* It is language based, a technique of studying and teaching language, understanding the nature of human language, the mechanisms involved in learning, and the language-learning processes in individuals.
Orton-Gillingham introduces the elements of the language systematically. Students begin by reading and writing in sound isolation. Then they blend sounds into syllables and words. Consonants, vowels, digraphs, blends and diphthongs are learned sequentially. Then they go to syllable types, roots and affixes. Finally, vocabulary, fluency and comprehension are addressed in the same structured, cumulative way. As the student is taught new material, they are always in review of the old until it is demonstrated with automaticity.
* It is a cognitive approach, in that its students learn about the history of the English language and study the rules and exceptions of its structure, and how they can proficiently apply it for themselves. It is flexible so that the teacher can study and understand each student to develop appropriate reading strategies, individually.