What is dyslexia?
Dyslexia means “difficulty with language”. People with dyslexia have a greater than average difficulty learning to read, write, and spell.
The International Dyslexia Association uses the following definition for dyslexia:
“Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurological in origin. It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction. Secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede the growth of vocabulary and background knowledge.”
Dyslexia is neurological in origin, has nothing to do with intellectual ability. Most important, with intervention that has been scientifically proven through fact based research, improvement in reading and spelling is possible.
What is the Orton Gillingham approach?
Samuel Torrey Orton (1879–1948), a neuropsychiatrist and pathologist at Columbia University, who had extensively studied children with the kind of language processing difficulties now commonly associated with dyslexia He formulated a set of teaching principles and practices for such children.
Anna Gillingham (1878–1963) was an educator and psychologist at Teachers College, Columbia University. Working with Dr. Orton, she trained teachers and compiled and published instructional materials. Gillingham, along with Bessie Stillman first produced a teaching manual in 1936, which combined Orton’s teaching methods with her analysis of the structure of the language.
"Structured Literacy" is now the name this same approach is referred to by the International Dyslexia Association among others in the field of literacy.