Why the Barton System Works So Well
Orton Gillingham is a structured language approach that is different in both what is taught (reading and spelling are taught as related subjects) and how it is taught (the methodology).
Our system is a multi-sensory, direct, explicit, structured and sequential program designed for intense intervention. Click here for detailed information.
My name is Laurie Cuddy. I live in Southern Oregon, where I have a private practice tutoring and consulting.
I have been working with dyslexics using Orton-Gillingham since 1983. For about twenty years I worked at the Kildonan School in Amenia, NY (www.kildonan.org), where I was the Director of Language Training (all students at Kildonan have one-on-one OG tutoring every day) and also directed the summer program, Dunnabeck at Kildonan. I was trained and mentored by Diana Hanbury King and am a Fellow of the Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators. I have done quite a bit of teacher training as well.
Ten years ago, I took the plunge and moved to Oregon to be closer to my family. I love it here and enjoy tutoring every day without being so all-consumed by life at a boarding school.
I had, of course, heard of the Barton System for years, but I only started using it recently after Susan came to Oregon to speak.
I am so impressed with everything about the Barton System, particularly because it enables the lay person to teach dyslexics. The Barton System is superb.
It gives access to excellent Orton-Gillingham based tutoring for parents who can’t afford to send their child to a private school like Kildonan.
Laurie E. Cuddy, Fellow
Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators
Watch a demo of the Barton System
Research & Evidence Based
Here are 15 independent studies from public and private schools across the nation that prove the effectiveness of the Barton Reading & Spelling System.
Florida 3 Month Pilot Program
In 2013, a Duval County public school did a pilot program with 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students who had a record of significant reading deficiency. They provided an hour of small group intervention (3 students) every day using the Barton Reading & Spelling System.
On the Word Attack subtest of the Woodcock Reading Mastery 3 test, students showed an average grade-level gain of over 1 year – after just 3 months of small-group intervention.
On the easyCBM, a nationally normed test of reading fluency and comprehension which is aligned with the Common Core State Standards, on a grade-level passage, Barton students increased their score by 61.9 percentile points in just 3 months.
To view the results, click here.
Pennsylvania 3 Year Study
Penn Christian Academy, a private Christian School in Butler, Pennsylvania, started a Reading Assistance program using the Barton Reading & Spelling System for students identified as dyslexic.
Data from the years 2010 to 2013 included a range of students from first graders to sixth graders. They received three 40-minute sessions each week, for a total of 2 hours of one-on-one tutoring a week, which is the absolute minimum amount of time required to use the Barton System with fidelity. No intervention occurred during the 3 month summer breaks.
These students showed outstanding growth – far more growth than students without dyslexia typically make – no matter which reading test was used.
To view the results, click here.
Florida Center for Reading Research
The mission of the Florida Center for Reading Research (FCRR) is:
- To conduct basic research on reading, reading growth, reading assessment, and reading instruction that will contribute to the scientific knowledge of reading and benefit students in Florida and throughout the nation
- To disseminate information about research-based practices related to literacy instruction and assessment for children in pre-school through 12th grade.
- To conduct applied research that will have an immediate impact on policy and practices related to literacy instruction in Florida.
- To provide technical assistance to Florida’s schools and to the State Department of Education for the improvement of literacy outcomes in students from pre-K through 12th grade.
Florida Center for Reading Research published a glowing report on the Barton Reading & Spelling System on their website. To read their report, click here.
Arkansas RTI Study
The Benton School District in Arkansas implemented an early intervention, Response To Intervention (RTI) program in all four of their elementary schools. They screened their kindergarten and first grade students using Dibels to identify students at risk of reading failure — and used Dibels to monitor the success of each type of intervention.
The Barton Reading & Spelling System was used as Tier 3 Intervention for students in the highest risk category. Groups of no more than 3 students received Barton tutoring at least 3 times a week for 30 minutes per session.
To view the spectacular results of this study, click here.
Florida Dyslexia Study – more than 2 years gain in 40 weeks
Independent research conducted in Florida at two different Speech-Language clinics showed more than 2 years of gain in decoding and reading comprehension, and more than 1.5 years of gain in fluency, after 40 weeks of one-on-one Barton tutoring.
