What is the Certification and Practicum Process?

The Institute for Multi-Sensory Education’s Orton-Gillingham Certification Program combines Orton-Gilingham skills training with a period of supervision and guidance from a coach, followed by a proficiency test and ultimately certification.

It’s a process that benefits anyone in the education field who teaches literacy: both general and special education teachers, ESL and ELL teachers, speech language pathologists, reading specialists, tutors and more, Manley said. Anyone with a bachelor’s degree in the education field and an active teaching license is eligible.

“We all benefit from having somebody watch us work with our students, providing feedback.”

“Everyone can benefit if they’re willing to put in the time and energy and financial resources,” Manley said. “When you go through the 30-hour course it’s so much great information, but it is a lot of information. Going out and working with students and implementing it, having that master instructor that’s available to you…is really valuable for teachers.”

Certification and the Practicum can be broken down into three parts:

  1. Training: Educators can opt into different certification courses, depending on the grade level. These classes are personalized sessions that provide a complete understanding of IMSE’s Orton-Gillingham method and the skills necessary to apply it in the classroom. After participating in this training, teachers will be able to assess, evaluate, and teach children how to read, write, and spell proficiently. Comprehensive, Intermediate and IMSE Orton-Gillingham Specialist certifications all require 30 hours of course training, while the Advanced certification requires 24 hours. Once the 30 hour course is complete, the educator has a year to apply for IMSE’s practicum, where they practice integrating the skills into the classroom and teaching with confidence.
  2. Practicum: After completing the 30-hour training course, participants can apply for the 45-hour practicum. During practicum, participants spend 6-12 months developing 45-60 lesson plans, being observed, and having a one-on-one coach while using IMSE’s Orton-Gillingham methodology in their classroom or with an individual student. Educators are provided ongoing feedback, guidance and observance during this time, which also requires participants to create several videos of themselves using IMSE’s Orton-Gillingham methodology with their class or student.Practicum students must pass a final assignment, as well as an exit exam with an 80 percent or higher in order to receive certification.

    “The practicum process would be for those teachers who have taken the course but now they’re ready to have some support and guidance as they try to implement these strategies,” Manley said.

  3. Certification: Once participants have successfully completed the course training, practicum and required proficiency tests, they are eligible for certification through the Institute for Multi-Sensory Education! Not only do these educators have the distinction of this powerful training, they are also listed as certified IMSE Orton-Gillingham providers on the IMSE website, as well as the Learning Ally website. Certified IMSE Orton-Gillingham providers can list information there about any private practice they may be associated with, and can easily be found by anyone seeking an educator with these skills.”[Certification] will absolutely support you in becoming more adept at implementing these strategies and having success with your students,” Manley said. “[Anyone] from all over the United States can then look [you] up as…a tutor who’s been certified through the Institute.”

Why Get Certified?

Not only do educators who participate in IMSE’s Certification and Practicum get robust specialized training and become validated partners, but it’s also an opportunity for teachers to personalize and insert their own creativity into literacy-based lesson plans.

“I can tell you that even as a [supervisor] going and watching all these other instructors has been amazing to me,” Manley said. “I’ve supervised hundreds of teachers now and to see them and their ideas, I learn as well.”

“It’s really beautiful to watch; the multi-sensory process really encourages teachers to be creative in a way that sometimes…they haven’t really had the freedom to explore.”

For example, the auditory kinesthetic drill, which often relies on sand, can substitute sand out for other things, such as a ziplock bag and shaving cream. It’s a small customization, but it gets the ball rolling in thinking of ways to personalize lessons based on each student or situation, she said.

“That little seed, it just starts them thinking of so many other things that I never would have thought of,” Manley said. “When they first start, they’re following exactly what’s on the paper. But as they get more comfortable, they start with the procedures themselves, they can bring their own flavor to it. They start becoming so creative and thinking outside the box, and thinking of ways to make [IMSE’s OG] exciting for their students and fun for their students.”

Heather Manley, IMSE Certification Manager.

Another one of the biggest benefits is being able to watch oneself with the practicum videos, Manley said, a component that gives invaluable insight into how participants are learning and evolving.

“Even without someone else’s feedback, watching these videos you learn what’s working, what’s not — there’s some things you think are going really well and then you look back at the video and realize it was a little different,” she said. “So I think the videos themselves are really poerful for practicum students.”

Manley said she hears from those using IMSE across the country how powerful the certification and practicum has been, helping put students who were once falling far behind back on course with his or her peers.

And not just that, but students are now excited and confident in reading, too.

“What I hear the most, especially teachers of older students, is: ‘When I started, I could barely get them to open a book,’ or they came in with an attitude saying, ‘I don’t want to do this, this is extra work,'” Manley said. “And when it was time for [the] session to end, they didn’t want it to end.”

Hear directly from those who have been certified by IMSE by checking out the stories below:

After 35 Years Of Teaching In Orlando, Speech Pathologist Says IMSE Certification Was ‘The Missing Piece’

IMSE Certification in Action: Stephanie Sawhney

IMSE Certification in Action: Lori Mikulka

IMSE Certification in Action: Melissa and Sunny Young


Learn more about the Institute for Multi-Sensory Education’s Orton-Gilligham Certification and Practicum program here.