Teachers gather for Orton-Gillingham training for Professional Development Day

Orton-Gillingham Fellow of Record Anne M. Vickers, M.Ed. gave a personalized workshop on the Orton-Gillingham based writing sequence derived from Diana Hanbury King’s publications on January 4, 2021.

OG Fellow Anne Vickers stands in front of class teaching a writing lesson.
Mrs. Vickers has over 45 years of experience in changing the lives of students with dyslexia and related language-based learning differences through using the Orton-Gillingham approach. She used this knowledge to compile a Writing Book for Sandhills teachers on the writing process. This writing book is structured in a way that teachers can apply the concepts to all students in first through twelfth grades. Focusing on key Orton-Gillingham principles and strategies, Mrs. Vickers started at the most simple grammar and moved to the most complex college essays and gave teachers strategies, advice and teaching materials on how to teach writing; one of the most complex academic tasks that we ask our brains to do. 
 
Writing is a process that is developed and improved upon over a lifetime requiring much practice, effort, revisions and creative thought as one works through multiple drafts. For an individual with dyslexia and/or dysgraphia, this complex process places increasingly frustrating demands in the areas of language, spelling, fine motor skills, vocabulary, working memory, processing speed and more. 
 
It is not uncommon to hear a student with dyslexia speak eloquently and passionately on a topic at length, but if asked to write even a few sentences about the same topic, the written work does not match the brilliant student you just listened to. Parents and teachers can become frustrated when they do not understand why it is so difficult for individual students with dyslexia, dysgraphia, or related learning differences to put thoughts into words. It is just as frustrating, if not more frustrating, for students with learning differences to be unable to express their thoughts in written form. 
 
Through Mrs. Vickers’ strategies, materials and most importantly modeling the emotionally-sound, motivating parts of the writing process and the teacher-student relationship, even a student who struggles can become a proficient collegiate writer, albeit after many years of hard work and consistent effort and dedication on the part of the student. 
 
“As one of only 11 Orton-Gillingham accredited teacher training centers and schools, we are grateful to have this unique opportunity provided to our teachers for professional development,” explains Head of School Erika Senneseth. Sandhills School teachers now have a complete guide to writing that can be applied in all subject areas so that students can further benefit from the Orton-Gillingham immersion approach where every teacher in the building is utilizing the same language and students can apply what they learn in language training and writing classes to all subject areas.
 
Group of teachers watches lesson on writing.