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Empowering Literacy: Leigh Harter Speech Services’ Commitment to Education and the Orton-Gillingham Approach

One of the main core values at Leigh Harter Speech Services is Education. We believe in the power of knowledge. This value prompts us to continuously seek understanding, encouraging thorough research, exploring new methodologies, fostering a commitment to lifelong learning. Recently, our commitment to learning led us to pursue and secure the respectable GoingPRO Grant, presented by the GoingPro Talent Fund—an initiative of Michigan Works. With this grant, the clinic was able to obtain specialized training for one of its Speech Language Pathologists and is now able to offer Orton-Gillingham (O-G) tutoring led by a qualified speech therapist.

The support that we received from Michigan Works has greatly enhanced our ability to assist individuals facing dyslexia and related learning challenges. The Orton-Gillingham program, renowned for its multi-sensory approach, aims to mitigate reading difficulties by engaging visual, auditory, tactile, and kinesthetic senses. By fostering connections with students, this method enhances their proficiency in reading, writing, and spelling. While traditionally used with children, the effectiveness of this approach extends to adults as well.

The Orton-Gillingham (O-G) approach is a structured, multi-sensory method designed to teach individuals, particularly those with dyslexia or language-based learning disabilities, how to read, write, and spell. Developed by Dr. Samuel Orton and Anna Gillingham, this approach draws from decades of research and educational practice. Key characteristics of the Orton-Gillingham approach include:

  1. Multi-sensory Techniques: Engages various senses to enhance learning and memory retention.
  2. Systematic and Sequential Instruction: Lessons follow a specific order, building upon previously learned material.
  3. Individualized Instruction: Tailored to meet the unique needs and learning styles of each student.
  4. Explicit Instruction: Concepts are taught directly and clearly, with explanations and demonstrations provided.
  5. Diagnostic Teaching: Progress is continuously assessed and instruction is adjusted based on individual strengths and needs.
  6. Structured Language Approach: Language is broken down into its smallest components and taught explicitly.
  7. Emphasis on Mastery: Students practice skills until mastery is achieved, establishing a solid foundation for future learning.

The Orton-Gillingham approach aims to empower students with the skills and strategies needed for proficient reading, writing, and spelling. Catering to diverse age groups, O-G tutoring can begin as soon as a child shows interest in letter exploration. Lessons typically occur in a 1:1 or small group setting, emphasizing systematic learning and integrating various sensory modalities to provide a reliable pathway to literacy.

The Hartland community families can greatly benefit from the Orton-Gillingham tutoring provided by Leigh Harter Speech Services. Individuals, both children and adults, who face challenges in reading, writing, and spelling due to dyslexia or other language-based learning disabilities, can find structured and effective support for literacy development. Introducing O-G tutoring from a certified instructor and speech-language pathologist represents Leigh Harter Speech Services’ commitment to providing convenient access to specialized resources and care within the Hartland community.

Jennifer Klavitter

Office and Operations Manager

Leigh Harter Speech Services