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  • Writer's pictureJanay Neufeld

Looking To Find A 1:1 Orton Gillingham Reading Tutor?

Is your child struggling with reading, writing, or spelling? If so, it can be a very frustrating and challenging experience to navigate for both the child and parent.

For a child, reading is an essential building block to all learning, and when they struggle with reading, it can leave them feeling ashamed, embarrassed, and discouraged.

Because you are here reading this blog, I know you are a wonderful parent invested in your child's education and well-being! As parents, it can be heartbreaking to see your child struggle. You may be feeling helpless and defeated as well.

However, I also know you may feel emotionally drained over trying to troubleshoot your child's reading struggles, worried about your child's future, and concerned that their reading difficulties may hold them back during their education and overall life.

Rest assured that effective strategies and resources are available to help your children overcome their reading challenges and succeed in reading and life!

Are you looking for a private tutor that uses the Orton-Gillingham approach? Or you may have been searching for a reading tutor and landed on this page, not even seeking Orton Gillingham or any specific method.

Or maybe you know your child is struggling, you have a gut feeling that you need to do something to help them, and you are in the research phase, trying to figure out what to do.

Well, either way, you are in the right place!

In this blog, I will explain the Orton Gillingham approach, why hiring an Orton Gillingham tutor is a good idea, and what to expect during an Orton Gillingham tutoring session.

What is Orton-Gillingham?

The Orton Gillingham website defines Orton Gillingham by saying, "In the 1930s, neuropsychiatrist and pathologist Dr. Samuel T. Orton and educator, psychologist Anna Gillingham developed the Orton-Gillingham approach to reading instruction for students with "word-blindness," which would later become known as dyslexia. Their approach combined direct, multi-sensory teaching strategies paired with systematic, sequential lessons focused on phonics. Today, the Orton-Gillingham approach is used worldwide to help students at all levels learn to read."

The Orton Gillingham program is research-based (follows the science of reading), walks students through literacy skills step-by-step, with direct, explicit instruction, and is a multi-sensory approach to teaching literacy skills. Therefore, all learning taps into the multi-sensory components of hearing, sight, touch, and movement.

The program is best suited for children in kindergarten through second grade or those in third grade and beyond struggling with word recognition skills.

Why Hiring An Orton Gillingham Tutor is a Good Idea

As an educator with ten years of teaching experience and an online reading specialist, it is the approach I choose to use with several of my students because it's a highly successful teaching approach for literacy instruction. Orton Gillingham is built on decades of research and extensive experience working with children who experienced dyslexia.

If you notice any areas of concern in your child's reading, writing, or spelling, Orton-Gillingham is a proven and highly effective teaching method for individuals of all skills (including those with special needs) and can drastically help students catch up in their reading and beyond.

For example, a study by River Strategies in 2017 titled, An Empirical First Look at the Effectiveness of IMSE's Orton-Gillingham Approach concluded the following: " suggests that students instructed with IMSE's OG grow beyond the normal expectations (despite disabilities or other struggles they may have), which means they are not just pacing average students, they are catching up."

Janay Neufeld of My Online Reading Tutor is an Orton Gillingham trained reading tutor
Janay Neufeld of My Online Reading Tutor is an Orton Gillingham-trained reading tutor. Click the button below to sign up for a FREE Reading Assessment and start the tutoring process today!

Other vital components of the Orton-Gillingham instructional method that make it highly effective:

Janay Neufeld at My Online Reading Tutor describes vital components of Orton Gillinham that make it so highly effective

  1. Multisensory Instruction: Each lesson is based on the critical pathways to the brain: auditory, kinesthetic, and visual modalities.

  2. Structured and Sequential: OG incorporates a structured, phonetic, and sequential teaching approach. A structured and sequential program is essential because reading is systematic and reading concepts are taught in a logical order that builds off of one another, making it practical for all students. Orton-Gillingham starts at the primary level covering the alphabetic principle (single sounds and letters), and progresses up to more complex skills such as spelling and morphology (the study of the forms of words).

  3. Incremental: Because reading is systematic, building each lesson off one another is essential. Often, children miss skills taught in the classroom and quickly fall behind because they miss vital components that must be mastered to excel in their reading.

  4. Cumulative: The program gives the child a chance to review content that was previously taught constantly. Avoiding situations like the one above, where a classroom teacher must follow a schedule and move on before each student masters all skills.

  5. Individualized: The program allows the unique needs of each student to be met.

  6. Breaks Down English Language Skills: Orton-Gillingham puts a big emphasis on phonology (speech sounds), orthography (print), morphology (structure of words), semantics (meaning of words), syntax (well-formed sentences), and discourse organization (connecting meaning to the text/organizing knowledge or ideas).

  7. Explicit: Students are presented with exactly what they need to know. Lessons are laid out and straightforward for them to follow.

