Frequently Asked Questions

What’s Orton-Gillingham?

Orton-Gillingham is a powerful approach to teaching reading and spelling. Trained Orton-Gillingham practitioners have had remarkable success with the program’s multisensory approach for over 70 years. Although the program is best known for its effectiveness in teaching those with dyslexia, Orton-Gillingham methods can be adapted to benefit all developing readers. For more information, please click here.

The Orton-Gillingham Academy is an international accreditation. OGA is also the original form of the Orton-Gillingham Approach directly connected to Dr. Orton and Anna Gillingham. Therefore anyone who has trained with AOGPE can say that they have been ‘generationally’ directly trained by Orton and Gillingham.

Who teaches this course?

* Dr. Valdine Bjornson, EdD (FIT/OGA) teaches both the Classroom Educator and Associate OGA courses. Valdine is a Certified Reading Clinician and EAL specialist who has worked with students from Preschool to University, both in Manitoba and International (private and public) schools including Japan, Finland, and Egypt. She completed a Doctor of Education focused upon adults with dyslexia. Valdine is also accredited as a Tier 3 Dyslexia Specialist/ Dyslexia Therapist with the International Dyslexia Association(CDT/IDA).

Valdine has trained with the following professionals/individuals:

  • public school divisions across Manitoba (Louis Riel, Evergreen, Interlake, Rolling River, Prairie Rose, St. James-Assiniboia, etc.)

  • private schools – Rotherglen School (Ontario), private Catholic schools, Springs Christian Academy and St. John’s Ravenscourt

  • First Nations School System – Manitoba First Nations Education Resource Centre; Split Lake, MB

  • other professionals and parents from across Canada (from British Columbia to New Brunswick to Qatar and California)

More about Valdine Bjornson: Valdine Bjornson has earned an M.Ed., Special Education Certificate as well as C-TESL and a Graduate Certificate in International Education. She is working on becoming an OG trainer (Fellow) with the Orton-Gillingham Academy. She has worked in several Manitoba school divisions in both rural and urban settings. She has served as a Reading Clinician in public & private schools and private practice. Valdine provides workshops, training, and professional development, and she has founded the Reading and Learning Clinic of Manitoba, to provide effective and evidence-based teacher development opportunities in Manitoba. She is currently a Reading Specialist at the Indigenous Student Centre at the University of Manitoba. Please see her professional website for more details.

*Dawn Nieman is a Supervising Accredited Training Fellow of the Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators and a highly experienced practitioner. Applicants can apply directly to her for CE, Associate, and Certified levels for accreditation with OGA. She is the founder of Niemanville, through which she provides one-on-one tutoring for dyslexic students, trains teachers in public and private school and university settings, and creates teaching materials.

More about Dawn Nieman: Highly experienced Orton-Gillingham practitioner and Fellow at the Orton-Gillingham Academy. Her dynamic, rigorous trainings have been extremely well-received by both new and experienced teachers.

She is the owner of Niemanville. Niemanville is designed with the Dyslexic student in mind. Niemanville trains teachers in the Orton-Gillingham Approach as well as individually tutors students. In addition, Niemanville also creates teaching materials for use in Orton-Gillingham lesson plans. Check out their new website at

Dawn has instructed at a variety of settings from University, public school districts and private schools.

The Orton-Gillingham Academy is an international accreditation. OGA is also the original form of the Orton-Gillingham Approach directly connected to Dr. Orton and Anna Gillingham. Therefore anyone who has trained with AOGPE can say that they have been ‘generationally’ directly trained by Orton and Gillingham.

I want to get accredited. Is this the right training for me?

Yes. Although many in-person and online organizations claim to train teachers in Orton-Gillingham, only courses taught by Fellows of the AOGPE count toward official accreditation.

This is a certification-track course approved by the Academy of Orton Gillingham Practitioners and Educators and taught by a highly experienced AOGPE Fellow and Fellow-in-Training. Many teachers choose to take this course but do not choose to become certified by the Academy. Teachers wanting to certify as an Orton-Gillingham Classroom Educator or Associate practitioner must be aware that certification requires an additional commitment and expense beyond the present course.accreditation.

When I complete the course, am I accredited?

No. Accreditation requires a practicum supervised by an OGA Fellow. This is an extensive process that includes a minimum number of teaching hours and a set number of observations and follow-up conferences. It also requires an additional financial investment. The practicum process is arranged directly with your supervising Fellow. Requirements for the range of accreditation options can be found at the Orton Gillingham Academy (OGA) website.

