For the past decade, Jan had her own private reading remediation practice in Fairfield County and the Hamptons (summers). She started as a public high school English teacher of junior English (both advanced and basic levels), before shifting to become a community college lecturer, then becoming a learning center reading specialist using the Orton-Gillingham approach before becoming a private reading specialist.
Jan holds two Ivy League degrees, was credentialed as an award-winning high school English teacher, and trained in Connecticut’s only Orton Gillingham institution where she worked directly under a Fellow, who later sat on the Academy’s Board of Directors. In addition to learning the OG approach, Jan used the Wilson Reading System, FUNdations, SPIRE, and the Language Tool Kits.
The Orton GIllingham approach has been validated by the test of time– for 75 years, diagnosing educational psychologists have recognized that it is the best means of remediating diagnosed dyslexia. Dyslexia affects 15% of the population with reading challenges comprising 85% of Special Education referrals. However, the public schools have not conquered this problem, as the typical SpEd student enters the program reading two grade levels behind his peers, and he exits the program still reading two grade levels behind his peers. The Orton Gilliingham approach actually closes skill gaps, rather than simply making progress.
Among the attributes that make the OG approach unique are its emotional sensitivity and its customization. The Orton Gillingham practitioner creates a lesson for that individual’s specific needs and skill levels in order for him/her to achieve 80% or better accuracy. During the lesson, the specialist adjusts the lesson’s administration accordingly to realize that result. Allowing such a curated sense of competency to emerge (albeit in a vacuum) builds a newfound sense of confidence in written-language capability for the dyslexic student. Also, the Orton Gillingham approach, because it is not a program (pre-scripted) or a one-size fits all curriculum, permits the instructional intensity necessary to closing deficits. There is no need for covering ground already familiar to the student, and there is the freedom to bear down on those skills eluding the student.