions involve the use of manipulatives, various writing instruments (touch screens recommended, as well as whiteboards, markers, and even paint), and movement. 


Feedback is provided in writing following every session.


Step 4: Assessment of Progress


Data on phonological awareness, reading, and spelling is collected in every Orton-Gillingham lesson (some lessons take more than one session) and progression to the next lesson will not occur until the student demonstrates 90% accuracy on the skills that are taught. Overall progress assessments on reading and spelling may be performed every 6-12 months using assessment tools similar to the ones used in the initial assessments.

Want to discuss a plan for you? 

Using the buttons below, you can either schedule a consult or sign-up for services. A team member will get back to you within 2 business days.

Frequently asked questions

How long does it take for Orton-Gillingham to work?

This program can be completed in as little as 6 months, and it creates a very firm foundation on which to build the other reading skills. Make sure your tutor or reading specialist can tell you if your child is ready to begin an Orton-Gillingham based program or not.

How often should you do Orton-Gillingham?

Students can need from 2 to 4 sessions per week, depending on how severe the reading deficit. The usual number is 2 sessions per week. (One session per week is for maintenance only.)

What are Orton-Gillingham strategies?

Orton–Gillingham is a structured literacy approach. It introduced the idea of breaking reading and spelling down into smaller skills involving letters and sounds, and then building on these skills over time.

Is Orton-Gillingham direct instruction?

Direct instruction and Orton-Gillingham reading methodologies: effectiveness of increasing reading achievement of elementary school students with learning disabilities. The Orton-Gillingham-based reading pedagogy has been used in the United States since the 1930's to teach students with learning disabilities.