Park Academy seeks to work with every student at his or her level of need. For students in grades 3-5, every student receives approximately an hour of intensive reading instruction 5 days per week in a group of 2-4 students. For middle and high school students, only those students requiring reading instruction receive it. The determination of need is based on both our extensive assessment protocol and testing they come in with upon admission. Both sets of testing data are considered for placement in a class and with a particular teacher.
Orton-Gillingham is considered the “gold standard” in reading instruction for students with dyslexia. It is a diagnostic and prescriptive methodology for teaching kids how to decode and encode. What does that mean exactly? Each child is assessed to determine his or her skill deficits. Then, they are given direct and systematic instruction in the rules of both phonemic awareness and phonics. There is also significant instruction in sight words and encoding.
Because Orton-Gillingham is a method, not a program, it is differentiated for each student and/or group of students. Some students may require more strategies to improve orthographic processing, while others may need more practice to develop fluency. Because all of our reading teachers are highly trained experts, they can provide this differentiated instruction to help students progress and quickly as possible.
Orton-Gillingham is limited to phonemic awareness, phonics, encoding, fluency and some morphology. Once students progress past this point, this is no longer a necessary or beneficial intervention for them.
For students who have tested above Orton-Gillingham, we provide a reading comprehension class. We just adopted the highly acclaimed “Passport: Reading Journeys” published by Voyager/Sopris West. Developed under the guidance of renowned reading expert Dr. Sharon Vaughn, this program focuses on the other skills of reading, including vocabulary development, morphology, syntax, and reading comprehension. There are two levels to this program and students are placed in it based on their reading comprehension levels.
For more information about our specific reading program, please reach out to Megan Holcomb, Literacy and Curriculum Coordinator.
Overview of Reading
Reading is an incredibly complex task and requires many skills that work in conjunction with one another. Students with dyslexia and other language-based reading challenges struggle with some or all of these areas. Below is an explanation of the skills required for effective reading (decoding and comprehension) and spelling (encoding).