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M.A. Rooney Orton-Gillingham (OG) Philosophy

The M.A. Rooney Foundation provides OG training and professional learning support to ensure that all kids learn how to read!  


Research shows that preventative instruction, especially in the earliest grades (Kindergarten/1st grade), is more effective than remediation. Our Orton-Gillingham (OG) model is based around this preventative approach. 

What is Orton-Gillingham?

The Orton-Gillingham approach utilizes evidence-based procedures and activities to maximize the opportunities for students to apply and retain skills.  OG varies from traditional phonics instruction by its emphasis on the following instructional components:

  • Systematic – Daily lessons utilize logical lesson sequences through routine procedures. Systematic instruction allows students to attend to the important elements of the lesson – the content, not the directions.

  • Explicit – An “I do.  We do.  You do.” direct instruction model provides students with the necessary support to apply new skills. Explicit instruction eliminates guesswork and reduces misunderstanding.

  • Synthetic – New skills are taught in a part to whole approach and in a scaffolded manner. Each skill is intentionally taught for spiral review and application. Synthetic phonics instruction typically utilizes a back-mapping approach to identify essential skills, which are then sequenced based on the prerequisite nature of subskills.

  • Multisensory – The brain processes (retrieves, responds, and retains) information using a complex wiring system. Through procedures that involve visual, tactile/kinesthetic, and auditory exercises, information can be more efficiently processed by the brain.

Our Model

Reading is a complex process that involves supporting students to develop skills in three primary areas of learning:

·    automatic word recognition (decoding)

·    language development (vocabulary and background knowledge)

·    strategic knowledge (comprehension skills and strategies)

While all three areas must be supported, the M.A. Rooney Foundation’s primary mission is to ensure that educators have the training and resources they need to support students in developing grade-level decoding skills. Our approach in reaching that goal is to utilize the Orton-Gillingham approach.


Teachers we train are encouraged to deliver our grade-level specific, daily 45-minute whole group OG lessons within a tier 1 general education K-2 classroom setting.

Prevention is Key

For many students learning to read is unnatural and poses great frustration. Historically these students struggle for many years before they are identified and even then, many may not have access to an adult that is able to understand how to best support them.


We believe failure is not an option for students. Research on the importance of screening and early identification of students to identify reading problems argues that prevention and early remediation are most effective in improving the trajectory for students. Our model supports a whole-class OG approach as part of a daily literacy framework in Kindergarten through Second Grade. This proactive preventative approach provides a solid foundation for all students, reduces the number of students needing interventions, and minimizes the instructional gap of those students that are at-risk.


In addition to utilizing a whole-class preventative approach, we support the early identification of students that are at risk of developing reading difficulty through universal screening. Informal diagnostic assessments are administered to identify error patterns for data-driven instruction.


The Indiana Department of Education has approved the M. A. Rooney Foundation as a vendor for:

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