Monday, February 12, 2018

My Orton-Gillingham Based Classroom

Hi there! It has been far too long since I wrote a blog post! Life has been quite busy with moving to a new state, planning a wedding, and going back into the classroom full time!

This year I am lucky enough to have a small class size full of amazing students diagnosed with Dyslexia in grades second and third. Therefore, everything I do, for eight hours a day, is based on the Orton-Gillingham Approach! I teach all subjects and incorporate many multi-sensory techniques. In this post I am going to take you on a tour of my classroom and include some of my favorite Orton-Gillingham based activities!

That is what my classroom looked like at the beginning of the year! Below is my small group area where I conduct all of my small group Orton-Gillingham lessons.

This is my small group area where I conduct my Orton-Gillingham lessons every morning. As you can see I have many posters for the students to reference during lessons and through out the school day. 

Displaying long vowel sounds that my students have learned in our Orton-Gillingham lessons helps them generalize the skills learned for reading and spelling through out the school day!

 Here we are learning about the ti/ger syllable division. Notecards are a must in your supply cart!   

File folder sorts are so easy to prep and pull out for an Orton-Gillingham lesson! I use these often in my classroom!
I created a Red Words (non-phonetic words) bulletin board to help my students with those tricky words that you just can't sound out!

I hope you gathered some ideas for your own classroom! Stay tuned for more as I capture more of my classroom through out this school year! Many of the activities seen in this blog post are available at Check it out!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

5 Ways to Use the Orton-Gillingham Approach in the Classroom

Hi there! As you know I am a Dyslexia Practitioner and currently work with students in a 1:1 setting. However, I was a full time special education classroom teacher who incorporated the Orton-Gillingham Approach into my classroom. At that time, I also decided to become a TpT author because I had a difficult time finding resources (at a reasonable price) that were suitable for use with the Orton-Gillingham Approach. I struggled to find resources aligned with the structure and sequence that the approach presented and that could easily be used in the classroom. 

Dyslexia affects 1 in 5 children. However, incorporating the Orton-Gillingham Approach into your classroom will help not only those affected by Dyslexia, but will help every child be successful readers and spellers. It doesn't hurt to try it, start with these ideas below! 

1. Display Resources on the Walls for students to refer to when they struggle recalling a sound, spelling rule, etc. Our students need continuous review in order to strengthen the pathways between short and long term memory and to help retrieve information from their long term memory. These resources have pictures of the keywords that help the students recall the information.

You can find some resources for your classroom and/or intervention/tutorial office:
Click here for the OG Phonics Posters!

Click here for the OG Alphabet Banner!

Here are some pictures of the Alphabet Banner in my Dyslexia Therapy room:

2. Orton-Gillingham Based Task Boxes and Literacy Centers 
When I was a classroom teacher, I would often search on TpT for phonics literacy centers and could never find any that worked with the Orton-Gillingham Approach. As a result, I started creating some! My most recent addition, is the ever so popular task boxes! 

These task boxes are based on the Orton-Gillingham Approach and provide an easy way to differentiate within the classroom. They are also great for intervention and/or extra practice. 

You can find them here: 

3. Playing games during center time provides for a great review of previously taught concepts! You can find my Complete OG Board Game Bundle here:

4. File Folder Activities
Another easy way to differentiate and use the Orton-Gillingham Approach in the classroom is through the use of file folder activities! They are so easy to make, store, and pull out when needed! Use as a literacy center, early finishers, or whatever you can think of! 
You can make your own or check these out! Click here!

5. Finally, make your classroom library dyslexia friendly! Adding phonetic readers to your classroom library will increase independence and prevent your struggling readers from just staring at the pages of a book during silent reading time. You could also use these readers to create comprehension questions for your struggling readers. Perhaps each student has a journal with comprehension questions for the phonetic readers that are at their level. What is great about these readers too is that they follow the Orton-Gillingham sequence and the sequence is printed on the back of the books. I also recently discovered that you can buy them for Kindle right on Amazon! Click here for a link to S.P.I.R.E Phonetic Readers on Amazon! 

That is all for now! I have many more ideas and ways to incorporate the Orton-Gillingham Approach into the classroom. Search the custom categories in my TpT store for more! I hope you find what you may need!

It is my hope that you got a new idea or a new inspiration for how to incorporate the Orton-Gillingham Approach into your classroom! I would love to hear from you! How do you incorporate the Orton-Gillingham Approach into your classroom?

Monday, February 13, 2017

Win a $25 TpT Gift Card!

Want to win a $25 TpT gift card?! Enter Below!


Prize: $25 Teachers Pay Teachers Gift Card

Giveaway Organized by: Kelly Malloy (An Apple for the Teacher), 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Rules: Use the Rafflecopter to enter. Giveaway ends 2/20/17 and is open worldwide.

For more give aways or to sponsor a give away click here to be taken to An Apple for the Teacher's Blog.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Have a Multi-sensory Valentines Day!

Have a Multi-Sensory Valentines Day!

Hi! I am Colby from Special Inspirations. Welcome to the Share the Love Blog Hop! Thank you for visiting!

I am a Dyslexia Practitioner and LOVE to create multi-sensory, engaging activities for my students. You will receive a free make it multi-sensory activity at the end of the blog post.

Especially around Valentines Day, who doesn't like baking! Baking is a fun, hands-on, and what could be quite a messy way to turn learning from blah to flour covered! Therefore, I have created a few no-mess activities to incorporate the fun of baking into your classroom and/or tutorial sessions. 

However, let's start with the mess! Within the activities that I have created, I have also included a blurb about a messier option. I found that there are letter cookie cutters for less than $10 in plastic or metal:

you can find these at Target!

