Our brains organize in the womb, and studies show our brains will organize differently based upon genetics. Studies show that the left-side of the brain is more efficient at the task of reading (first slide). Dyslexic brains organize differently. 80% of students with an IEP for reading have undiagnosed dyslexia (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2005). When a child with dyslexia begins learning to read, they begin using areas on the right side of the brain (second picture). Dyslexia tutoring will teach them to use the more efficient left-side of the brain when reading. Most schools do not recognize dyslexia, and most do not deliver the correct reading programs to overcome it. This is why many children never achieve grade level reading despite years in special education.
Schools will tell you that your child will outgrow their reading struggles, spelling isn’t important anymore, or “they will be just fine, they are only a little behind.” However science and years of research has proven this to not be true. Most children with undiagnosed dyslexia never grow beyond a sixth grade reading level. Many undiagnosed dyslexic children develop behavior problems because they cannot excel in the school environment. Anxiety, poor attention and oppositional behaviors are common among undiagnosed dyslexic students.
Orton-Gillingham programs allow most dyslexic children to achieve grade-level reading in 2-3 years if delivered one-on-one, two-to-three times a week. Very few schools use Orton-Gilingham curriculums in special education, and this puts kids who struggle with reading at a tremendous disadvantage. Dyslexia is trouble with reading, spelling and writing DESPITE average or above average intelligence and good instruction. A curriculum has to be administrered to engage the left side of the reading brain, and this takes a well-delivered, intense Orton-Gillingham based curriculum.
The graphics of the reading brain above were developed to illustrate the concepts described in Sally Shaywitz’s book “Overcoming Dyslexia.” In the book, Shaywitz explains which parts of the brain are activated in the non-dyslexic brain while reading, and which parts of the brain are activated when someone with dyslexia reads. What NIH researchers have concluded, is that the dyslexic brain can be trained to use the more efficient reading centers on the left-side of the brain with Structured Literacy Methods based off Orton and Gillingham’s theories from the 1940s.
Orton-Gillingham is a reading approach developed in the 1940s to remediate dyslexia. It uses the theories of Dr. Samuel Orton, a neuroscientist at the University of Iowa, who studied stroke victims who lost the ability to read, and then intelligent children who couldn’t master the ability to read.
He combined his science with the linguistic knowledge of Anna Gillingham. The Orton-Gillingham approach has been studied for 70 years, and has come under much scrutiny despite its success with dyslexic students. Now with fMRI technology, dyslexia research scientists and dyslexia advocates hope to dispel the controversy. Orton’s methods and approach are shown to activate the regions in the brain that are necessary for reading, and that the dyslexic brain has shown to not utilize prior to this instruction.
If you would like to learn more, call Aspire Academy today. We have trained and certified tutors who can deliver Orton-Gillingham programs with fidelity. Our students have tremendous results, and we will provide parent references.