FOG Readers

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FOG (Free Orton-Gillingham) Readers is a reading intervention program provided by San Francisco Public Library to help struggling readers in grades 1-4. Studies indicate that when students fall behind when they start reading, they rarely catch up – but we aim to change that by using a highly structured program based on the Orton-Gillingham methodology. The program breaks reading and spelling down 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 FOG Readers 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 the reasons behind letter-sound variations, such as why the letter ‘s’ can sound different in words like ‘plays’ and ‘snake.’ Once they know consistent rules and patterns, they’re better able to decode words on their own.


Orton-Gillingham, which is considered the gold standard for teaching students with dyslexia, is also highly beneficial for all struggling readers. Its proven techniques are not only effective for learners with dyslexia, but also for English language learners, as it helps to address 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. Each FOG Readers lesson follows a consistent structure that includes seven essential components: decoding and/or phonograms, sight word reading, introduction of a new concept, building alphabet knowledge, practicing spelling, engaging in dictation exercises, and improving oral reading skills.

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. Students meet with the same tutor on an on-going basis–forging a relationship with their tutor and consistency are important factors in improving their reading skills and gaining confidence. Our tutors are volunteers for the library and are not professional educators, nor are they paid for their time. They are specifically assigned to cover FOG-related content and cannot provide assistance with subjects outside of the FOG Readers program, such as homework help. Tutors and students can meet online or at any one of our 28 locations. Although all tutors have been background checked and fingerprinted, please do not ask tutors to meet at your home or another location.


Our tutors are making a tremendous impact! Students are reading more at home, gaining confidence, and making significant progress in just three months, averaging more than half a grade level improvement. As a tutor, you will receive 7.5 hours of training and undergo a one-time fingerprinting process, all at no cost to you. We will equip you with the skills to be an effective literacy tutor and offer ongoing support along the way. Join us in making a difference!