Though first and foremost an approach or method for teaching dyslexic students, Anna Gillingham's reading program also has six content elements which are important for reading success:
Difficulty with phonemes is at the heart of dyslexia and so not surprisingly, the teaching of the specific sounds of language and the ability to parse or segment words into their constituent sounds is an integral part of the OG curriculum. Teaching phonological awareness does not have to involve text, just the voice and the ear. The student should be able to distinguish and reproduce the fundamental sounds of the language.
Students must learn to associate the sounds with the letters (graphemes) that represent them. This is a two way street, wherein students have to be able to read the letter and make the sound and hear the sound and then draw the letter. Naturally, this skill is then extended into two letter blends, (digraphs) and then longer blends and syllables.
To read without comprehending is not to read at all,
and so semantics, or the comprehension of the written text, is critical. It is shockingly common for weak readers to slog through text only to arrive at the end and have no idea what they just read.
Instruction must include the teaching of basic syllables and syllable division rules. Types of syllables include closed, vowel-consonant-e, open, consonant-le, r-controlled and diphthongs.
How to order words in a sentence is taught explicitly through the study of grammar, sentence structure and good writing practices.
The study of root words, prefixes and suffixes with an aim to to understand how words can be built up and manipulated to change their meaning.