Frequently Asked Questions


What will a Reading Specialist or Reading Tutor do with my child?

A good Reading Specialist will make a quick determination regarding what type of intervention is needed. For children with dyslexia or decoding difficulties, this will most likely involve an Orton-Gillingham-based program (see below). The Reading Specialist will determine at which level to begin and introduce your child to the various aspects of the program. These typically include:

  • Dictation (practice spelling dictated words).

  • Reading of word, phrase and sentence lists.

  • Writing sentences.

  • Reading from a leveled reader (a book with engaging stories using only words containing phonetic patterns that the child is familiar with).

What is Orton-Gillingham?

Orton and Gillingham were pioneering psychologists who first diagnosed, studied and developed treatment for dyslexia in the early 20th century. Orton-Gillingham refers to a particular approach to teaching children with dyslexia and reading difficulties related to decoding. There are several reading programs based on this methodology. Examples include:

The programs differ slightly, but all are research-based and proven highly effective at treating dyslexia and related reading disorders.

Orton-Gillingham approaches are multi-sensory, meaning they use a variety of sensory inputs to help children master language. Additionally, they are "part-to-whole," meaning children are taught individual phonemes (the smallest chunks of language, such as c, th, ea, etc.) and spelling rules one at a time, with lots of opportunity to practice, repetition and review.

How often will my child need to meet with his or her Reading Specialist or Reading Tutor?

Effective intervention requires significant practice and repetition. Meeting times vary based on the individual needs and areas of weakness. For some children, this means only once a week, but for others it means meeting 2-4 times per week. When scheduling and finances are prohibitive, a Reading Specialist may assign homework requiring practice with a parent or other skilled reader. The more practice your child is able to get, the more quickly he or she will advance.