May 08

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Tuesday Tips to Take Home: Orton- Gillingham in your home!

At The Cloverleaf School we use the Orton-Gillingham approach combined with Wilsonand S.M.A.R.T to reach all the needs of our students.  All of these these approaches are multi-sensory, structured, cumulative, and flexible. These characteristics can be easily extended in the classroom and in the home. Here is list of 10 multi-sensory activities for reading, writing, and spelling practice that will increase phonemic awareness and reinforce learned phonics concepts.  These activities are fun, easy to set up and will increase your child’s self confidence in and out of the classroom.


  1. While cooking dinner, set up a cookie sheet. Sprinkle a generous amount of flour on the sheet. Help your child practice writing their spelling words or phonics sounds, by asking them to write them in the flour. This activity reinforces their encoding skills,is fun and allows for your child to easily erase mistakes. This will keep them busy and will allow you to get busy in the kitchen.
  2. For handwriting or spelling practice, buy a pack of Crayola Color Switchers.  Write words, sentences or letters on a blank sheet of paper and have your child trace over your letters. Using the white tip on the marker, your child will have fun changing the colors and will also be strengthening fine motor.
  3. If your child is still taking baths, write their sight words on the bathtub wall using Crayola Bathtub markers.  Use the tiles, to help separate letters and also reinforce spaces (boundaries) between letters and words.
  4. Pick up Bananagrams and Wikki Stix if your child has trouble writing or if your child has anxiety over writing.  This reinforces letter formation and is a fun activity to do to help reinforce their spelling words or phonics concepts.
  5. Orton-Gillingham teaches a finger tapping drill to help children decode (sound out) words. Trace your child’s hand and write the numbers 1,2, and 3, starting with the thumb and ending with the middle finger. This provides a kinesthetic way for your child to sound out words.  You can also have your child pound each sound with their fist, if you don’t mind the noise :)
  6. Write words or letters on Post-Its and create a hop scotch game.  You can also do this in your hallway at home, creating a fun path that your child can jump on to help remember their alphabet and/or sight words.  The impact of each jump will help your child retain the information that they are taking in.
  7. In the grocery store, have your child go on a hunt for words that rhyme, words that start with a certain letter, or words that end with a certain sound. Make a tally for each word that you find. Make it a fun ritual by trying to beat your record each time you take your child into a store.
  8. Use your old plastic easter eggs to create words, compound words or  blends.  Use a Sharpie or fancy labels to set up a fun matching style game for your child to do in the car, in the living room or in the playroom.  Click here for instructions!     
  9. Call out words or sounds, have your child use letter stamps and help them push them into a rolled out strip of Play-Doh.
  10. Buy the book called Recipe for Reading by Nina Traub and Frances Bloom. This book is designed for teachers but can give you an idea of what phonics concepts are being taught to your child. This manual will give you lists of letter sounds, vowel digraphs, consonant blends, and spelling rules in a sequential cumulative order. Words, sentences and activities are included for dictation and reading and will save you of time and added stress in preparation.


We hope these ideas help you to integrate Orton-Gillingham concepts and practices at home and that you find them as helpful as we do!


The Cloverleaf School is a private, non-profit elementary school (Kindergarten through 5th Grade) that specializes in educating children with ADHD, high functioning autism, Asperger’s, anxiety, and other learning differences to equip them with the skills needed to navigate the world with confidence.


We provide a balanced calendar to ensure academic and social consistency for our students. Our student to teacher ratio is 4:1 for all academic subjects and our teachers design and implement a comprehensive curriculum with multi-sensory and differentiated instruction. The Cloverleaf School also prepares students for their next educational steps by creating individual learner profiles.

Permanent link to this article: http://cloverleafschool.org/tuesday-tips-to-take-home-orton-gillingham-in-your-home/

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