Are you Orton-Gillingham based? & other FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions.

Is your program Orton-Gillingham based?

Yes! Steve Tattum is an expert in the Orton-Gillingham program. In fact, for many years, he was an Orton train the trainer and went on to master five different versions of the Orton-Gillingham approach. If you are familiar with Orton, you will see it inside the foundations of our program. However, our delivery system is very different.

The challenge Steve found with most of the national programs is that in order to get 2 years of reading growth, it typically took about two years of tutoring. Steve developed his program to make it more efficient and to teach kids to read faster.

What about the other “recommended” reading programs for teaching kids with dyslexia to read?

As the reading director of a school for children with Learning Difference, Steve Tattum was trained in almost all the major reading programs in the country. If you look closely, you will see that our program is a sophisticated blend of Orton-Gillingham, Linda Mood-Bell, Slingerland, Reading Recovery and Whole Language (plus some others). The LearnUp integrates the best practices of these leading reading programs on the market and infuses pedagogy aligned with the latest in neuro research on the reading brain.

All the major programs have something to give to an emerging reader. What Steve noticed through his work with struggling readers and kids with dyslexia is that the major programs do not seem to learn from one another. Locked in their own view of how to teach reading, they miss the opportunity to incorporate approaches that may help their students learn to read more effectively but are not proprietary. Over the years, Steve began to blend his teaching more and more until finally, he decided to spend six months developing a program that only used the best and most effective components, regardless of the methodology.

Like many good teachers/tutors, Steve began to blend more and more elements of many programs. He noticed better reading outcomes that came more quickly when he only used the best parts of each program.  Finally, in 1997, he decided to spend six months developing a program that only used the best and most effective reading components, regardless of the methodology. What came out was the base for Tattum Reading.

What was obviously missing from every program on the market was books. This made no sense. The whole idea is to teach a child to read. Not words and phrases, but books. So he wrote 8 series of chapter books that align to his curriculum. The books are phonemically controlled. This allows a beginning reader who can only read one-syllable words read in a book from the very first day. Yes! that means there is a storybook in our program that is written with one syllable words using only the consonant vowel consonant pattern!

Does your program work with kids with ADD/ADHD?


All students benefit from an engaging pedagogy. Steve T. designed the program to be universally accessible and to support all types of learners. He specifically made sure the program worked with children who live with ADD/ADHD as this is often correlated to reading struggles.

We believe that our program is one of the most active and engaging reading programs on the market. It keeps a lively pace and moves quickly from one part of the lesson to the next. This makes it is better able to hold a student’s attention. A fast pace helps all types of students stay focused on the task at hand and is inherently more interesting and engaging.

Does your program meet the National Reading Panel recommendations?


Is your program Evidence-based?

Yes. See the study by the University of Eastern Michigan published in the Michigan Reading Journal. You can read it here.