Written by Lauren Richardson '16
Kim Grissom is one of Greengate School at Randolph’s Orton-Gillingham tutors, helping students develop the necessary reading and language skills to succeed in the classroom and beyond. Here, she answers some common questions about Greengate’s program and dyslexia.
What is your role at Greengate School at Randolph? How would you describe the Orton-Gillingham approach?
I am an Orton-Gillingham (OG) language therapist. I work with students both individually and in small groups for about an hour each day. The Orton-Gillingham approach is a direct, structured, multisensory method of teaching literacy to students with dyslexia or related learning differences. Multisensory teaching employs as many visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and tactile components as possible at the same time. Language elements that non-dyslexic learners acquire easily must be taught directly and systematically to students with dyslexia.
Each lesson is tailored to the individual student’s needs according to where they are in terms of reading, spelling, and writing skills. We have a specialized Greengate Scope and Sequence that we follow, teaching the simple to the complex, and the known to the unknown. We teach to proficiency; we make sure students fully understand each skill and concept. There is so much involved in each lesson that it is difficult to fully explain! I think one needs to see the lesson planning and implementation to fully appreciate the prescriptive and diagnostic components for each student.
What, in your experience, is the impact that Greengate School at Randolph has on students?
Greengate impacts students in many ways, not only academically, but also physically and emotionally. Over the years, I have been teaching at Greengate, I’ve seen students’ self-esteem improve exponentially; they no longer feel “different” or like they are not smart. Students develop a feeling of belonging and become much more social. Anxiety about school is decreased, and students come to enjoy and desire learning and reading. Students also start to realize their own potential and intelligence and become more motivated to pursue higher education. They become happy at school.
What is your guidance for parents who have a child with dyslexia or who think their child may have a learning difference?
Call Greengate School at Randolph. We have information about dyslexia and knowledge of the signs for dyslexia for children of different ages. We also provide dyslexia testing that is open to the public.
If a child is diagnosed with dyslexia, they should receive tutoring from a qualified, experienced Orton-Gillingham language therapist who teaches according to the OG approach and principles. It is critical that intervention begins as early as possible. This can prevent later academic struggles and other secondary effects of dyslexia.
Greengate School at Randolph is the area’s only nationally accredited school for children with dyslexia. Greengate Services, including testing, tutoring, and teacher training, are open and available to the public. Contact us or schedule a tour to learn more.