Climbing With Phonics


Johnny still can’t read because his teachers really never taught him how. Not in “direct instruction”, that is. Today’s schools mainly use the “See and Say” method of reading instruction. In this approach the student is exposed to words and is supposed to remember it after many pairings of “seeing” and “saying” the word. For the majority of students this usually works fine. This “Whole Word” approach, or “Whole Language”, does not emphasize or even teach the “sound/symbol” system. As an example, my daughter thrived on this “See and Say” method of reading instruction. When exposed in to the sound of the letter S in “Sally” and the S in the word “So”, my daughter was able to internalize and generalize that the letter S said the sound “S”. My Son, however, could not make that connection no matter how many pairings or exposures he had. He needed to be taught the “sound / symbol” connection in direct instruction. For example, in the word “races” the “S” sound is in the letters ce and the S says the sound of “Z”! Confusing? Yes. So it is not enough to just teach the rules of the “sound / symbol” system or phonics directly. You should use the “Orton Gillingham” approach taught by a trained teacher or the “Climbing With Phonics” Interactive computer program. This method works because it is structured, repetitious, phonetic, and most importantly, taught in a multi-sensory manner. I was introduced to the existence of this method in an article in “Mc Call’s” magazine in 1973 and I began to teach my son using this method in daily lessons. Many years later after he graduated college with a degree in Computer Science we have been writing computer applications using the Orton Gillingham program. We are selling the “Climbing with Phonics” programs and books on the Internet at “” site.

Information About the Orton Gillingham Approach

The Orton Gillingham (OG) approach is research based. It is the best way to teach any skill and can be adapted to teach any content. When instruction is delivered primarily using visual modality presentations it leaves behind students who have difficulty learning that way. OG lessons incorporate a multisensory approach involving visual, auditory, kinesthetic, tactile and oral modalities. Multisensory strategies activate every students’ learning styles and strengthens the weaker modality. The OG method is linguistic and emphasizes recognizing word structures, making word analysis automatic, consequently students’ reading, and spelling improve dramatically. The OG method teaches how to analyze words into predicable segments, including phonemes, syllables, base words, prefixes, suffixes and Latin/Greek word elements. Mastering these phonograms and morphemes enable you to decode one syllable and polysyllabic words with accuracy. It explains the English language in a way that makes sense, structures the lessons by: 1- teaching why words are written in a certain way. The rules enable you to decode (read) and encode (spell). The lessons are structured to ensure success by building skills from basic to more complex, building on skills previously mastered through repetition to levels of “automaticity”. The OG method

OG & The Phonetic Code helps to unlock words, spelling and meaning of written language. letters, words and speech are the main ways humans communicate with each other. Letters have speech sounds and speech sounds can be written as letters.We used to use pictures of words as symbols; a roofed structure was a house; a stick figure, a woman. It was quite a task to memorize hundreds of pictures. Now if you know the code and rules you are able to convert letters into syllables, (parts of words), and syllables into words. You will even be able to decode and read words with many syllables. Knowing the rules of encoding (spelling) you are able to convert speech sounds into letters and words. Using the most efficient ways of teaching, such as the Orton Gillingham approach, you can master, learn to read, spell and understand written language; even you have had difficulty before.  

  1. Multisensory approach: Orton-Gillingham (OG) utilizes a multisensory approach to teaching reading, which means it engages multiple senses such as visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. This approach helps students with different learning styles to grasp and retain information more effectively.
  2. Systematic and structured: OG follows a systematic and structured approach to reading instruction. It breaks down the complex process of reading into smaller, manageable parts, ensuring that students receive instruction in a logical and organized manner.

  3. Individualized instruction: The OG method emphasizes individualized instruction, tailoring teaching strategies and materials to meet the unique needs of each learner. This personalized approach allows teachers to address specific areas of difficulty and adapt the instruction accordingly.

  4. Phonics-based: OG places a strong emphasis on phonics instruction, teaching students the relationships between letters and sounds. By focusing on phonics, students learn to decode words, recognize spelling patterns, and build a solid foundation for reading and spelling.

  5. Explicit instruction: OG provides explicit instruction, meaning that it teaches concepts and skills directly and explicitly. This approach ensures that students understand the underlying rules and principles of reading, enabling them to apply their knowledge independently.

  6. Remedial support: OG is highly effective for students who struggle with reading difficulties, such as dyslexia. It provides remedial support by targeting specific areas of weakness and providing intensive instruction to help students overcome reading challenges.

  7. Language-based approach: OG recognizes the importance of language skills in reading development. It incorporates instruction in grammar, vocabulary, and comprehension to enhance overall reading abilities. By integrating these language components, OG promotes a comprehensive understanding of written language.

  8. Sequential progression: OG follows a sequential progression of skills, gradually building upon previously learned concepts. This sequential approach ensures that students master foundational skills before moving on to more advanced reading abilities, fostering a strong and solid reading foundation.

  9. Confidence-building: The structured and supportive nature of OG instruction helps students build confidence in their reading abilities. As they experience success through targeted instruction and practice, students develop a positive mindset and become more motivated to continue learning.

  10. Research-supported: The Orton-Gillingham approach is grounded in years of research and has been proven effective for students with reading difficulties. It is backed by a substantial body of evidence and has been widely adopted as an evidence-based practice for teaching reading.

Flipped Learning is an instructional strategy and type of blended learning education program that combines online digital media with traditional classroom methods. Flipped learning reverses the instructional environment by delivering content, often online, outside the classroom. Flipping changes, the lecture or direct group instruction from the classroom to home or individualized learning at centers. It changes the student from a passive learner to an active participant and changes the teacher from the roll of controller to an interactive facilitator. This change relies on technology and new interactive materials to deliver curriculum, content, knowledge or skills. The Orton Gillingham Method provides the “how to”. It uses separate visual, auditory, kinesthetic and tactile activities to deliver instruction. The teacher provides multiple experiences that insure mastery instead of a “one size fits all” lecture of direct teaching to the whole class. As quoted in the May 31, 1993 issue of Newsweek, “People retain 10% of what they see, 20 % of what they hear and 50% of what they hear and see and 80% of what they see and do.” The weakness of most instructional resources is they offer one or at most two of these components. The Orton Gillingham method takes advantages of all three to their fullest. In addition to structuring and repeating content  in different modalities, multimedia and games, it is fun and fully engages all students!

Flipped Learning

Scroll to Top