All of the participants had documented reading deficits due to dyslexia. They ranged from first graders to sixth graders. 52% of the children came from households below the poverty level.37% attended public school, 31.5% attended private school, and 31.5% were homeschooled.
Students were pre and post tested using the Phonetic Reading Test (PRT).
To read the study, and their impressive results, click here.
Spelling Improvement Study
The Barton System teaches spelling as strongly as it teaches reading, and the improvement in spelling shows up quickly on Florida’s new FAIR spelling assessment, as this teacher reported.
I have been using your program for 3 years and I love it! I have seen results that are amazing! When my principal asked our staff to reflect on one practice that has made a difference, I told her it was my working for 30 minutes each day in small groups using the Barton System — and the data proves the impact it has on spelling.
In August, according to the FAIR spelling assessment:
7 students < 20th percentile
9 students 21st percentile to 49th percentile
5 students > 80th percentile
In December, every single student made significant gains except the two who were already at the 91st and 98th percentile.
1 student < 20th percentile
2 students 21st to 49th percentile
6 student 50th to 79th percentile
12 students > 80th percentile
The most significant gains were made by my lowest 2 reader/spellers. One went from 19th percentile to 49th percentile. The other went from 19thpercentile to 69th percentile. And two of my good readers who had been poor spellers went up 68 percentile points each.
Fleming Island, FL
West Virginia Special Education Study
Although this study only included 6 special education students who were classified as Learning Disabled, it tracked those students over two years. The first year they did not receive Barton tutoring. The second year they received two 45-minute one-on-one tutoring sessions per week.
Their growth, per their results on the state standards tests, are as follows:Grade at
Reading LevelYear End
Mineral Wells Elementary
Mineral Wells, WV
Texas TAKS Study
Three years ago, we started using the Barton Reading & Spelling System in a small way in our district. We had 7 students who had not been able to pass the TAKS end-of-year statewide standards test.
They flunked it all 3 times they were allowed to take it.After only 9 months of one-on-one Barton tutoring for 45 minutes a day, all 7 students passed the TAKS test — 2 with commendations, and 2 with perfect scores.
Last year, we expanded our use of the Barton System to the 55 students identified with dyslexia in grades 3, 4, 5, and 6. At the end of those grades, 53 of the 55 passed the TAKS test the first time they took it. (The 2 students who did not pass started Barton tutoring very late in the school year.)
That’s why this year, we will be using the Barton Reading & Spelling System with struggling students in every school in our district.
Ernie Maldanado, Dyslexia Specialist
Weslaco School District
Alaska Dyslexia Study – 2 years gain in 6 months
As part of a multi-year grant, four school districts in Alaska are testing students for dyslexia, then providing those students with one-on-one tutoring using the Barton Reading & Spelling System.
In early October, 45 of those students from grades 2 through 11 were given Form A of the GORT to establish “before” scores. Students in the elementary grades were then given 2 to 3 hours of one-on-one Barton tutoring per week. Middle and high school students received 5 hours per week. Those same 45 students were given form B of the GORT 6 months later, in April, to measure their progress.Their average growth rate was 2 years — in just 6 months of Barton tutoring. To view their before-and-after data, click here. Camille Booth, the director of the STRIVE Dyslexia Program shared that her program is now serving 140 students in four public school districts in or near Craig, Alaska.
To view the data from the study and details of the STRIVE Dyslexia Program, click here.
Florida Early Intervention Study
Discovery Elementary School in Palm Beach, Florida, screened all first graders in January using DIBELS. They took the 20 lowest-scoring at-highest-risk students and provided 3 months of small-group instruction using the Barton Reading & Spelling System. In April, after just 3 months of intervention, 17 of the 20 students scores were above the DIBELS benchmark in Nonsense Word Fluency, which tests the ability to read by sounding out.
Their before-after scores were:StudentNWF BeforeNWF After% increaseA21124490 %B234491 %C0, No Score42D505612 %E2381800 %F0, No Score40G475313 %H2371209 %I1940111 %J364936 %K3171129 %L222826 %M3066120 %N1846156 %O263742 %P2870150 %Q4033-18 %R365758 %S1956195 %T263742 %
Now that I have data to show such incredible improvement, my principal has agreed to allow K-2 intervention using the Barton Reading & Spelling System to take place all year long this coming school year.