AOGPE will only list you as an accredited OG tutor with OGA if you have completed the CE and Associate training and practicum (which is a total of 10 observations/lesson plans). After having completed accreditation (training plus practicum) you could also apply to other organizations for equivalent titles such as the International Dyslexia Association. Please click here for details regarding equivalent accreditation through IDA such as Structured Literacy/Dyslexia Interventionist and Specialist.

Equivalent to IDA STRUCTURED LITERACY Teacher & Interventionist

The Center for Effective Reading Instruction (CERI), an affiliate of the International Dyslexia Association (IDA), is pleased to offer professional certificates and certifications to qualified individuals teaching and supporting reading in public and private general, remedial, and special education settings. These certificates and certifications include:

CERI certificates and certifications reflect the common features of national and international certifying body standards that define the minimum requirements for a professional certification program to be considered valid and reliable. Included among these features are stakeholder involvement and the separation of candidate training activities from certification activities.

CERI certificates and certifications were developed with the input of multiple stakeholder groups, including, but not limited to: general educators and remedial reading interventionists employed in public and private settings; higher education faculty; reading researchers; speech language pathologists; independent educator training organizations and companies reflecting a variety of programs and approaches; public and private school administrators; state department of education representatives. When establishing the minimum total practicum hours and impact requirements for certified Structured Literacy/Dyslexia Interventionists and Structured Literacy/Dyslexia Specialists for example, CERI carefully evaluated the scientific research concerning impaired readers’ response to interventions provided, consulted researchers within the field, evaluated supervised practicum requirements of other independent reading certification programs and approaches, and secured input from multiple stakeholders through committees and public comment initiatives.

CERI certificates and certifications are an objective measure of a professional’s level of expertise as defined by the profession, not by a particular educational program provider or training organization. Candidates who complete a training program or course of study in a specific reading approach or program may be awarded a “certification” by the program or organization; however, these differ from the professional certifications issued by CERI. Rather, certifications awarded by organizations and agencies that also engage in candidate training and education recognize candidates for having met the learning outcomes and targets that the provider has identified for their program or approach. In contrast, professional certifications issued by CERI verify that a reading professional has achieved a baseline level of professional competence as defined by the profession, independent of any particular program, approach, or product.

I’m not interested in accreditation. Can I still attend the class(es)?

Absolutely. Many teachers find the instructional techniques and knowledge base transformative for their students and their teaching even if they don’t pursue accreditation.

Any individual can take the Classroom Educator training without the practicum.

*Effective for November 2022 Associate course – all registrants must complete 2 formal small-group lesson observations *

However to become formally accredited, fully completed training hours and all practicum hours are required.

Bachelors degrees are required for formal accreditation with AOGPE. Every trainee will be provided a certificate of completion following any training if they have attended all of the training hours.

What’s the difference between the Classroom Educator and Associate levels?

Classroom Educator is designed for classroom teachers and learning specialists who work with small groups, or anyone working within the context of RTI Tiers 1 and 2. AOGPE Associate Level is an advanced course and requires the AOGPE Classroom Educator course as a prerequisite. There are no exceptions. Associate level is a total number of training hours from CE and Associate training together.

*Effective for November 2022 Associate course*

1 formal observation (lesson plans, video recordings, & consult time) of small group to whole class practice is required prior to taking the ASSOCIATE LEVEL COURSE. This formal lesson can be applied to the formal OGA practicum. Each required lesson is 175 Cdn or USD.

The Associate Level course is geared towards teachers who wish to work in a Tier 3 (1:1) situation. Trainees deepen their knowledge of dyslexia; learn to interpret and use the results of neuropsychological testing; expand their basic knowledge of the structure of English to include intermediate phonics and Latin and Greek roots; learn approaches to teaching grammar and writing skills; and engage in a mock tutoring session.

Click here more information regarding the practicum.

More information regarding regarding the Classroom Educator and Associate level courses.

Orton-Gillingham Academy

Is the Classroom Educator/Associate OGA training for (elementary) teachers only?

Our curriculum for Classroom Educator provides the logic behind 25% of the English language (Anglo Saxon). The Associate training covers Latin (academic language) which is 55% of our language as well as composition and grammar. For both trainings, we also explain dyslexia, reading development, instruction, and assessment for whole class to 1:1 contexts.

