The Science of Reading

Learning to read is not a ‘natural’ process.

Most children must be taught to read through a structured and protracted process in which they are made aware of the sounds and the symbols that represent them, and then learn to apply these skills automatically and attend to meaning. (Moats, 2000, p. vii)

The Orton-Gillingham Approach

In the 1930s, Dr. Samuel Orton, a neurologist, and Anna Gillingham, an educator and psychologist, developed an educational approach based on direct phonics instruction. Many students need help bridging the gap between the sounds of English and their association with symbols. They found that breaking language down into simple, easy to understand pieces and then teaching them using explicit, systematic, multisensory, and structured lessons was effective reading instruction for all students.

Building reading skills is like building a house. Phonemic awareness, phonics, decoding, encoding, fluency and vocabulary skills interlace to create a strong foundation. Each skill adds strength to the foundation of the reading house, until layer upon layer, brick by brick, skill by skill, the final product emerges—a strong, independent reader.

Dr. Orton and Ms. Gillingham’s method is now known interchangeably as either Orton-Gillingham or Multisensory Structured Language (MSL) or Structured Literacy.

The Science of Reading

We now know that, like math and science, there is an order of operations regarding teaching reading to all students. Structured Literacy follows this order of operations effectively providing each student with a structured framework to build their reading foundation.

When readers’ skills are systematically increased through explicit, multisensory, phonics-based lessons, they can then shift mental energy towards comprehending what is being read. Without each skill in place, it’s difficult, if not impossible for them to move to the next step. In other words, until students are able to automatically associate sounds with letters, they won’t be able to decode, let alone understand the text in front of them. Once students are able to associate the words they hear with the words they see, they are then able to comprehend the text.

Brain imaging research has proven that effective, multisensory reading instruction literally reorganizes the brains of struggling readers. New pathways are formed in the brain when students receive phonics-based instruction using direct, explicit, systematic, and multisensory techniques. Through consistent practice, these pathways link and grow stronger until students achieve mastery. The changes in brain imaging after such intervention shows that the brain activity of poor readers increasingly appears more like the brain activity of good readers.

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Ensuring Effective Instruction

Brainspring’s Educator Academy Professional Development courses provide teachers with thorough Structured Literacy instruction, curriculum, and tools which make teaching Orton-Gillingham with fidelity easier and fun.

Our programs are designed to arm teachers with the knowledge of how the reading process develops, insight to recognize students who are not developing the appropriate skills to become skilled readers, and knowledge to deliver the program to maximize student success in classroom, small-group, and one-on-one settings.

We are committed to providing participants with the highest level of professional development. Brainspring’s Orton-Gillingham curricula is accredited through both the International Dyslexia Association (IDA) under their Knowledge and Practice Standards for Teachers of Reading and through the International Multisensory Structured Language Education Council (IMSLEC) at their Teaching Level and Instructor of Teaching Levels.

Schedule a phone call with one of our Educational Consultants to learn more and determine how Brainspring is best able to help you bring Structured Literacy to your district.

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"Our students showed remarkable progress and our M-STEP state reading scores jumped from 56.2 to 82.5 after only 3 months of Phonics First® Academic Advantage On-site Tutoring. I would highly recommend it to any [urban] school wishing to make significant gains in student reading ability. No school should be without it!."

Steve Christian, Assistant Principal

Fleming Elementary, Detroit, MI

"The Monday I returned from the CEC Convention I immediately started doing core words, which cannot be decoded using "spelling on the arm". I was totally amazed! ... I will stay in touch and keep you apprised of the successes we have!"

Kris Kenna, Academic Support Teacher

Central Manor Elementary

"The most common feedback we received is that teachers wished that they have been trained by Brainspring before starting their educational journey."

Erica Keen, K-12 District Dyslexia Coordinator

Arkansas Virtual Academy

"Not only did our students continue to advance in their reading skills as evidenced by a full year’s growth, but 39% of our students made more than one year’s progress in reading."

Jeanine Cyrwus, Director of Outreach & Literacy

Oakwood School

"Feedback from teachers after implementation has been very positive. Since switching to Phonics First, teachers felt like their instruction has been better and they have seen student growth."

Tracy Hinty, Supervision of Federal Programs

Rockbridge County Public Schools

"Thank you for creating such an excellent and diligent phonics program. If schools and families implemented this program to children at a young age, there would not be such a reading epidemic across our nation. Phonics truly is the answer!"

Trained Educator

"I wish I would have found Phonics First earlier in my teaching career. Our students across the country would be stronger readers and writers if a balanced program such as Phonics First was being implemented."

Trained Educator

"I loved this training and can’t wait to get started with my students!"

Trained Educator

"I strongly believe after completing this training that EVERY HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY TEACHER should have this!!! Our student reading success would improve if all teachers knew how to teach this material."

Trained Educator

"I learned so much. I now have complete confidence in using the program and teaching the material. I can now implement the material as it was designed. Thank you for a great week!"

Trained Educator

"I feel like I’ve learned more from this PD than any PD I’ve participated in before!"

Trained Educator

"Awesome training. It was my first exposure to Structures, and it is fabulous! I am recommending that each of our elementaries has at least one interventionist trained to use with our 5th and 6th grade struggling readers! Thank you!"

Trained Educator

"I have been hoping for this type of instruction since I have been back in the classroom! The push in many elementary schools is comprehension when children cannot write or read fluently. So excited to move forward with Phonics First! Thank you!!!"

Trained Educator

"Our trainer was amazing. She was so knowledgeable about the program and was able to share real world examples. She was also incredibly helpful with answering everyone’s specific questions."

Trained Educator