Focus on reading at Summitview Elementary

Oct 26, 2023

Staff members at Summitview Elementary engage students with active reading strategies

In Washington State, schools that have over 50% of their students qualify for free/reduced meals are provided an additional allocation of funds for the Learning Assistance Program (LAP). These funds are called High Poverty LAP funds. Summitview Elementary Principal, Eva Lust, shared information recently about how these funds were used during the 2022/23 school year for teacher training as well as plans for the 2023/24 school year. Summitview teachers shared the impact of this training on their instructional skills and student achievement.

Principal Eva Lust said, “Last year, Summitview used a portion of the High Poverty monies to train all Kindergarten, First Grade and Second Grade teachers on Orton-Gillingham techniques for teaching reading and writing. I am impressed at how some of my most seasoned teachers embraced the new strategies and started implementing them immediately after finishing their training. All Third, Fourth, Fifth, Resource and Developmental Learning Classroom teachers will be trained this year.”

Second Grade Teacher, Becca Valencia said, “At the end of last year some of us were lucky enough to attend an Orton-Gillingham training. I remember thinking to myself, this is a game changer! Had I been taught like this, I believe I would have been more successful at reading earlier on. The students enjoy all the ‘parts’ of these strategies. It has many different strategies that include some hands-on learning for reading. This is so helpful for students, especially those that need multi-sensory learning. They have been engaged and eager to learn new strategies. I believe that this program will help all of my students become better writers and readers. I can’t wait to see the growth they accomplish this year.”

Second Grade Teacher, Lori Moore said, “My students really enjoy the dictation and syllabication lessons in the OG strategies. I’m seeing kids tapping out sounds and syllables in order to help them write unfamiliar words during other parts of the day. Their engagement is so fun to see and they ask when are we going to do spelling. We love OG!”

Kindergarten Teacher, Danielle Crawford said, “My kindergarteners are loving using the OG strategies! The multisensory lessons keep them very engaged. I have noticed that they have a deeper knowledge of our letters and sounds. I appreciate that the program has a routine each day that builds on the previous lesson and gives so many chances to practice the strategies throughout the week.”

Second Grade Teacher, Lisa Bradford said, “The Orton-Gillingham training provided me with the best reading/writing instruction I've ever learned. OG is a highly structured program that is multi-sensory and rigorous but the kids love it! They want more and more of it because they are learning to crack the code of reading. There are no secrets. They are learning digraphs, diphthongs, the schwa sound, etc. Through daily dictation of words and sentences as well as learning ‘red words’ and syllabication, they are given powerful tools for decoding and encoding all words.”

First Grade Teacher, Katie Heary said, “It’s a hands-on, engaging, and a fun way to learn to read. The kids enjoy the different multi-sensory ways of learning. Students are taking what they are learning and using those ways independently when reading or spelling.”

First Grade Teacher, Trent VanDyken said, “Learning phonics patterns is a major thread in first grade learning. And while most any reputable curriculum will teach a phonics scope and sequence, Orton Gillingham does a great job of explicitly teaching phonics skills with a multisensory approach, which benefits kids with dyslexia and also is so helpful for our most energetic and wiggly learners. The other thing I love about Orton Gillingham is the focus on syllabication. In my experience, students often experience difficulty moving from decoding one syllable words to multisyllable words, and unknown multisyllabic words are especially tricky. Even worse, those unknown multisyllabic words often interrupt comprehension. OG teaches explicitly how to find syllable patterns, break multisyllabic words into one syllable parts, and decode unknown multisyllabic words.”

Kindergarten Teacher, Lori Fletcher said, “I have noticed students who would have challenges with pencil/paper writing of letters are successful using the sand to write the letters they are learning.”

First Grade Teacher, Jill Stephens said, “OG reading instruction engages all of a student's senses to help learning including seeing, feeling, hearing, and moving. When we are using our writing journals, the students easily incorporate the pounding and tapping of sounds in words to figure out how to produce one and two syllable words. I also love to see how students are stating out loud which words are ‘red words’ or ‘sight words’ when they are in their own individual text. It is nice to have a consistent method across the grade level so when we share reading students, all of the first-grade students are familiar with the phonics drills that correlate with OG.”