In the training, we have had:

  • school psychologists

  • speech and language pathologists

  • administrators

  • literacy specialists

  • parents

  • classroom teachers

  • educational assistants.

What is the Orton-Gillingham Practicum?

Formal OGA Practicum

Formal OGA practicum fees waived when working with RLCM’s students:

  • last 5 lessons of practicum (8 months minimum) after Associate course completion

Please contact for more details: [email protected]

The practicum is to provide increased fidelity and professional coaching in the field. Each practitioner will be provided feedback on submitted lesson plans and observed lesson plan delivery. The goal is to support the trainee with using the OG approach to maximize its effectiveness and encourage the professional growth of the trainee.

For the CE practicum, you will need to complete 5 lessons plans along with 5 observations with a group of 2 or up to a whole class for a minimum of 8 months (and Associate would be 5 more, 1:1 up to 8 months).

The practicum is the single most effective method to insure that the 4 days are put to good use and that the trainee is able to follow through with the intense CE training. You will have up to 2 years following CE training to complete the practicum. It is preferred if you keep, as much as possible, the same student(s) for the duration of the practicum. Also, you are unable to use your own child for the practicum.

After CE training, you can take the Associate level training without the practicum. However, if you would like to take the Certified level of training, you will need to take the practicum. Further if you wish to apply for official membership at the Classroom Educator or Associate level with AOGPE, you will need to take the practicum. Also, if you wish to be listed with AOGPE as an OG tutor, you will need to complete the practicum for the Associate level.

* The observed lessons can be provided by video recording, in-person and live-stream. A signed consent form from parents/guardians will be required for children’s observations. *

Cost of Practicum

Practicum Fee: each observed lesson is $200 USD or Canadian Dollar depending upon the observing Fellow (typically the lessons alternate between USD and Cdn dollar). Dawn Nieman (ATF/OGA) and Valdine Bjornson (FIT/OGA) will take turns with the formal observations. Currently you can complete your first formal lesson for formal CE or Associate practicum immediately following completion of the course. From lesson 2, there might be a waitlist. Please contact for details. 

Please click here for more information.

You might prefer:

OG Coaching

The Orton-Gillingham Coaching option (virtual or in-person) is for those who would like to have support with implementing OG lessons with their students but are not interested in pursuing the formal practicum. It might be for individuals who are looking for:

  • demonstration of lessons

  • observation of lessons

  • consult with OG practice

  • feedback on anything related to the Orton-Gillingham procedures, sequencing, lesson implementation, goal setting, progress monitoring, etc.

Examples might be:

  • Working as a team with student(s) for co-delivery

  • providing the entire or parts of an OG lesson for feedback

OG Coaching fee: $100/coaching session

Click here more information regarding the practicum.

More information regarding regarding the Classroom Educator and Associate level courses.

How do I get support after training?

The Reading and Learning Clinic of Manitoba is committed to the best possible results for trainees and their students. We are committed to partnerships and supporting practice in the field. Whether it be phone calls, emails or a formal practicum, we will be there to support you on your professional journey.

We also offer FREE OG -Meet-ups.

Another helpful option is our YouTube channel. If you are interested in watching key elements for Orton-Gillingham lessons, please contact us and you will be provided the link.

Following training:

  • Upon completion of the coursework, trainees may audit the course again at no extra charge.

Also see: OGA Practicum and Coaching

I’m a speech-language pathologist or school psychologist. Is this training right for me?

Many SLPs or school psychologists take this training and find that it significantly enhances their knowledge base and ability to support their clients, including recommendations and strategies.

I’m not a teacher. Can I take the training anyway?

Yes. Many parents take the training in order to support their own children. However, you should be aware that if you are interested in accreditation, a university degree is required.

Can I take the training if I don't have a bachelor's degree?

Yes. Anyone can take the OGA training for Classroom Educator and Associate level. You can also take both training even if you don’t take the formal practicum.

Anyone who has taken the training could also choose to take the formal practicum with observed lessons, submitted lesson plans and time for consult. I could also provide feedback and observations if an informal practicum is chosen.

For all of the above, you could say that you have taken CE or Associate courses with OGA. However, you could not be formally accredited. For all of the training, a certificate of completion/attendance is provided.

Formal accreditation from OGA requires a bachelor’s degree. You would need to have a bachelors degree (in anything) to be formally accredited to have CE or Associate membership with OGA. This is helpful for credentials but also if someone contacts OGA, they will have a list of the formally accredited OGA instructors.

