Humans are not hardwired for reading the same way we are for speaking and listening. Learning to read is hard work.
For some students, the typical reading (decoding) and writing (encoding) instruction provided in schools is not enough. Struggling readers often need multi sensory and multi modality instruction- visual, tactile and kinesthetic methods of teaching and learning. In other words, they need to see, hear, feel and move when learning. Traditional instruction provided in schools works well for a good percentage of students, but for those who struggle, too many schools don’t know what to do for these students to improve their skills and end up simply providing the same type of instruction in a smaller group setting. By third grade, students are no longer learning to read, they are reading to learn. For a struggling reader, things continue to get more difficult and the gap gets wider, which often negatively impacts their academics, their self-esteem, and their feelings about school in general.
Literacy instruction sessions will target the following key components of reading, writing and spelling skills:
Phonological/phonemic awareness skills – the ability to hear and manipulate individual sounds in words
Sound symbol correspondence – also known as the alphabetic principle (the idea that each sound in a word is represented by a symbol. Some words are easy to sound out because each sound is represented by only one letter like in b-a-t. Some words contain more advanced code, with one sound being represented by 2 or 3 sounds like in r-oa-d or v-iew
Reading Fluency – Some readers are able to sound words out to decode, but are not able to do so quickly and accurately. It takes such effort, that they often do not comprehend what they actually read. Good readers are able to read quickly and accurately so that it becomes automatic. This way, they can focus on understanding what they read and comprehend.
Comprehension – This is whole purpose of reading. Good readers make meaning and gain info from what they read and are able to connect what they read to their own experiences and lives. This, however, is the end goal, not the beginning. If a student hasn’t mastered decoding and reading fluently, or if a student has difficulty with listening comprehension- this last step in the reading process may be very difficult. However in most schools, this is the focus of all reading instruction. For many who struggle with reading in school, they often get more instruction on comprehension instead of receiving the extra and individual instruction on the foundational reading skills of phonemic awareness, sound symbol correspondence, fluency and vocabulary.
The Orton-Gillingham Approach was developed by neurologist Dr. Samuel T. Orton and psychologist Anna Gillingham in the 1930’s to help students with dyslexia improve reading, spelling and writing. The approach is a systematic and multi-sensory approach to reading and writing instruction. It is individualized to meet the needs of each learner, but the methods can be applied to small and large groups as well. While it was initially developed for dyslexic students, all students can benefit and improve reading, writing and spelling skills using this evidence based approach.
As a speech language pathologist, Jeannine draws from her knowledge of how our brains work to process and produce language and sounds for the purposes of listening, speaking, reading and writing, as well as other key resources to provide individualized instruction for struggling readers, spellers and writers. She completed 30 hours of Orton-Gillingham training and employs the Orton-Gillingham approach in addition to other multi-sensory tools and resources to improve reading, spelling and writing skills at all levels.
A literacy assessment will include a 60 minute session, for a rate of $150. During this session, the clinician will gather background information and conduct a series of assessments to determine your child’s areas of need in the area of literacy skills.
Additional 40 minute literacy instruction sessions will be provided at a rate of $65.