Weighing the best strategies for reading intervention

CARTERET, N.J. — Carolyn Welch passed out shallow trays of colored sand to the six kindergarteners gathered in her small room at Columbus School. “Hold up the finger you use to write with,” she said, raising her index finger. “Make a C in your board.”

“Good,” said Welch, as the children traced Cs in the sand. “Now make your G by drawing a line down. Repeat after me as we say it: G says guh. G says guh. Good!”

Trained in the Orton-Gillingham Approach to help struggling readers, Carolyn Welch celebrates a moment with a kindergartener in her reading intervention class at Columbus School in Carteret, N.J. Credit: Caralee Adams for The Hechinger Report

This is one of many multisensory activities Welch uses in her reading intervention class, a 30-minute pull-out session that meets daily at the elementary school. Children dance to learn the letter D, for example, while chanting the sound that goes with the letter. Welch is one of a growing number of teachers at her school trained in the method, known as the Orton-Gillingham Approach, which was originally designed to help children with and dyslexia and those struggling to read.