Please click here for more information.

How can I start tutoring or complete CE OGA course & formal practicum for free with the RLCM?

There is a need for 1:1 or small group tutors who have strong fidelity and commitment to learning. The Reading and Learning Clinic is looking for quality tutors who have been trained through our OGA courses.

If you would like to tutor with the RLCM, to be part of our tutoring team and have coaching & resources support, please contact after the CE course completion.

If you would like to complete the formal practicum for ‘free’ (final 5 formal lesson observations $1000 value) you must complete the Associate course first. You will be part of our tutoring team therefore your tutoring time will also be reimbursed.*Applications for the ‘free’ practicum are only accepted after successfully completing BOTH CE and ASSOCIATE OGA courses.*

*minimum 6 hours/week and 8 months commitment*

Tutors must be willing to be observed, receive feedback and collaborate with OG practitioner team.


  • Mentoring and coaching

  • Professional Development and learning

  • Access to professional materials and resources

  • Opportunity to collaborate with dynamic team who are dedicated to support ALL learners


  • Reference from current employer
  • Previous experience with teaching, learning disabilities, and working in education related fields
  • Passion for literacy and LD students

Following the Associate course, please send your resume along with cover letter to [email protected] The coursework will also act as a mechanism to gauge suitability and skill of applicant.

Many tutors find that the skills and techniques learned in the Classroom Educator and Associate courses significantly enhance their practice. That said, you cannot claim to be accredited to work 1:1 unless you have completed the training and practicum at the Associate Level. Our recommendation is that you complete the Classroom Educator training and decide at that point how best to pursue your personal goals. If you intend to continue your training, we generally recommend waiting six months to a year between Classroom Educator and Associate training.

Am I required to purchase materials?

No. For Classroom Educator, all materials will be provided online (with options of purchase) and you are encouraged to purchase The Gillingham Manual (Green, 8th Edition) by Gillingham and Stillman. You do not need to purchase any materials, although some teachers choose to purchase additional pre-made card collections available on the instructor’s website ( The Reading and Learning Clinic of Manitoba has other course materials that are optional but might support your OG lesson delivery and practice.

These are an entirely optional convenience; you can make all materials yourself.

Your course fee covers all aspects of the workshop and online access to a set of phoneme cards and all resources and materials to get you started with OG practice.

What is the training like?

According to the Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators standards, we must run all of our training with synchronous attendance.

ONLINE – We use Zoom with password protection and a wait room before entry to the class. During the sessions, we will all have our video screens on. We prefer as much interaction as possible including the use of break out rooms and working through lesson components.

IN-PERSON (northeast area of Winnipeg) – Limited seating and only provide if registrant has confirmed with RLCM at the time of registration

Course materials are provided online for both in-person and online options.

Trainees must attend 24 of 30 hours synchronously to be provided a certificate of attendance/completion. The sessions will be recorded and a link will be provided, upon request. Recorded sessions will not be downloadable but will be available up to 48 hours following that specific training date. We offer this in case internet connections are disrupted and for emergency situations for attendees.

What are the Special Education Professional Development hours?

Through Manitoba Certification:

Section 2(b): Professional Development – OPTIONAL

Twenty (20) contact hours of approved professional development in special education related topics is equivalent to one (1) hour towards Section 2(a): Electives.

If completing twelve (12) credit hours of university course electives in special education to complete a degree for a salary reclassification, professional development is not required or mandatory for certification purposes.

Completing only approved professional development will not fulfill the Special Education Teacher’s certificate. See number: 2. a. and 2. b.

Professional development contact hours are not university credit hours and are not eligible for degree requirements.

Are group rate discounts, scholarships, and grants offered?

Discount applies for groups of 3 or more from same school at same session.

Large group rate applies for groups of 8 up to 24 for stand-alone sessions. 

For all group rates – fees must be received in single payment. REQUIRES PRIOR APPROVAL FROM RLCM.

Also see our scholarships and grants page. Click here.

Will lunch, snacks, or beverages be provided at the in-person training sessions?

Lunch, snacks, or beverages will not be served. The course has a shortened lunch and attendees might prefer to bring a bagged lunch.

What are others saying about our training and tutoring services?

Please refer to the testimonial page to hear from professional and families about our services!

Can I pay by credit card?

Credit card or PayPal account payments can be completed via an invoice sent using PayPal. There will be an added $20.00 processing fee.