Every child a reader? Unfortunately, this is not the case. With the added challenge of missing valuable time in the classroom during the pandemic, many children are not reading at grade level. According to the article “Taught or Not” published in the Independent, only 46.5 percent of students meet the standard of reading proficiency. But, there is something very specific we can do to help children in need of explicit reading instruction.

The Santa Barbara Public Library offers training for teenagers and adults who would like to learn a scientific comprehensive approach to work one-on-one with struggling students from first through 4th grade. The Orton-Gillingham Approach (OG) is “a direct, explicit, multisensory, structured, sequential, diagnostic, and prescriptive way to teach literacy when reading, writing, and spelling does not come easily to individuals, such as those with dyslexia,” or to any student who is missing a basic understanding of phonemic awareness, rules of syllabication, etc.

I am currently tutoring two students for an hour each week, and it is truly a joyful experience. Even though I was an elementary school teacher for 25 years, I continue to learn so much about the reading process with this approach.

The Library’s OG Readers program is in high demand and needs more tutor volunteers aged 16 and up. The library will be offering three sessions of in-person training on Saturday, July 16, 23, and 30. Please email OGReaders@santabarbaraca.gov for more information.

Barbara Cronin Hershberg is president of Friends of the Santa Barbara Public Library.


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