Discover Elementary School
Palm Beach, FL
California Early Intervention Study
This study was written up as an independent scientific journal article, which has been submitted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal. It shows statistically significant gains in phonemic awareness, rapid naming, and phonological memory after only 5 months of twice-a-week tutoring using the Barton System. To read this article, click here.
Pleasanton (CA) USD Volunteer Tutors Study
To view the gains made by volunteer tutors using the Barton System in the Pleasanton Unified School District, watch the presentation they recently made to the California School Board Association, click here.
Watch a 3-minute You-Tube video of Christina Clark, their Barton Facilitator, explaining their program and sharing their before-and-after research data.
Watch a different 3-minute You-Tube video by a student who did not get the right type of help until high school — and the difference it made.
By the way, that student just graduated and joined the Marines. He scored so high on their aptitude test that they put him straight into Aeronautical Engineering.
Data from Juvenile Corrections and Private LD Schools
To view this unsolicited independent before-after data from five unusual school sites, ranging from Byron’s Boys Ranch (a juvenile correction facility) to a private school for students with learning disabilities, click here.
The Barton Reading & Spelling System was designed as intense intervention for students who struggle to easily and accurately decode words when reading (despite being taught phonics), who by second grade are slow and inaccurate readers (are missing the oral reading fluency benchmarks), and who have always struggled with spelling – especially when writing sentences, stories, and compositions.
The Barton System can be used with students as young as kindergarten who meet all 5 of our criteria, but often, their struggles do not become apparent until first, second, or even third grade. Yet there is nothing in the Barton System that would offend older students or adults.
Because the Barton System is intense intervention, our maximum group size is 3. So most public schools with Response to Intervention programs (RTI) use the Barton System as Tier 3 intervention – but only if they can meet with that group of 3 students for an hour a day, 5 days a week.
But one-on-one tutoring is the best. That’s because no two students with dyslexia learn at exactly the same pace. When tutoring one-on-one, a tutor can present the material at exactly the right pace for each student.
Also, it is much less embarrassing to make a mistake when only the tutor sees it – not other students.
And if you provide 1-on-1 tutoring, you only have to provide 2 hours of tutoring each week (although more is better). So you can either provide 2 one-hour sessions, 3 45-minute sessions, or 4 30-minute sessions.
You will not save time if you tutor 3 students at once. That is because each student in that group must receive the equivalent intensity of 2 hours of 1-on-1 tutoring per week. The intensity in 3-on-1 tutoring is not the same as 1-on-1 tutoring. To get the same intensity, you must tutor a group of 3 students for 6 hours each week.
Also, the more students in a group, the longer it will take to complete the Barton System. That’s because you have to pace the lesson for the slowest student. And you cannot present new material if any one of the students is absent.
So whenever possible, please provide one-on-one tutoring – even if that means having parapros, aides, or parent and community volunteers provide Barton tutoring.
For the Barton System to work, it must be used with fidelity.
Approved by the California, Colorado
and Arkansas Boards of Education
The Barton Reading & Spelling System was approved by the Colorado Department of Education for the Colorado READ Act.
The Barton Reading & Spelling System is one of the approved interventions in the 2015 Arkansas Dyslexia Resource Guide. So schools that use the Barton System are in compliance with the Arkansas Dyslexia Law.
The Barton Reading & Spelling System was approved by the California Department of Education in 2002, and their approval was renewed in 2009 and 2015.
Meets all requirements of
No Child Left Behind
The No Child Left Behind Act provides funding to ensure that every student can read at grade level or above not later than the end of grade 3.
It also includes legal definitions of reading, reading instruction, and reading research.
The Barton Reading & Spelling System fulfills all of the NCLB definition, components, and research requirements.
