We utilize the Barton Reading and Spelling System as our primary method of tutoring dyslexic students. Justwhat is this system? Here is a short history and description:
In the 1930s, Dr. Samuel Orton and his colleague Anna Gillingham created a highly original and unique method of teaching dyslexic individuals to read. This system is still in use today and is recognized as a most effective and proven approach. Other individuals over the years have expanded upon this system and adapted it to work in different situations, also with success; there are at least eight such systems.
Susan Barton, a reading specialist in San Jose, CA, trained in most of these Orton-Gillingham systems during the 1990s. With a knowledge of their strengths and weaknesses, she determined to produce a refinement of them that would not only be easier to learn and use, but would include enhancements in the areas of spelling, writing and grammar. The Barton Reading and Spelling System was released in 2000 and has proven itself over and over again. It is in use not only by thousands of tutors and parents in the U.S., it is also used in over 40 countries. Additionally, it has been adopted by dozens of school districts across the country as their primary approach to educating dyslexic students.
In 2009, the International Dyslexia Association inducted Susan Barton into the IDA Hall of Honor “for her outstanding achievements, contributions, and efforts; and her commitment and service to individuals in the field of dyslexia”.
FEATURES OF THE BARTON SYSTEM
The Barton Reading and Spelling System utilizes all of the features of the classic Orton-Gillingham System that have made it successful. In addition to these, Ms. Barton has developed additional features that foster an even wider range of literacy skills. But in brief, what are the principal elements of the original system?
The Orton-Gillingham System is a research based and tested method that is successful with dyslexics. Its basic principles are:
• Simultaneous, multisensory language instruction
To enhance memory and learning, the teacher simultaneously integrates visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and tactile activities.
• Systematic (sequential and cumulative) instruction
Skills are taught according to their level of difficulty, with easiest skills introduced first, review of previously introduced material before moving on, and introduction of new material as a continuation of the previous lesson.
• Direct instruction, with each task broken into its components
The teacher never assumes that the student already knows or has mastered a skill. Instead, s(he) assumes that each component must be taught carefully and clearly.
• Diagnostic teaching based on continuous assessment of student needs
Progress monitoring is built into the system.
• Synthetic and analytic instruction
In synthetic instruction, the teacher presents the parts of the language and then teaches how the parts work together as a whole. In analytic instruction, language elements are broken down into their component parts.
Since 1998, Susan Barton has maintained an informational website covering all aspects of dyslexia. We recommend that you visit this site as a first step toward understanding more about dyslexia. There are many links to other sites, including research sites. The name of the site is Bright Solutions for Dyslexia. Its web address is www.brightsolutions.us.