What To Expect During An Orton Gillingham Tutoring Session

I always start the process with an assessment to find the learner's present skill level. The assessment results allow me to meet a student's individual needs, help me create their learning plan, and determine the number of sessions they might need per week. Since Orton-Gillingham includes structured literacy, I can follow the sequential, step-by-step teaching approach to catch them up in their reading, meeting them exactly where they are.

A classroom teacher would implement whole class or small group instruction, but as a private reading tutor, I can provide one-on-one teaching sessions. One-on-one is much more effective in making progress quickly by meeting the child's needs, assessing their understanding daily, and planning future lessons. Many of my students say they feel relieved working with me one-on-one because they don't have to worry about getting anything wrong, embarrassed for being behind or being made fun of in the classroom setting. It's a safe place for children to learn, grow, make mistakes, ask questions, and excel.

Virtual tutoring allows me to meet with children worldwide, and the instruction is just as effective as in person! Students are engaged in the lesson through the visual, auditory, and kinesthetic elements packed into the given session.

The Orton-Gillingham methodology is a multisensory approach to learning, so you can expect to see a lot of hands-on learning and interaction during a tutoring session. Students will have many visual cues, kinesthetic movements, and audio examples to help the content stick!

There are five main parts to an Orgon-Gillingham lesson:

1. The Three-Part Drill: This part of the lesson allows the child to review all phonetic concepts that have been taught prior through visual, auditory, and kinesthetic modalities. The three-part drill portion also includes a blending or vowel-intensive component where students get intense hands-on practice with short vowel sounds. Teaching these sound/symbol relationships gives students a strong foundation in understanding the English language, which is necessary for becoming a skilled and confident reader and writer. The three-part drill always comes before introducing a new phoneme or rule to the student.

Students review the sounds of their cards, spell the sounds (in sand or other tactile means), and blend the sounds together to make words on the blending board. Photo borrowed from the Institute of Multisensory Education-where I was trained in OG.

2. Teaching a New Concept: This part of the lesson is a multisensory experience where the student will learn a new phoneme (sound), syllable type, or rule. The tutor will use multisensory activities to help the concept “stick.” Therefore, the student will see it (visual), hear it (auditory), and move their body (kinesthetic). The teacher will show an object or picture to discuss prior knowledge and help the child make connections. This part of the lesson often includes brainstorming, letter formation (if they need it), and dictating the targeted sound.

This is one tool I use with my student for finger-tapping. A student lies their hand on top of the hand and taps the first sound (green) with their pinky, the second sound on the yellow, and the third on the green. It helps them to count and segment the number of sounds.

3. Red Words: Red words are sight words that do not follow the basic phonics patterns and rules. They are irregular words that a child must learn to map in their brain orthographically. Red words can also include high-frequency phonetic words that a child should be able to sound out or blend but has patterns that still need to be taught. For example, the word said is always considered red because the -ai makes an unusual sound. However, the word for is a red word for students at first because it is an important word that students must recognize long before they learn that -or is an r-controlled sound. Once they understand the skill or rule presented in a word, it can become a green word (therefore, the student can sound out the word phonetically).

4. Syllabication: This part of the lesson teaches children concrete skills for breaking down words and blending them. It also allows for time to improve vocabulary and grasp the deeper meaning of words. It also provides time to revisit specific skills for a child needing it (reversals, penmanship, vowel patterns (open, closed, bossy r, magic e, and more), red words, etc.)

Students learn an effective tool for breaking down unknown words!

5. Language Comprehension: In this part of the lesson, we get to take all we have learned and work through decodable readers and exposure to other literature to test out their new skills. Once the child begins to read, this part of the lesson focuses on fluency, vocabulary building, and background knowledge to comprehend what they have read.

Each lesson is tied to a IMSE decodable reader that help the child practice previous learned skill, practice decoding, comprehension, and fluency.


Orton-Gillingham tutoring can be an excellent option for those seeking tutoring sessions that meet students' needs while being effective, engaging, and fun. OG is effective for all students because of its multisensory nature. Students will partake in hands-on lessons, review previously learned concepts, and be introduced to new everyday literacy tasks in an explicit, sequential manner that leads them up the ladder to become skilled readers.

About The Author

Janay Neufeld is an online reading specialist and confidence coach for kids. Her unique approach can help children worldwide increase their confidence and reading skills with positive mindset training, helping them reach their full potential!

She has ten years of experience helping children feel like skilled, confident readers. She has her multiple-subject teaching credential, she is Orton Gillingham trained through the Institute for Multisensory Education, and she has a Masters Degree in Education. She is also certified as a life coach for kids through Adventures in Wisdom.

Click the button below to sign up for a FREE Reading Assessment and find out if tutoring might be a great fit for your child!

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