But Why Does It Matter?

Last week, I wrote how an effective approach to teaching reading must include the following: logical sequence, cumulative, explicit, diagnostic, and multi-sensory. Today I’m going to start explaining why each of these things is important.

1. Logical sequence: Not all OG instructors are trained this way, but when I was trained, I was given a specific scope and sequence to use. Each concept was ordered from most commonly used to least. For example, students learn the letter j as one of their last consonants because the letter j is much less frequently seen than the letter t. It also makes sense that when you’re teaching the blend br, you will then also want to teach cr, dr, fr, gr, pr, tr (not wr because the w is silent and that’s a whole separate lesson). The instructor determines whether the student can handle being taught more than one of these blends in a single lesson.
2. Following from #1, cumulative instruction means that the learning builds upon itself. When the student has mastered vowel teams like ai/ay, that’s when the instructor will then make sure to continue building words with that type of spelling into the review, so that the student continues to see it and gets a chance to practice. It also means, again, that the instructor would teach most or all of the concepts within a category (such as magic-e words) before moving on to the next thing.
3. Explicit means that the student doesn’t have to generalize. If a student could generalize that ou can have different sounds (cloud vs. soup), then they wouldn’t need this type of instruction in the first place. Some students are capable of generalizing to a certain degree, such as the #1 example, where an instructor might teach br, cr, and dr in one lesson.
4. Diagnostic means that the instructor uses the student’s errors to create the next lesson. If the student is showing that they need a refresher on how to use a concept, the instructor makes sure to put that in the next lesson’s review. The instructor can also reteach anything if necessary.
5. Multisensory: When we are teaching with an OG approach, we are literally rewiring the brain. It is important to give students a multisensory approach (audio-visual-kinesthetic) to give the brain as many ways as possible to learn the concept. I have seen lots of instructors also use color-coding or highlighting. Having students play games with their reading or spelling is also a great way to have them be engaged while also being more hands-on.