• Multisensory Instruction: Teaching includes seeing (visual), hearing (auditory), doing (kinesthetic) and feeling (tactile). Intergrading all these modalities at the same time improves memory, language learning and focus.
• Systematic and Cumulative: Instruction must follow the logical order of the language. The sequence must start with the easiest concepts and progress methodically to the most difficult material. Each step must be based on steps already learned and practiced to automaticity moving as quickly as possible and as slowly as necessary to master the basic elements.
• Direct Instruction: Reading, spelling and writing skills are directly taught and modeled by the teacher with continuous student-teacher interaction.
• Diagnostic Teaching: Based on continuous assessment of individual’s skills that were directly taught, teachers address student errors and create lesson plans to ensure mastery before progressing to the next step.
• Synthetic and Analytic Instruction: Synthetic instruction (i.e., decoding) teaches how parts of the language work together to form a whole and Analytic instruction (i.e., encoding) presents the whole and teaches how language can be broken down into parts.  This “thinking” approach discourages guessing or skipping words and reveals the predictability (85%) of the English language through rules and generalizations which enables mastery over language learning.
• Comprehensive and Inclusive: From the smallest unit- sounds (phonemes) to the social uses of language (pragmatics), all levels of language are addressed.

Educational Approach


Patricia Dietrick, WDP


​​ The scientifically based educational approach proven to be effective for over 50 years is the Orton-Gillingham Approach. The Orton-Gillingham approach is based on the works of Dr. Samuel Orton (1878- 1948), a professor of neuropsychiatry and neuropathology at the Neurological Institute of Columbia University and Anna Gillingham (1878- 1964), an educator and psychologist. Their association created an approach to teaching language that included the following principles:

According to new research findings, this intensive, phonetic approach has been extended and updated throughout the years.