Become a TutorTutoring Method – The Orton-Gillingham Approach

The Center tutors are certified in the Orton-Gillingham approach of treating dyslexia, which uses a variety of sensory data to help children understand the written word. For example, while sounding out a letter, a child might simultaneously use his index finger to draw the letter in a tray of sand. Another child might use her fists to pound out syllables on a table.  The Center tutors bring a high degree of skill, dedication and love to their work. As one tutor puts it, "When you teach children to read, you change their lives."


Many parents, teachers, and school officials have questions and are confused about Orton Gillingham training, certification and fidelity of instructional delivery. There is currently an onslaught of 30 hour weeklong and weekend unaccredited teacher training flooding the market place. At the CDC (Children's Dyslexia Centers), we have a 15-year tradition of providing highly effective, rigorous and accredited OG training. Our CDC training programs are accredited by IMSLEC, International Multisensory Structured Language Education Council ( IMSLEC courses must pass a rigorous accreditation process, and be reauthorized every three years. They must include consistent lecture content and a supervised practicum by a certified instructor. Successful graduates of our program may sit for the National Alliance certifying exam and become certified members of ALTA, Academic Language Therapy Association (

The following list includes important hallmarks for appropriate OG training.

  1. 30 hour- one week training courses are overviews and do not qualify a teacher to deliver OG instruction with any fidelity. It's only helpful background knowledge.
  2. A practicum by certified supervisors is required for effective training. 15 trainees to 1 supervisor is the accepted maximum ratio for mentoring OG trainees, (see P. Mathers @ SMU for large scale teacher training research results).
  3. The (CDC) Children’s Dyslexia Center’s ability to sustain high quality OG teacher training, without lowering standards, relies on our Trainee/Supervisor ratio.  This year, 2016-17, we are training 30 teachers from 8 districts (15 in Pickerington, 6 in Upper Arlington, 11 in the Center) - bringing them to full certification, if they successfully complete the course.   We have 4 certified trainer/ supervisors and 4 supervisor/trainer interns.  That ratio assures trainees get the attention necessary to master OG content and delivery procedures.
  4. Use of technology for training should be utilized for large cohorts (Google Drive for synched record keeping, Canvas or Moodle grade books and resource sharing, Private YouTube channels for video demonstration, etc.)
  5. Our successful CDC IMSLEC graduates can complete the process in our nationally accredited program within ten months, after 100 hours of supervised practicum, 10 written and oral lesson feedbacks, and 50 hours of lecture, assigned reading and book reports, quizzes and a final exam. Graduate credit is available through Ashland University.
  6. Our successful CDC graduates are eligible to take the national certifying Alliance exam to become ALTA members - certified at the Practitioner/Teacher level.
  7. CDC, IMSLEC graduates and ALTA members are required to have 30 hours of continuing education, pertaining to multisensory structured education every 3 years, to maintain their certification. This assures that CDC, IMSLEC graduates and ALTA members are keeping up with the science of reading.

Initial Level Tutor Training

The Center Program offers training toward certification in the Orton-Gillingham approach. Initial certification requires 45 hours of classroom instruction and 100 hours of practicum. The practicum includes tutoring children at our Center under the supervision of qualified professionals. The Center also provides training for advanced certification.  Below you will find the Scholar Trainee Pack:

School District Training Program:

The Columbus Children's Dyslexia Center offers school district professional teacher training.  We have contracted with eight central Ohio school districts, and are training cohorts in a variety of levels. We are also working with two Ohio rural districts as part of our charitable outreach.  Hybrid training plans for distance practicum are available.  Please contact the Center Director for further information.

Additional Training:

Upper Level and Supervisor training is offered by invitation.  Inquiries may be made to Center Director.


I have just finished a year of tutoring students in the Orton-Gillingham method.  It was a year of learning for my students and for me.  Without this year of supervised tutoring, I cannot imagine my teaching skills growing as much as they have.  I spent 100 hours tutoring students as I learned how to use the Orton-Gillingham approach with Dyslexic children.  The amount of time spent in this practicum allowed me to hone and grow my skills in a safe and  wonderful setting.  During this lengthy practicum, I was given feedback from a master teacher, who was assigned to support me through the 100 hours of tutoring.  She mentored, coached, encouraged and provided constant feedback.  This mentoring consisted of reading all of my lesson plans, observing me during my teaching and providing suggestions for bettering my lesson planning, pacing, interventions, Socratic questioning techniques.  She also evaluated my progess as well as my students' progress.  A 100-hour practicum seems like a lot of time, and it is.  I believe, however, that it made me a far better teacher than if I had just been taught the basics of Orton-Gillingham.

