Saturday, July 23, 2016

5 Tips & Tricks to Help Get your Difficult Student Through the OG Lesson!

We have all had that one student that just refuses to do anything. We've heard phrases like, "I don't like games!" and "I don't like sand or shaving cream!" or "I'm not doing that!"etc. I mean games? Who doesn't like games!

If you haven't had one yet, I am sure  you will at some point in time. We often feel as though we have to get through the whole Orton-Gillingham lesson in a timely manner and we do. Sometimes timing can be difficult, especially when you are working with a difficult student. Through my experience in working with children on the Autism Spectrum, I have had training in ABA strategies in which I am able to naturally apply to my practice as an Orton-Gillingham therapist. As a result, I have come up with some ideas and strategies that may help you get through to your difficult student too.

My tips and tricks for engaging the difficult student:

1. Be creative! If the student refuses to read from the book (most likely a phonetic reader). Grab some magnetic letters and form the sentences from the story on a metal shelf, file cabinet, cookie sheet, etc. In the picture below, my student happened to be sitting on the floor (not wanting to sit at the table to read). I brought the book down to him, grabbed my magnetic letters, and formed the sentence on my metal shelving. Success! My goal was for him to read the sentence accurately right? Yes! We got through the reading portion of the lesson.

 2. Let them own their experience! My student mentioned that he/she wanted to draw a picture and then write a sentence about it. He/she drew a picture and I came up with a phonetic sentence that he/she could write independently. See below. Thank goodness there is another word for police! My goal was for him/her to write a sentence independently right? And I fit a red word in there! Check! *disclaimer- some pictures may be difficult than others* Perhaps give them an idea of something to draw that you can create a sentence on their independent level.

3. Don't give up! You may feel like scrapping the whole lesson. But don't be afraid to join your student on the floor and continue the lesson from there! Some is better than none. Also, create a point/star system. Have them work towards earning 5 stars! Conveniently there are typically 5 parts to the lesson plan ( I include What Says, S.O.S, Reds Words, and Sentence Dictation as 1 star (the exit ticket to the lesson) on one sheet- see my recording sheet available for $1 in my TpT Store). If need be, have them work towards a reward and collaborate with parents. My difficult student had to earn 5 stars 4 sessions in a row to earn going to a water park! It worked! With that student material rewards did not work, but having him work towards an activity did. However, it is different for each child. Allow them to choose their reward.

4. Offer options! But never more than 3! When it comes to Words to Read offer more than one game/activity (pertaining to the same concept being taught) and let them choose! This can also go along with letting them own their experience. When they chose the activity, they will more likely feel that it was their idea in the first place. However, if you offer too many options, they may get overwhelmed. 

5. Follow your gut! You know your student best and if you have just started working with a difficult student you will be able to figure out what motivates him/her soon. Each child is different, determine what motivates him/her most and capitalize on that motivation. Ultimately use positive reinforcement! We want our students to enjoy reading and learning! That's the ultimate goal!! 

I hope you find these strategies helpful! Each child is different. These strategies have worked for me, however, they may not work for your student or may require some tweaking. Try them out and see how they work for you!


  1. I am so happy to see you blogging about OG and dyslexia! I am certified in OG and teach in Indianapolis!
    Congratulations on your new blog!

    1. Thank you so much, Lisa!! I am very excited! And you're my first follower!!!! :)
      Thank you for connecting with me! I am looking forward to keeping in touch!!