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Popular Reading Programs with Orton-Gillingham Roots

There are many reading intervention programs out there. This article provides a brief intro about some of the most common programs you may come across, including what we use: The Wilson Reading System.

Developed by Barbara Wilson, the Wilson Language Training Corporation offers 4 main programs for different student focus tiers. The Tier 1 Fundations program for K-3, The Tier 2 Fundations program for k-3, the Tier 2 Just Words program for grade 4-12, and the Tier 3 Wilson Reading System for grades 2-12. Wilson offers certifications and accreditation to partner schools. The Wilson Reading System is an O-G based program implemented in one on one tutoring and small group sessions. It is not a large group/classroom program. Wilson has the highest accreditation from the IDA and is a partner of the IMSLEC. The Wilson Reading System is taught with fidelity to our dyslexic students here at Juniper Street Tutoring. 

This program has been around since 1998, and was developed by Susan Barton. While you can become certified in Barton, it is well-known for its ability to be implemented by parents and guardians that do not not have training (lessons are scripted). The program is broken into 10 levels, with each level containing 10 to 15 lessons. Sessions are 45-60 minutes long, and the recommended frequency is 2 times per week. If a student with dyslexia doesn’t get distracted easily and moves at a fair pace, they can complete the entire Barton system in 2-3 years. Barton also has a kit specifically designed for remote learning. Barton is not IDA or IMSLEC accredited. 

The Spalding Method was developed by Romalda Spalding. She was born in 1899 and after finding that she needed further guidance to effectively teach students with dyslexia received training from Dr. Samuel T. Orton, for who the Orton-Gilligham approach is named. That said, the two methods are actually quite different. The program is also geared to classroom teaching. Unique to the Spalding Method, there is an at-your-pace online training course specifically for parents to educate their own children at home. Schools can also become accredited in the Spalding Method, and Spalding is IMSLEC accredited, but not IDA accredited. 

This reading program was developed by Beth Slingerland and made for the classroom environment. She studied for several years with Anna Gillingham to understand the O-G method, and wanted to create an approach specifically for the classroom. Beth Slingerland and Mary Helen Robinson opened the Hamlin Robinson School in 1983, which is still around today in Washington State. Slingerland is accredited by the International Multisensory Structured Language Education Council (IMSLEC) and certifies teachers. Slingerland is not IDA accredited. 

Unlike the other reading programs, Lindamood-Bell offers several different programs under their own umbrella. Lindamood-Bell also has their own learning centers and now a full hybrid academy. Lindamood-Bell offers professional development for teachers and partnerships with schools. They are also the only program that offers math. This program is not IDA or IMSLEC accredited. 


As you can see, there are many popular reading intervention programs, and even more not listed here. In general, the best programs are evidence based, not just research based. They are accredited by the International Dyslexia Association (IDA) and offer certifications to their tutors. Programs differ in group size, from just one student at a time to small group to the whole classroom. Picking the right program to train and become certified in or to use with your child is very difficult and requires extensive research. Your child's school and/or psychologist can also help point you in the right direction as you begin to search for a solid Tier 3 program.


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