FOG Readers

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FOG (Free Orton-Gillingham) Readers is a new program provided by San Francisco Public Library to help struggling readers in grades 1-4. Studies indicate when students fall behind when they start reading, they rarely catch up – but we change that by using a highly structured program based on the Orton-Gillingham methodology. The program breaks reading and spelling into smaller skills involving letters and sounds. It is a phonetically based, sequential, structured approach that uses multisensory techniques – this means tutors use sight, hearing, touch, and movement to help learners connect language with letters and sounds.   


The FOG Readers Program focuses on teaching students to read at the word level. While it can help develop reading comprehension, that is not the program’s primary instructional goal. FOG Readers puts a strong emphasis on understanding the ‘how’ and ‘why’ behind reading. Students may explore why the letter ‘s’ sounds one way in the word ‘plays,’ and another way in the word ‘snake.’ Once they know consistent rules and patterns, they’re better able to decode words on their own.


Orton-Gillingham, and programs based on it, are the gold standard for teaching students with dyslexia, but are helpful for all struggling readers. Orton-Gillingham techniques also work for English language learners because they help to fill gaps in their reading and writing skills.


The FOG Readers curriculum teaches the sounds of the English language and their corresponding symbols, spelling rules and generalizations, and syllable types. The program uses a specific order of introduction of reading skills based on how we learn language. Students must master one reading skill before moving on to the next. The lessons are structured to include the same seven basic parts for each meeting: decoding and/or phonograms, sight word reading, the new concept for the lesson, alphabet knowledge, spelling, dictation, and oral reading.

For more information, please call (415) 557-4388 or email


We will match your student with a trained tutor to meet once a week for 45 minutes to an hour. During COVID, tutors and students must meet online Zoom or other tools. Students meet with the same tutor on an on-going basisforging a relationship with their tutor and consistency are important factors in improving their reading skills and gaining confidence. Tutors are volunteers for the library and are not professional educators, nor are they getting paid for their time. Although all tutors have been background checked and fingerprinted, please do not ask tutors to meet at your home or another location.

There is currently a waitlist for students to be paired with tutors. You can add your student to the waitlist by completing this student information printable form or online form and emailing it to


Tutors are making a tremendous impact! Students are reading more at home and displaying increased confidence, and on average gaining more than 1/2 grade level in the first 3 months. All tutors go through 6 hours of training and one-time fingerprinting (at no cost to you). We prepare you to be an effective literacy tutor and also provide follow-up help.

Ready to get started? Please complete the online form at the link below.