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Wilson Reading System

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The Wilson Reading System is a remedial literacy program for children and adults. The program is named after creator Barbara Wilson. Wilson was a special education teacher who went through training in the Orton-Gillingham model. Wilson created the program in response to her work at Massachusetts General Hospital Language Disorder Unit and in her own tutoring business. After five years, Wilson left her job at the Hospital and with the help of her husband established the Wilson Learning Center. Three years later, the Wilson Learning Center published the Wilson Reading System.

Wilson Reading System Defined

The program is based on the Orton-Gillingham principles. Wilson Reading SystemWilson Reading System can be joined with other literacy programs to create a multi-tiered educational approach. These levels are:

  1. Foundations®
  2. Just Words®
  3. Wilson Reading System®
  4. Wilson Fluency®

The system is beneficial in one-on-one tutoring sessions or can also be used in the classroom in a small group approach.

The Wilson Reading System is made up of five different parts. These parts include phonemic awareness, instruction on word analysis and comprehension, reading and spelling instruction, intensive cumulative instruction, and teaching so that primary grade students master the material.

The Structure of the Wilson Reading System

The program is very structured and requires teachers to follow a prescribed lesson plan. The lesson is composed of ten different parts and should take around forty minutes to an hour to teach. The first part of the lesson structure focuses on word decoding. The decoding part of the lesson accounts for steps one through five. In step one, students participate in a sound drill with flash cards. In the second step students review decoding skills and in step three students continue to practice decoding skills. Students read words from a work list for accuracy in the fourth step. In the fifth and final step of the decoding section of the lesson, students practice reading sentences.

The next part of the lesson is the works on encoding skills. This section has three steps, steps six through eight. In these steps, students work on sounding out words using flashcards, work on spelling skills, and dictation practice. In the final two parts of the lesson students read passages and work on comprehension.

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