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Orton Gillingham Approach

VōWac®Publishing Company offers a decoding and spelling curriculum based on the Orton Gillingham (OG) approach.

OG was named after Samuel Torrey Orton (1879-1948) and Anna Gillingham (1878-1963). Orton and Gillingham were early pioneers in reading and language mastery.

Orton’s theories and educational ideas were brought to life through her detailed lessons. Gillingham compiled and published detailed instructional materials in the 1930s primarily to help with reading, writing and spelling.

The OG approach is language-based. The multi-sensory approach is structured, sequential, cumulative, cognitive, and flexible, using visual, auditory, tactile and kinesthetic teaching techniques.

VōWac® lessons involve the explicit and systematic teaching of language sounds (phonemes) and phonemic awareness. Difficulty with phonemes is at the heart of dyslexia. The teaching of the specific sounds of the language and the ability to divide words into syllables and their corresponding sounds is an integral part of VōWac® lessons. Teaching phonological awareness does not have to involve text, just the voice and the ear. The student should be able to distinguish and reproduce the basic sounds of the language.

VōWac® recognizes the individual needs of learners. While dyslexic students share similarities, there are always differences between students. Dyslexic students often have additional problems that complicate learning, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or dysgraphia. VoWac includes all the learning strands: seeing (visual), hearing (auditory), feeling (tactile), and awareness of motion (kinesthetic). For example, letters can be written in the air while the sound is said aloud, formed into their shapes with the body, or written with fingertips on a rough surface.

John Pfeifer VoWac

VōWac® lessons are diagnostic as the instructor continuously monitors the verbal, non-verbal, and written responses of the student in order to evaluate both the student’s challenges and progress. This information is used to plan and teach future lessons. The VōWac® lesson is prescriptive, designed to help resolve the student’s difficulties and build upon the student’s progress from the previous lesson. Lesson content includes explaining to students what is to be learned, why it is to be learned, and how it is to be learned.

The scope and sequence of VōWac® uses systematic phonics, stressing the ‘alphabetic principle' in the initial stages of reading development. The process or principle teaches that words are made up of individual speech sounds, and the letters of written words that represent those sounds.

VōWac® lessons include instruction of basic syllables and syllable division rules. Types of syllables include open, closed, vowel-consonant-e, vowel teams, r-controlled and consonant-le.

Lessons integrate processes that involve reading, spelling, and writing together. Students learn to associate the sounds with the letters (graphemes) that represent them. This is a two way street. Students must be able to read the letter and make the sound and hear the sound and then draw the letter. This skill is then extended into two letter blends, (digraphs) and then longer blends and syllables.

To read without comprehending is not to read at all, making comprehension of the written text quite critical. It is far too common for weak readers to trudge and drudge through text only to arrive at the end and have absolutely no idea what they just read.

Language patterns that determine word order and sentence structure and the meaning of words and phrases are taught, while common patterns are repeatedly used in written format. This promotes good writing practices while learning grammar and sentence structure.

Beginning in Level One, VōWac® also introduces some basic root words, prefixes and suffixes. Students learn how morphology can manipulate and change the meanings of words.

Skills and concepts are presented in an ordered fashion that indicates the relationship between the material currently being taught and material previously taught. Learners move from the simple, well-learned material to the more complex, only after mastering each step along the way.

VōWac® is cognitive, teaching the mechanics and construction of the English language. It teaches what, why and how words are pronounced and spelled a certain way. Students gain confidence as their abilities and knowledge improve.

What does specific research have to say about VōWac® and OG? The truth is there is not a lot of empirical research on the effectiveness of any specific reading program. What does exist clearly indicates superior results when the OG approach and a multi-sensory system are implemented. The effectiveness of VoWac rests its laurels on the OG approach. This is why over 95% of the schools that have tired VōWac® since our start in 1983, have failed to find another skills curriculum more effective. Experimenting with new teaching tools and ideas is acceptable; however keeping the core of your instruction under a proven system is essential.

When it comes to VōWac® being a pure OG system; we are not. The basic OG concepts are used throughout the lessons. Our goal is to “prevent” before remediation is needed. VōWac® is designed for use as an all-class model. However, it can easily be used in small group and one-on-one.

VōWac® Publishing Company recommends that teachers seek formal training in OG, BUT we are quick to remind untrained teachers they can easily use the OG approach without going through the expensive and timely process of an accredited OG training center.

VōWac®’s position is simple. Since the OG approach has proven to be successful when teaching dyslexic students, why wouldn’t a teacher want to implement the approach in an entire classroom or school? VōWac® offers that. Be sure to inquire about how your school can receive free workbooks. Our pilot program is available to any school that has not used VōWac®. We challenge schools to implement our skills curriculum for one year. Compare it to your existing curriculum or any other being considered. If you don’t get better results with VōWac® – you don’t buy it! Be sure to contact VōWac® for details.

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