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If you’re reading this, you’re probably already well-aware of the benefits of homeschooling. You get to know your child better as a student. You can create a learning experience that truly fits your child’s strengths, needs, and interests. You have so much more choice and flexibility!

But what if your child is struggling with something as fundamental as reading? What if something just isn’t clicking? How do you figure out how to help your child?

Researching programs for struggling readers can feel like wading through a graduate-level textbook on education theory for their parents. All that jargon just adds more uncertainty and stress to a situation that already feels very-high stake for parents.

So here’s a straightforward guide to a tried and tested approach reading instruction proven to help homeschoolers become stronger readers–and give their parents the tools to use this method on their own at home. This method is so common sense and straightforward, you don’t need to speak “teacherese” or have a degree in Education to understand how it works, why it works, and how to start using it with your child.

It’s called the Orton-Gillingham method, and for many struggling readers, it makes all the difference in learning to read and future academic success. Here is how this homeschool curriculum for struggling readers will make a huge difference for you and your child this year!

What is Orton-Gillingham?

Orton-Gillingham is the first-ever approach designed to address the most common problems that struggling readers have with literacy. It’s been around since the 1930s, and numerous studies have proven how effective it is. Many different reading programs have the Orton-Gillingham approach at their core, and some schools use it to support students with dyslexia.

The Orton-Gillingham approach uses phonics to teach reading. Although it can seem like a reading buzzword, “phonics” is just the idea that sounds have both individual letters and groups of letters to represent them in writing.

Teaching phonics starts out simple–think teaching the short “a” sound by using a picture of an “apple”–and gets into much for complex groupings of letters, like the letter group “tion” making the sound “shun.” Readers use their knowledge of these sounds to be able to put together words by recognizing patterns.

Where Orton-Gillingham shines is that it teaches phonics in a way that uses more of a  child’s senses than just seeing and hearing. Any parent will agree that children learn best through action and playing, and Orton-Gillingham blends sight, sound, touch, and movement to help children’s brains learn and master reading skills.

How Orton-Gillingham Works


So how does it work? What does an Orton-Gillingham lesson actually look like?

One of the biggest hallmarks of Orton-Gillingham is the lessons are very structured. There are consistent activities for each lesson that teach your child reading skills and strategies. They do activities that focus on hearing the sound, writing the sound, and what the sound looks like in words. They write using more than just a pencil and paper, for example in shaving cream or on their hand. They play games using the sound.

Because the lessons are so structured, Orton-Gillingham requires a lot of teacher–in this case, parent–involvement. Parents guide their children through the various steps and activities in each lesson and check for understanding along the way. That is why this homeschool curriculum for struggling readers helps both the child and the parent.  Both are involved in the entire reading process.

Here is a sample Orton-Gillingham lesson. These are not all of the steps, just a few to give you an idea of what an Orton-Gillingham lesson looks like in action!

Why Orton-Gillingham Works

Written English can seem illogical and wild, but there really is a method to what seems like madness. Orton-Gillingham teaches reading in a way that allows children to build their knowledge of letters and sounds with the confidence because they understand the reasoning behind these patterns. They can then apply this knowledge in their reading and writing.

Orton-Gillingham bases this teaching approach off of the very specific way in which humans learn to speak English, so learning to read and write mirrors learning how children naturally learned to speak. As they learn a new sound, they see how it interacts with other sounds they already know.

Orton-Gillingham checks and reviews previous skills frequently, so parents can be confident in their child’s progress and know exactly what they need to keep reviewing with their child. This frequent and consistent review also helps children retain what they’ve already learned and connect it to new learning.

Why Homeschooling Families Love Orton-Gillingham

 The PRIDE Reading Program is a homeschool curriculum for struggling readers and uses the Orton-Gillingham approach because it is so effective for so many struggling homeschoolers. And homeschooling parents love PRIDE because it takes the guesswork out of how to use Orton-Gillingham with their children.

Mary, who writes the blog Entirely at Home, explains, “You won’t have to struggle or work to plan out lessons for your student. The training program will equip you to teach your child from home just as a reading specialist, or tutor might.…I can honestly say that PRIDE Reading is a tool I wish I had access to during my time as a Special education teacher.”

Another reason homeschooling parents love the Orton-Gillingham approach because it targets their children’s individual reading needs. One such parent is Jenny, who writes, “This has made a HUGE difference in Gabe’s ability to retain his learning! I mean, I really cannot stress this too much. He’s remembering the next day and next what he’s learning. It’s actually pretty incredible!”

At the end of the day, Orton-Gillingham continues to be one of the most well-regarded approaches to reading instruction because it helps children when no other method or program seems to. Amy from Cattle Up On a Hill puts it perfectly:

“My struggling reader was becoming an independent reader. This was a priceless homeschool mom moment for me. After years of struggling, he wanted to read. You cannot put a price on that. I attribute this change in my son to the PRIDE Reading program cracking the code to his reading puzzle. There was a reader locked inside my son. We just hadn’t found the key yet.”

I Have a Resource for You!

Thank you so much for reading my post today and learning more about a homeschool curriculum for struggling readers. You might also enjoy reading my previous posts:

Homeschooling with Dyslexia

Homeschooling with Auditory Processing

10 TellTale Signs of Dyslexia During Home Learning


Please don’t leave without checking out the PRIDE Reading Program. The PRIDE Reading Program is an Orton-Gillingham curriculum that is used by teachers, tutors, and homeschooling parents worldwide with great success and is a homeschool curriculum for struggling readers that gets RAVE reviews!

PRIDE Reading Program



Karina Richland, M.A., is the author of the PRIDE Reading Program, a multisensory Orton-Gillingham reading, writing and comprehension curriculum that is available worldwide for parents, tutors, teachers and homeschoolers of struggling readers. Karina has an extensive background in working with students of all ages and various learning modalities. She has spent many years researching learning differences and differentiated teaching practices. You can reach her by email at or visit the website at

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