It may have taken me years of tutoring on my own to reach the level of understanding I now have after this extensive practicum.

Karen Veith


Having certification in Orton-Gillingham has opened up doors for me. It is what helped me gain my current position and is a top point at all interviews. While going through the process I learned more about the English language than my 12+ years in school. OG has taught me about the English language and it has made me a better teacher. I now use my experience with OG to teach daily multi-sensory lessons for students grades K-5. My students have made dramatic progress due to my multi-sensory background.

Patricia Kelly


My reading instruction has been enriched by training in Orton-Gillingham and Reading Recovery.  Each program teaches procedures to help children get to meaning while reading.  Both deliver instruction through individualized lessons that link what is known to the unknown,  In addition, these methods help make learning to read rewarding for teacher and student.

Sally Vincent – (Current scholar in the Initial Level OG Training Program at the Columbus Learning Center for Dyslexia, and a Columbus Public school teacher for 30 years)


My experience as an Orton-Gillingham scholar was extremely rewarding. I was amazed by how much I learned about the educational process during my training. The presentation of the material was detailed, relevant, and so informative. The constant encouragement provided by the instructors was invaluable and proved to be a tremendous motivating factor. My only regret is that I did not have the opportunity to participate in such a worthwhile program at the beginning of my teaching career.

Nancy Case (retired from 30 years teaching 4th-6th grades in Parochial Schools)


I am a parent of a dyslexic child.  I do not have a teaching background.  I entered the program to become an Orton-Gillingham tutor to understand the learning needs of my own child.  What started as a venture to become a better parent of a dyslexic, has grown to a satisfying and rewarding second career.  I have received my Initial Certification as an Orton-Gillingham tutor, I am working to complete the Advanced Orton-Gillingham program, I am a staff member at the Masonic Learning Center and I have started a private practice as a tutor.  The caring mentors and knowledgeable supervisors gave outstanding support during, and after, the initial training.  Without the extensive practicum and excellent course curriculum, it would have taken much longer to develop the skills and understanding of how to instruct the dyslexic student.

Peggy Hollenback


Intervention Specialists that work in public schools, like Gahanna-Jefferson, need high levels of understanding of both reading disabilities and how to intervene using research based interventions for those working with students with reading disabilities.   The training and hands-on experience our Intervention Specialists have been provided by the Children’s Dyslexia Center this school year has been invaluable.  They now have the tools to effectively support the students in our District!

Sue Wiegling  Director of Special Education - Gahanna Jefferson Public Schools


The 100 hours of the practicum portion has been the most beneficial part of the Orton Gillingham training. During the practicum hours, I have been able to apply the knowledge that I learned in class. Working weekly with the same student has given me the opportunity to put the lessons into practice. It has also given me the opportunity to learn how to reflect on each lesson and what skills need to be reviewed and what skill to teach next. It has also given me the chance to learn how to encourage and support a student whose attitude is not the best.

Carrie Keener – Upper Arlington first grade teacher


The practicum is essential in truly understanding how to effectively teach Orton Gillingham! When I was in another district I had the OG representative for the district come out and hand me a packet of OG rules and concepts that I could use to help a Dyslexic student I had in class. I read the packet, looked at the rules and was still lost! I took the one week course you offered before we began tutoring to better understand how to deliver an OG lesson. I still was not prepared of course. What we do, we understand. It was only through having to plan and teach each lesson that I truly learned how to deliver multisensory, systematic, explicit instruction to students.

I greatly appreciated the constant feedback throughout the practicum. In the beginning I loved having Donna and Karen read over my lessons and type in feedback through Google Drive. This helped me plan more effective lessons. I also appreciated the opportunity to get feedback multiple times through observation. I always received both positive comments as well as ways to improve upon my tutoring. If I had not taught concepts such as syllable division, the doubling rule, rabbits words, etc I truly don’t think I would have understood them as clearly as I do now. I had to walk through these lesson to understand the concepts, as well as have the opportunity to ask question throughout the practicum.

