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Multisensory Tutoring: Tips for Online Orton-Gillingham Lessons

You may be wondering how you can still keep your Orton-Gillingham lesson plans multisensory while teaching online. These simple tips will show you how.

Multisensory instruction, which engages multiple senses to support learning, is an essential element for students with dyslexia. Orton-Gillingham is well-known for its use of multisensory teaching methods, which can include visual, auditory, and kinesthetic elements. The goal is to create multiple pathways in the brain for retrieving and remembering information, and to link the student's strengths to areas that are more challenging. While multisensory teaching can include fun and interactive activities, it is also possible to make learning multisensory in simple ways that can be more effective for students who may already be experiencing a lot of sensory input through increased screen time.

Adapting to the challenges of online teaching may present unique obstacles, one of which is ensuring that learning remains multisensory. In a traditional in-person setting, it is often easier to incorporate different materials and activities that engage multiple senses, such as manipulatives and interactive games. However, when teaching remotely, it can be more challenging to replicate these types of experiences. It is important to remember that multisensory teaching is not just about using fun and fancy materials, but rather about engaging the senses of sight, hearing, and touch or movement in order to support the student's learning. By creating multiple pathways in the brain for the student to retrieve information, they are able to remember and link their learning strengths to the challenging aspects of the lesson. Another important aspect of multisensory teaching is creating a fun and engaging atmosphere. Even though you may not be able to use fancy manipulatives or interactive activities, you can still make learning fun by incorporating games and interactive activities that can be done remotely. Additionally, you can make use of different platforms to keep the learning environment fresh and interactive.

Here are some helpful tips for keeping your lessons multisensory.

One strategy for adapting to online teaching is to create a toolkit for students that can be sent through mail. This toolkit should include lightweight, easy-to-mail manipulatives that students can use during their lessons. Examples of materials that could be included in the toolkit are felt squares, plastic counters, a piece of plastic canvas, or textured scrapbooking paper. These materials can be used to make the learning experience more interactive and multisensory, even in an online setting.

Additionally, it is important to have clear audio during online lessons, as listening is a key component of multisensory instruction. To help students differentiate sounds, remind them to watch your mouth, and consider using a good quality headset to enhance the audio experience.

Utilize Multiple Senses: To enhance the effectiveness of online learning, it's crucial to involve various senses in the lesson. Students may require extra encouragement to use multisensory methods when writing, but this can be achieved by having them say, sound out, spell, and say the letters while writing, and rereading the word. This approach not only allows for easy monitoring of the writing process, but also engages the students' ears, eyes, mouths, and hands in the process. Additionally, incorporating multisensory techniques in error correction, such as tracing and verbalizing letters and sounds, can also greatly improve the learning experience.

Incorporate interactive games into the lesson plan, such as letter tile manipulation games. Although digital interactions may not provide the same level of feedback as physical manipulatives, it still helps keep students engaged and activate multiple areas of the brain. An alternative is to provide printable versions of the game to parents for students to play in between online sessions. 

Include physical activity in the form of short breaks. With the increase of virtual learning, students are spending long periods of time sitting in front of screens. To alleviate this, incorporating movement into their learning can be beneficial. For example, students can spell out learned words while doing jumping jacks, or incorporate other forms of gross motor movement as a break. This not only adds a physical component to their learning, but also provides an important opportunity to stretch and move their bodies.

Incorporate annotating tools to enhance the multisensory learning experience. These tools can be used by students to segment words, identify phrases or locate morphemes. The method of access may vary depending on the device used by the student, whether it be through a video conferencing software, a tablet app, or a shared document.

Incorporating interactive elements, such as colored squares, in a digital presentation can enhance the multisensory experience for students. These squares can be used as a visual aid to manipulate various language elements, such as sounds, letters, and syllables. This technique can be beneficial for students at different levels, for example, a beginner may use it to break down simple words into their individual phonemes, while a more advanced student can use it to analyze complex words and identify their different parts such as prefixes, roots, and suffixes.

Incorporating multisensory strategies into online learning can greatly enhance a student's engagement and understanding. From creating toolkits to incorporating movement and annotation tools, there are many ways to make virtual instruction more interactive and effective. If you are looking for top-notch tutors who utilize these strategies, be sure to check out Learn with Koala. Our team of experienced educators are dedicated to providing the best possible online learning experience for students of all ages and skill levels. You can find and book those classes at this page.

Happy Learning!

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