Structured Literacy

The Southport CoLAB is proud to be an Orton-Gillingham Training Program, accredited by the Orton-Gillingham Academy.


For years now, we have been training educators in the greater community, and that has been incredibly rewarding. Teachers from public and independent schools are empowered to go back into their classrooms and use the Orton-Gillingham approach to help students unable to attend a school like TSS.

Theresa Collins, O-G Fellow & Trainer, Tutorial Department Head, Faculty Member

Structured Literacy is the umbrella term used by the International Dyslexia Association (IDA) to unify and encompass evidence-based programs and approaches that are aligned to the Knowledge and Practice Standards. Put simply, Structured Literacy is explicit, systematic teaching that focuses on phonological awareness, word recognition, phonics and decoding, spelling, and syntax at the sentence and paragraph levels.

At the Southport CoLAB we believe that Orton-Gillingham is the foundation of Structured Literacy and good literacy instruction.  It is not a program but an approach to teaching reading that can be applied to any quality literacy program. The Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners describes it as:

Orton-Gillingham is an instructional approach intended primarily for use with individuals who have difficulty with reading, spelling, and writing associated with dyslexia. It is most properly understood and practiced as an approach, not a method, program, system or technique. In the hands of a well-trained and experienced instructor, it is a powerful tool of exceptional breadth, depth, and flexibility. This approach is derived from two sources: first from a body of time-tested knowledge and practice that has been validated over the past 70 years, and second from scientific evidence about how individuals learn to read and write.*

*Resource: Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators



Need help understanding the levels of Orton-Gillingham training? Check out our Orton-Gillingham At a Glance chart. 

First page of the PDF file: Orton-GillingamLevels


“This training brought Orton-Gillingham to life for me. The presentation was lively, accessible, hands-on, and immediately useful. It has changed the way I observe and respond to my students; as a result, my teaching is increasingly targeted and effective.” 


Looking for quick solutions to problems that your students are having? Here isa Quick Tip for help with handwriting:

A rubber band or hair tie is a cheap and effective way to maintain the ideal tripod pencil grip. Wrap the rubber band around the wrist, twist it into a loop, and slip the end of the pencil into the small loop. The pencil has just enough stability to keep the wrist from wobbling.

You can find more Quick Tips here. 

Our current courses can be found here.

Interested in learning how to use educational technology to enhance your structured literacy lessons? The International Dyslexia Association (IDA) is now offering the session done by Theresa Collins & Sharon Plante, Technol-OGy: EdTech to Enhance Structured-Literacy Instruction for free! Watch it here.