It was through teaching lesson after lesson after lesson….. that I truly began to improve, learn and gain confidence. So, this practicum was HARD, HARD, HARD to juggle along with a full time job and small children of my own at home, but it was so worth it. I will forever use these strategies to help all future students I encounter learn to read and write. I feel that I can now be an advocate for students with dyslexia, as I understand how they need to learn and know that they CAN learn!

I now truly understand the science behind reading and have a toolbox full of strategies to help students that need this specific type of instruction to unlock meaning. I feel very fortunate to have gone through your training. I think all universities should train teachers in the science of reading and all classroom reading teachers should understand more about the way words work.

Amy Meyer – Upper Arlington K-1 Reading Specialist


The practicum is a crucial part of this training.  Having completed this training I completely understand the importance of the supervised practicum and graded observations.  The information I learned from the practicum and observations is invaluable.  The practicum is where I practiced application and received immediate feedback which facilitated my learning.  I made numerous mistakes when I first started writing lessons and without the practicum and observations I would not have corrected these mistakes, because the mistakes would remain undetected. Learning from mistakes is very powerful. I will be a better tutor because of this practicum. I’m grateful I had the opportunity to receive this training.  I’m eager to help the struggling students in my district.

Lisa Payne – Hamilton Local school psychologist


The value of the 100 hours and observations are priceless. I learned rules of reading that I didn’t know along the way. I feel like the practicum is the most important part of the whole training and where I gained the most for my teaching. I also feel like the 5 observations I did as a student were also just as important. I learned a ton just by watching others teach their lessons. It gave me ideas and ways to change what I do as well to best help different learners. I would like to just say thank you to all who helped and supported me in my learning and growing of the OG way! I am truly grateful beyond words! The work you ladies do is amazing.

Emily Miller – Marysville Intervention Specialist


The 100 hours of supervised practicum is truly the heart of the OG training through the CDC. It was truly invaluable. The content discussed during lecture truly wasn’t internalized until I actively used and honed the skills/knowledge during lessons with students. Additionally, having two to three OG trainers at the center twice a week was an incredible resource. They were happy to help with suggestions and resources and contributed greatly to my growth as a tutor. Another great aspect of the practicum is the fact that I am helping a student learn skills as I am simultaneously developing skills as a tutor. The concepts and techniques at the center has greatly affected my own teaching. I now understand dyslexia so much better and can greatly assist my own students. I have learned more about how children learn in general and have used techniques for building automaticity in different disciplines. All in all, this practicum has changed my teaching for the better.

Heath Barron Columbus School for Girls music teacher


I thought that the lessons were valuable in that we were able to teach many different features and receive feedback on how to better teach those features. I appreciated the promptness of that feedback when I submitted my lessons for critiques. The comments and suggestions after the graded observations was helpful and would help me to better my future lessons. I know that the center prides themselves on going over and beyond, but 100 lessons was intense. Educational and helpful, but still intense.

Kendra Clementz – Marysville Intervention Specialist 


The 100 hours of supervised practicum really allowed all the lecture and slideshow to make sense! Being supervised (although very stressful and intimidating at times) was very helpful because it challenged the trainee to fine tune areas of difficulty and reinforced the positives in the lessons. Also, as the trainee became more comfortable with the lessons and teaching, their supervisors were able to suggest/challenge them with other concepts to try

Becky Ott – Central College Christian school


The practicum is extremely valuable. The 50 hour training is a great introduction, but without the practicum, I’d have been lost. The weekly feedback, along with the graded observations, required me to improve my skills in a timely manner. Also, the access to the Center, its materials, and the ability to discuss lessons and questions with fellow trainees is invaluable. It’s a lot of work, but its well worth it. As I approach the end, I feel a sense of accomplishment!

Tabatha Walls – North Union school psychologist


Learning Center

Columbus Learning Center
290 Cramer Creek Court
Dublin, OH 43017
Telephone: 614-799-1261
Jean A. Colner, Director

Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity

DyslexiaHelp at the University of Michigan


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