Then all you need is the dough of your choice, I prefer plain sugar cookie. Now, bake some letter cookies! When the cookies are done, let them cool and decorate with icing (keep the icing handy)! There are a bunch of things that you and your students or child can do with the baked cookies!

1. Make the alphabet and spell your name!
2. letter/sound recognition- eat a cookie, make its sound!
3. Build a word- build a word and practice decoding!
4. Write the alphabet or words in icing! Spread icing on a baking sheet, write the alphabet, letter, and/or word tracing with two fingers in the icing! Lick your finger afterwards for an instant sweet reward!
5. Be creative! What else can you do with letter cookies and delicious icing?

Don't have time for the mess?
Grab my Baking Up Sounds Freebie below:

You might also enjoy:

Have a wonderful, multi-sensory Valentines Day!

Enter the Raffle Giveaway here!

Hop on Over to my friend at Daisy Designs next! Click on her button below to be taken to her blog!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Why I Became a Dyslexia Therapist

The field of education is a unique and rewarding career path. Many educators choose the career path because they were inspired by someone, have a desire to help others, and have a strong passionate heart.

I knew that I wanted to be a teacher from a young age when I set up a classroom in my basement and asked for an overhead projector for Christmas. I went on to college and graduated with a degree in Elementary and Special Education. However, my teaching path is quite unique.

My younger brother is dyslexic and struggled in grade school because he was not being taught in the way that he learned best. However, the public schools would not admit that he was dyslexic and that they did not have the resources to help him.  My mom had him tested privately and he was diagnosed with Dyslexia. Therefore, in third grade he began going to tutoring 3x a week with a wonderful lady who taught him how to read using the Orton-Gillingham Approach.

My brother's reading improved greatly and through it I discovered my passion! I became a Dyslexia Therapist to help children like my brother receive the proper interventions! 

After graduating from college, I google searched Orton-Gillingham training and a fantastic school in Charleston, South Carolina with a year-long practicum was at the top of the results list! I applied and moved from Maryland to South Carolina that summer to begin training.

I worked as a special education teacher and 1:1 language teacher using the Orton-Gillingham Approach for two years at a private non-profit school for children with oral-language based disabilities. I received my Associate Level Certification and went on to begin classes to achieve my Certified Level Certification through the Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators. I currently work at a private practice as a Dyslexia Therapist traveling into area private schools and teaching students 1:1 after school.

I highly recommend training in the Orton-Gillingham Approach to any teacher seeking a specialized path in reading! The Orton-Gillingham Approach can benefit any learner!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

A Sneak Peek Into My Traveling Orton-Gillingham/Dyslexia Therapist Bag

Are you a traveling tutor, Dyslexia Therapist, or resource teacher looking for ideas on how to take your supplies around with you? 

I currently work at a private practice as the Director of Dyslexia Therapy. The summer was wonderful for me as students came to my office from 8 am until 5pm Monday through Thursday and I had all of my supplies with me and accessible! Now since the school year has begun, I travel to area private schools to provide Dyslexia Therapy using the Orton-Gillingham Approach to my clients during their school day. I also work after school until 7/8 pm providing Dyslexia Therapy to students whose schools won't allow me to come in during the school day or choose to come after school. 

That being said, I needed to figure out a good system for traveling with my resources and how to keep things multi-sensory! 

Now let's take a peek inside my travel bag!

I found this amazing bag at Marshalls! It has all the pockets that I need. As you can see, I have my Wilson Phonogram Cards, Phonetic Readers, and various resources! Let's take a  deeper look inside:

I found great plastic binder inserts with snap closures that I store various games and activities in to use during my lessons. I found them at the Dollar Tree!

I put file cabinet folders that attach to the sides of the bag to keep my lesson plans nice and crisp through out my travels from school to school.

 Unlocking Literacy is a great resource that provides me with lists of non-phonetic words, morphology, and more! I certainly recommend it! I found mine on Amazon.
This is my OG bible! It is a Consortium of words developed by The Carroll School!
I purchased this resource off of William Van Cleave's Website. It is a little pricey, but well worth it!

Always a must have!
My students love when I pull out the jumbo dice to play a reading board game!
These boxes are perfect for keeping my game trinkets from going all over the place.
Keeping things multi-sensory as a traveling therapist is difficult! Sand would end up all over the place. These mats are great for finger tracing during the phonogram drill.
Felt squares are also great for finger tracing and/or tapping out sounds when spelling or reading.
Of course you can't forget your phonogram deck! I use the deck from Wilson Reading System. Also, my students love playing Go Fish! so I always keep differentiated decks on hand! You can find these Go Fish Games and More to fill your travel bag with at my TpT Store!

That is what was in my travel bag today! Each day it changes as the lessons change. I hope you were able to gather some new ideas! What's in your traveling therapist bag? I'd love to hear from you!!

Monday, August 15, 2016

3 Websites to Find Help for your Child with Dyslexia

Has your child recently been diagnosed with Dyslexia or a similar oral language based disability? Are you thinking, "Where do I go from here?" or "What do I do now?" 

Below I have listed some approaches and websites that have been effective in making students with Dyslexia more successful in school and beyond!

1. The Orton-Gillingham Approach (OG): The Orton-Gillingham Approach is a diagnostic, prescriptive, sequential, and multi-sensory approach to teaching reading, morphology, and more! There are many certified Orton-Gillingham Instructors/Therapists nationwide! To find an Orton-Gillingham Instructor that is qualified and holds a certification awarded by the Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators visit the academy's website: 

2. If you would like your child to be immersed in instruction specifically designed for children diagnosed with Dyslexia and/or a similar oral language based disability, you can find a nationwide list of independent schools for children with oral language disabilities here: 

3. For tips on what you need to do before applying your child to a school for children with Dyslexia visit: