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Reading for the first time! | Orton Gillingham

Orton-Gillingham from Harvey Lloyd on Vimeo.

We love them…those “aha moments!” That instant when a student gets it. Those moments that cause educators to let loose and dance a jig. Those times that cause parents to shout, “Hallelujah!” at the top of their lungs…maybe more appropriately called a “hallelujah” moment.

We had one of those monumental moments this past week, when one of our eighth-grade students read for the first time! His teacher, Mr. Timmins, called my office and asked if I could come down to his program to see something. I entered the classroom and was astonished by what I saw. There he was decoding and blending the individual sounds together to read and say a word. Truth be told, Mr. Timmins’ and my celebratory response startled the student. We assured him that he was amazing and encouraged him to continue reading. Then, I did what any proud parent or educator would do. I grabbed my cell phone and recorded this superstar reader at work!

The importance of literacy skills coupled with our passion for empowering students drives our reading instruction here at The LEAD Center. Mr. Timmins, as well as several of our other teachers, use the Orton-Gillingham (OG) approach to teach language arts to their students. OG is a multisensory, language-based approach that is highly structured and sequential, but flexible allowing teachers to focus on the learning needs of the individual student.

Hearing an eighth-grade student with limited expressive language begin reading words for the very first time is an incredible experience. Literacy creates opportunities for our students to experience life in an entirely new way. In this case the “aha moment” was made possible by the combination of a willing student, dedicated teacher, and an effective literacy approach. Reading has become a very real possibility for many of our students and I think that’s something to dance and shout about!

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