Principles of Orton-Gillingham Instruction

The Orton-Gillingham principles are very specific and Delaware Valley Friends School addresses them in the following ways.

  • Multisensory – There are three primary pathways of learning: visual, auditory, and tactile/kinesthetic. The learner usually has a weakness in one or more of the pathways of learning. For this reason, instruction (at DVFS) is always provided in at least two and preferable three modalities of learning.
  • Structured – Literacy concepts, primarily reading and spelling, are introduced in a systematic and cumulative method which ensures that the students at DVFS develop a solid foundation of literacy skills. Repetition, reteaching, and assessments are used to ensure the successful acquisition of skills.
  • Direct instruction – Literacy concepts are directly taught, modeled and practiced in a very structured lesson. The DVFS teacher uses this structured lesson to target areas of weakness and to maximize the effectiveness of the instruction.
  • Diagnostic teaching – Dyslexic students can have a wide range of deficits and they respond differently to instruction. The teacher is trained to assess students' performance and to use the information to adjust instruction to ensure that the instruction meets the needs of the students.

Orton-Gillingham Instructional Model

  • Decoding and encoding skills – Intervening at the student's instructional level with an emphasis on age appropriate decoding and encoding practices
  • Morphology and word knowledge inquiry – Studying morphemic units and their derivative to improve students' vocabulary, reading and spelling.
  • Comprehension and study skills – Practicing systematic methods for building comprehension and organizing information for easy study and retrieval.
  • Writing skills – embedding the writing of sentences, paragraphs, and longer text into comprehension and study skill activities


Delaware Valley Friends School welcomes students in grades 3 - 12 with learning differences, particularly in reading (dyslexia), writing (dysgraphia), math (dyscalculia), memory (long-term and working), processing speed, ADHD and executive functioning challenges.

Delaware Valley Friends School
19 E. Central Avenue, Paoli, Pennsylvania 19301
Phone: 610.640.4150
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