Orton-Gillingham techniques have been in use since the 1930’s and have been proven with thousands of students around the world. These techniques are taught in only a very small number of public school systems today, and then only within special education classes. An intensive, sequential phonics-based system teaches the basics of word formation before people learn–visual, auditory and kinesthetic. The Orton Gillingham software includes a method that reaches to a student’s strength while seeking to improve his or her weaknesses.
The Language Tune-Up Kit (LTK) is an Orton Gillingham software that has a curriculum that includes eight essential instructional elements needed to successfully teach students. The elements are:
- Multisensory: Instruction involves immediate, intensive, and continuous interaction between what the student is seeing, hearing, and feeling in the speech mechanisms and the writing hand. All the language elements taught are reinforced by having the student listen, speak, read and write. In LTK the student uses a mouse, microphone and keyboard to learn newly taught phonograms and to spell and write letters, words, and sounds from dictation.
- Alphabetic/Phonetic: Sound-symbol associations along with linguistic rules and generalizations are introduced in a linguistically logical, understandable order. The essence of the phonetic approach is to make letter-to-sound correlations as simple and comprehensive as possible.
- Synthetic/Analytic: The student is taught how to blend sounds together. When using LTK, the student hears the sounds pronounced while seeing the letters move together to make familiar words. The Orton Gillingham software teaches the student how to segment words into separate speech sounds before beginning to spell. Drills which require placing the sound and filling in the blanks allows the student apply the process to many words.
- Structured: The student learns one sound association, linguistic rule, or nonphonetic word and practices using it with previously taught material before learning the next language concept. In LTK, each new piece of the language taught is specifically reviewed multiple times through drills and spelling practice. If confusions occur later in another context, additional review is provided. LTK divides the linguistic rules into separate lesson activities and provides practice and correction routines for each lesson activity.
- Sequenced: Linguistic concepts are taught in a sequence which will minimize potentially confusing elements. The LTK curriculum is organized to separate commonly confused linguistic elements. The logic and order of LTK’s curriculum was determined by Orton-Gilligham experts who based their training in the Orton-Gillingham method. Their combined experience exceeds over 50 years in using this method to teach students of all ages and to train teachers.
- Cumulative: The student should be asked to use each newly introduced element while reinforcing others that have been taught. LTK’s quizzes test all of the linguistic information previously taught. Student scores typically indicate 90 to 100 percent mastery within the quizzes. There are multiple review lessons interspersed throughout LTK to provide practice and reinforcement.
- Repetitive: The concepts are repeated until the student gains mastery. The program provides 10 repetitions within each lesson activity and measures student mastery. If a mastery level of 80 percent is achieved, the student automatically progresses to the next lesson activity. If not achieved, additional sets of repetitions are provided and achievement of 80 percent mastery is again determined.
- Cognitive: The student should understand the “linguistic logic” underlying word formations and patterns and be able to demonstrate that understanding while writing words. During the introductory and review portions of the lessons, LTK explains rules and generalizations both verbally and with on-screen demonstrations.