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Reading Difficulties in Children

and the Orton-Gillingham Approach

reading difficulties

Reading Difficulties in Children

The path to reading for some children is not often an easy one. It is assumed that children will begin to read and spell naturally, though some children may persistently struggle with learning the process of how to read fluently. If intervention is not received, the child may continue to present with deficits within the areas of listening, reading, writing and speaking.

Teachers and parents will often recognize challenges with pre-reading skills in kindergarten, though some children may not demonstrate weaknesses with reading until after the second grade.

early indicators of reading difficulties:

      • Family history of dyslexia or reading difficulty 
      • Weakened phonemic awareness skills
      • Decreased skill blending sounds and reduced comprehension of rhymes
      • Difficulty with letter and sound recognition 
      • Letter reversals (b-d) and inversions (w-m)
      • Lack of interest or avoidance of reading 
      • Dysfluent speech
      • Articulation errors: substitutions, omissions, cluster reduction  
      • Word retrieval difficulties
      • Frequent spelling errors 
      • Omitting words when reading 
      • Decreased processing speed when verbally responding 
      • Inconsistent memory and recall  
      • Poor executive functioning skills 
      • Weak handwriting skills 
      • Reduced auditory and/or reading comprehension

later indicators of reading difficulties:

      • language processing difficulties
      • reading fluency
      • comprehension difficulties
      • handwriting
      • grammar
      • spelling

Additionally, older children may have progressed with reading but continue to demonstrate deficits with clearly expressing their thoughts and ideas, therefore writing, vocabulary, and conversational skills may continue to be weak even years after they have acquired adequate reading skills.


Orton-Gillingham Approach

What is Orton-Gillingham Approach to reading?

While there are numerous reading programs geared toward helping emergent readers as well as older children who are struggling using a more traditional approach to reading, the Orton-Gillingham Approach was established to help provide a more systematic approach to reading, specifically for children with dyslexia.

Who would benefit from using this approach?

It has been found that children with and without specific learning disabilities benefit from this approach in order to help them overcome their specific challenges.

How does the Orton-Gillingham Approach work?

The Orton-Gillingham approach to reading follows a specific format to help teach these language skills and patterns in a systematic way. Orton-Gillingham begins with teaching the individual sounds, and then focuses on building words. By doing so, the child visually sees the letters, hears the sounds, then writes the letters, thereby using a multisensory technique that includes these three sensory pathways, referred to as the “language triangle”.

Focus on the five critical areas of reading:

      1. Phonemic Awareness
      2. Phonics
      3. Fluency
      4. Vocabulary
      5. Comprehension

Multi-sensory Integration "Language Triangle"

      1. visual
      2. auditory
      3. kinesthetic

The Orton-Gillingham Approach utilizes all 3 pathways to more efficiently teach children the rules and sequence of reading.

The specific lessons are flexible based upon the child's level of functioning, but continue to build from simple-complex, as the children are taught the specific rules of language, such as spelling and decoding certain patterns in text. This ultimately helps to build upon their mastery and leads to automaticity when reading, since there is a continual review of previously learned material during the sessions, and the children cannot progress to the next level until they master certain lessons and drills.

Who provides treatment for my child?

Meghan Grant, MS, CCC-SLP/L is a BDI Speech Language Pathologist who specializes in the Orton-Gillingham Approach to reading. Schedule a free screening online or give us a call anytime at (708)478-1820 for more information on our reading difficulties intervention