The Language Training tutorial forms the backbone of Kildonan's academic program. Each student at Kildonan receives daily one-to-one language skills tutoring using the Orton-Gillingham approach. Material taught during the tutorial is reinforced during daily, proctored study halls. Everything about the language training experience, from the multi-sensory, structured teaching approach to the materials used and structured study environment derives from what we know about the needs of the dyslexic learner.
Kildonan uses a pure Orton-Gillingham approach. Many programs are offshoots of Orton-Gillingham, like Wilson Language and Alphabetic Phonics, begin at a basic level and progress in a specific sequence dictated by the program. Pure Orton-Gillingham, in contrast, is an approach rather than a program; that distinction allows us to meet the child at the level of his or her need and make informed decisions about the direction the curriculum should take. Students come to Kildonan with a wide range of language skills; therefore, the content of the tutorial is diverse. The Orton-Gillingham approach is, by nature, diagnostic and prescriptive. On any given day, one student may be working on developing sound/symbol relationships, reading and spelling one-syllable words, composing basic sentences, and reading a beginning level trade book. Another student in the same grade may be studying the meanings of Latin prefixes, reviewing the major spelling rules, outlining an essay, and reading from a classic, young adult novel. Although the specific content differs for each student, the underlying goal is to address language skills in the following areas:
- Phonemic Awareness and Word Attack skills
- Spelling (encoding)
- Reading Comprehension
- Reading Fluency
- Expository Writing (composition)
- Handwriting and/or Keyboarding
Language Training tutors are prepared to teach an extensive array of skills within each of those areas.