Orton-Gillingham and Dyslexia

cropped-new_website_header_11This blog has covered many aspects of dyslexia so far. I have discussed what it is like to live with dyslexia, different ways to cope with organizational aspects of having a learning disability, the importance of empowering your child with dyslexia and many other different angles. But what about timely intervention?

If your child has been formally diagnosed with a reading disorder, or dyslexia (a term not often used in psychological reports), you may have done some research. Most likely you have found that, among the many ways to assist children in tackling their challenges in reading, the Orton-Gillingham method is one of the most effective, research-based programs to remediate for reading disorders. Often, psychological reports may recommend Orton-Gillingham programs or private tutors in order to help children with dyslexia develop effective strategies in their reading and writing.

I have had the recent privilege of becoming the Centre Director for Windsor’s Scottish Rite Learning Centre at the Masonic Temple. The Centre is funded by The Scottish Rite Charitable Foundation of Canada Learning Centres for Children and their mission statement is as follows:

“to provide quality, state of the art, free remedial tutoring to children with difficulties in reading, writing, and scholastic skills formally identified as dyslexia.”

The Scottish Rite Charitable Foundation uses the definition of dyslexia from the International Dyslexia Association. Their definition is as follows:

“Dyslexia is a neurologically-based, often familial, disorder which interferes with the acquisition of language. Varying in degree of severity, it is manifested by difficulties in receptive and expressive language, including the system of processing sounds in language (phonology) in reading, writing, spelling, handwriting and sometimes in arithmetic. Emotional disturbances and behavioural difficulties are often secondary results. Dyslexia is not a result of lack of motivation, sensory impairment, inadequate instructional or environmental opportunities, or other limiting conditions, but may occur together with these conditions. Although dyslexia is lifelong, individuals with dyslexia frequently respond successfully to timely and appropriate remediation.”

At the Learning Centre, we receive many referrals for children whose parents wish for them to attend, and with good reason! The Orton-Gillingham tutoring we provide has been proven to be very successful in the remediation of dyslexia.

It is so true that many components of the Orton-Gilllingham program would assist any child whose struggles with reading! However, the Scottish Rite Charitable Foundation Learning Centre has specifications in order for a child to qualify for the free tutoring program.dyslexia-conclusion

I would like to share some more information about the specifics of the Learning Centre.

Is there any cost for the tutoring at the Scottish Rite Learning Centre?

No. The program is absolutely free for children that meet the qualifications.

Who does qualify for tutoring?

Children that are formally identified as having a reading disorder, or dyslexia are candidates for the Learning Centre. This means the child has had a psychological assessment (administered by a psychologist either privately or by a School Board) that formally diagnoses them with a learning disability in reading. However, this is not the only criteria. Children must also fit the profile of being ‘dyslexic’ in order to benefit from the program. Children with dyslexia demonstrate intelligence within the average range and have only specific difficulties in reading. Students dealing with other challenges (i.e. multiple disabilities, intellectual disabilities, etc.) would not necessarily get the benefit of our program. All applications are looked at on an individual basis to determine eligibility and all students at our Centre are on a trial basis, as not all students are as receptive to the program.

What if my child has not had a psychological report, but has difficulty reading?

The Learning Centre requires formal diagnosis through a psychological report in order to be considered for the program. Psychological assessments can be obtained privately. They tend to be expensive but sometimes ar covered by benefit/health plans. If a student struggles at school, they may obtain an assessment through the school board, especially if they are significantly behind their grade level.

Although the tutoring would be beneficial in teaching many children how to read, the Learning Centre has a long waiting list of students that are formally diagnosed and meet the requirements of the program. There are many tutors that provide our services privately for a fee.


How long is the program? What is the time commitment?

The length of time that it takes to provide tutoring depends on the child. However, the average length of time to complete the entire program is approximately two to two and half years.

Tutoring is twice weekly, for an hour each session. As this is an intensive and very expensive program to run, it is expected that the child is there for every session. Other commitments (e.g. sports, music lessons, etc.) are expected to be secondary to your child learning how to read and write. Therefore, frequent cancellations due to these reasons (and others) would likely cause a student to be suspended from tutoring sessions. Commitment is essential to The Learning Centre.


What are the tutors’ qualifications?

The Scottish Rite Charitable Foundation provides certification for our tutors. Tutors apply to the program with proof of post-secondary education, a resume, and must provide police clearance. A Bachelor of Education is preferable, but not necessary for training. Tutors must also have a good command of the English language in order to qualify. Training for Orton-Gillingham certification requires 45 hours of instruction, many required readings (with subsequent reports/reflections on the readings), quizzes and a final exam. Additionally, each tutor must do a 100-hour practicum tutoring students in this methodology, with at least 8 of these hours being observed by the tutor trainer to determine effectiveness.

Training can be obtained through the Learning Centre free of charge to those qualified and interested in the time commitment. It is a requirement that the practicum is done at the Centre with our children.

What is the time commitment for Tutor Certification?

Full certification takes approximately two to two and a half years to obtain. Each tutor begins tutoring one student for an hour, twice weekly. When they are ready, tutors take on a second student bringing the time commitment up to two hours, twice weekly. We highly value our tutors and the commitment they put in to tutor our students.

Do tutors get paid?

No. The tutors that work at the Learning Centre volunteer their time. The practicum allows them to gain the necessary experience to obtain certification through the Scottish Rite Charitable Foundation. However, certified tutors may take on students privately, but do not work through the Learning Centre.

How can I learn more about getting tutor certification through the Scottish Rite Charitable Foundation?

To get further details about the qualifications and commitment of being a certified Orton-Gillingham tutor, or to obtain more information on tutoring your child. Please contact:

windsorbear - colourTammy Groulx (formerly Wilcox)

The Windsor Scottish Rite Learning Centre

986 Ouellette Ave.

Windsor, ON



3 thoughts on “Orton-Gillingham and Dyslexia

  1. Top notch program that made a huge difference to our family.

  2. Great Post about Orton Gillingham and Dyslexia. Thanks for sharing!!!

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