NCLB definition of reading
A complex system of deriving meaning from print that requires all of the following:
- skills and knowledge to understand how phonemes or speech sounds are connected to print
- the ability to decode unfamiliar words
- the ability to read fluently
- sufficient background information and vocabulary to foster reading comprehension
- the development of appropriate active strategies to construct meaning from print, and
- the development and maintenance of a motivation to read
NCLB Essential Components of Reading Instruction
Explicit systematic instruction in:
NCLB requires that schools use reading programs that are based on scientific reading research
Independent scientific research exists to prove the effectiveness of the Barton System.
To view that research, click here.
Supports Common Core
The Barton Reading & Spelling System does teach the Common Core Standards.
Here are the standards taught in each lesson of the Barton System.
Developed by Susan Barton
Meet Susan Barton
An Internationally Recognized Expert in Dyslexia
Ms. Barton is a frequent and popular speaker at conferences focusing on Dyslexia, Reading Instruction, Early Intervention and RTI, and Adult Literacy issues. Susan is also an instructor of Phonemic Awareness and Multisensory Teaching Techniques through the University of California, of Learning Disabilities at West Valley College, and of the graduate-level courses Screening for Dyslexia, Tutoring People with Dyslexia, and Understanding Dyslexia and ADHD through the University of San Diego.
In the past few years, Susan has presented at these conferences: the American Speech Hearing Association’s national conference, the Learning Disabilities national conference, the Canadian Dyslexia Association, the Oregon branch of the International Dyslexia Association, California Literacy, many regional and statewide conferences of the International Reading Association, many regional and statewide conferences for the Association for Christian Schools International, the California and Arizona Charter Schools conferences, the California Association of School Psychologists, the California Kindergarten conference, and the Early Childhood Educators conference, to name just a few.
International Dyslexia Association’s Hall of Honor
Susan Barton was recently inducted into the International Dyslexia Association’s Hall of Honor.
Their announcement letter stated:
Susan Barton has been recognized in the Sylvia O. Richardson Hall of Honor by the Graduates and Supporters of Bright Solutions for Dyslexia for her outstanding achievements, contributions, and efforts; and her commitment and service to individuals in the field of dyslexia.
A plaque with Susan Barton’s name will be installed in the IDA headquarters building, in their Hall of Honor, at the end of September 2009. It will appear along with plaques to Dr. Orton, Anna Gillingham, G. Reid Lyon, Beth Slingerland, and many other innovators in this field.
To view the IDA’s Hall of Honor, go to:
IDA Hall of Honor
Watch: Who is Susan Barton?
Founder of Bright Solutions for Dyslexia
Susan Barton did not start out in the field of dyslexia. After college, she spent the first 20 years of her professional life in the computer field.
During that time, she watched her nephew, Ben, have significant difficulty in school. Despite receiving special education services since first grade, when he was tested in tenth grade, he was only reading at the second grade level and spelling at the first grade level. Needless to say, he was extremely frustrated in all school tasks that required reading, writing and spelling.
Although the school said we had to accept the fact that Ben would never get much better, Susan refused to accept that judgment. Instead, she changed fields and devoted full time to figuring out the puzzle of dyslexia.
After receiving special training and spending many years working with dyslexic adults, she was hired at a for-profit clinic for dyslexic children. She spent years tutoring children from ages 6 to 17. During this time, she learned many more Orton-Gillingham-based methods, several of the Lindamood-Bell systems, and became quite knowledgeable about Attention Deficit Disorder.
When Susan attended IEP meetings for her students, she was shocked that many school professionals lacked up-to-date research-based information on dyslexia. Most of the parents of her students also lacked this information.
So in 1998, Susan Barton founded Bright Solutions for Dyslexia whose sole mission is to educate parents and teachers about the causes, symptoms, and research-based solutions for children and adults with dyslexia.
In addition to creating more professionals in the field by training them at her graduate-level courses offered through the University of San Diego, speaking at many conferences, and giving free presentations across the country that parents can attend, Susan is hired to conduct in-service trainings at public and private schools throughout North America.
Bright Solutions for Dyslexia is also the publisher of the Barton Reading & Spelling System.
To read a recent article published about Susan Barton, click here.
Susan Barton has created many videos on dyslexia, which can be watched for free over the internet. Her most popular are:
Dyslexia: Symptoms & Solutions
Classroom Accommodations for Dyslexic Students
For a complete list of her dyslexia videos, click here.