Is an Orton-Gillingham tutor at Symbols right for your child?

With so many different tutoring options, it can feel overwhelming to decide where to go to get your child help. At Symbols, we use the Orton-Gillingham approach, which we believe is the most effective way to tutor children with – and without – learning differences.

What makes Orton-Gillingham effective?

Orton-Gillingham is an approach that was initially intended to be used with people who have dyslexia, or who really struggle with reading and writing. If your child does have dyslexia, this approach is tailored specifically for them, and even if they have not been diagnosed, but seem to struggle, they will be taught with methods that can help even severe levels of difficulty.

At Symbols, we believe that OG is best when it is one-to-one. There are never group lessons at our facilities. When a session is individualized, it allows the tutor to focus on one child alone. This is ideal, because each child learns in different ways, and each child may be struggling in different areas. Working one-on-one, our tutors can use specific tactics that are personalized to the learning style a particular child has, and focus on areas where they are struggling the most.

OG is responsive, which means that the tutor is constantly monitoring the verbal and written progress of the student, as well as looking for any problems that may come up. After each lesson, the tutor emails the parent (and anybody else who wishes to receive lesson notes, for example, teachers) with what they went over that lesson, as well as any homework that was given. Additionally, five minutes are scheduled in between every lesson to allow the tutor to discuss with the parent any issues that arose or any progress made.

Direct instruction is an important part of Orton-Gillingham tutoring, because children with learning differences require predictable clarity. The student needs to approach each lesson understanding what is going to be learned, how they are going to be taught, and why it is important for them to learn it. Each lesson is planned in such a way that new material being taught relates to, and builds on, past material that was taught. It is cumulative in the sense that simple material is learned first, mastered, and regularly reviewed, and is built upon sequentially until more complex concepts are covered.

We Care About Your Child…

At Symbols, we require new students to attend lessons twice a week. This is for a couple of reasons.  First, a seven day gap between lessons (at a once-per-week frequency) is simply too long for a young student’s recall abilities. Also, it is very important that the child feels like they are succeeding, and sees that the efforts they are putting in are actually impacting their abilities. If they were to only come once a week, they may feel like they are doing all this extra work, and are still not able to keep up to their classmates, which could be detrimental to their self-esteem. As well, our tutors always prefer that students come in two times a week, because it supports the development of rapport with the student. The tutor-student relationship is very important, because the student needs to trust and feel comfortable with the tutor, which is the goal of every single tutor at Symbols.

In summary, if you feel that individualized lessons with tutors who really care about their students would be the best fit for your child, feel free to contact us today.

Rob Wahl