A Framework for Examining Reading-Related Education Research and The Curious Case of Orton-Gillingham


  • Kristin Sayeski University of Georgia
  • David P. Hurford Pittsburg State University




Practitioners seeking an evidence-based reading intervention program for students with specific learning disabilities can fall unknowingly into the research-to-practice gap. Although a vast body of research demonstrates the importance of specific elements of effective reading instruction, current research on the efficacy of individual intervention programs remains weak. To wit, in 2021, Stevens et al. published a meta-analysis on Orton-Gillingham-based reading interventions. The Stevens et al. publication echoed the findings of a similar review conducted by Ritchey and Goeke in 2006: Most studies examining Orton Gillingham are of poor quality. Despite the scarcity of high-quality research on individual programs or approaches, education research can be used to inform the selection of reading intervention programs. In this article, we present a series of questions practitioners can use when evaluating the potential efficacy of a reading program. As each question is posed, we use Orton-Gillingham as an example of how the question could be explored.