Wilson Reading Program Review

The Wilson Reading Program is a research-based reading and writing program created during the 1980’s by Barbara Wilson. She developed her system using her expericences with the Orton-Gillingham reading program while teaching adults with dyslexia and by working with students in an after school program setup by her husband, Ed Wilson.

The Wilson Reading System is designed for students between the grades of 2-12 who have difficulty with reading and spelling. The main goal of the system is to teach students language and word structure through a carefully planned 12 step curriculum beginning with phoneme segmentation and is based on continual evaluation based on the student’s needs.

The first 6 steips provide students with reading and spelling basics to help build a foundation before they progress. Steps seven through 12 focuses on advanced word analysis, comprehension and vocabulary.

The Wilson Reading System is best used in small groups, classroom enviornments as well one on one tutoring sessions. There are two different vocabulary levels: The first one is the “Level A” which is appropriate for elementary, English-as-a-Second-Language and older students with inadequate vocabularies; and the second one is the “Level B” is appropriate for students who are beyond elementary grades with more complex vocabularies.

The scope and sequence emphasizes six common types of syllables in which sounds are taught as they relate to these fundamental syllable types. The first two steps emphasize skills in phonemic segmentation and blending by working with the phonemes of monosyllabic words. By using sound cards, the student learns a “sound-tapping” procedure where he learns to segment sounds within words.

For example, in teaching the word “bat”, three letter-cards representing the three sounds in the word are placed in front of the student. Because a student is taught to say each sound while tapping a different finger to his or her thumb, a student would begin by tapping his index finger to his thumb as he says /b/, followed by tapping the middle finger to his thumb as he says /a/, and then tapping his ring finger to his thumb as he says /t/. Finally, the student says the word as he drags his thumb across the three fingers.

Phonics instruction in the Wilson Reading Program is developmentally appropriate, and the presentation of sounds and syllables is controlled beginning with initial phonemes, short vowels, and double consonants. After students succeed at reading and spelling words with three sounds, they then move on to words with four sounds, then five, and so on.

Polysyllabic words are introduced in the third step when students are taught to segment words into syllables. From the beginning, students learn sight words from lists that correspond with each lesson and write these sight words in their “rules notebook” for review later. Additionally, students read and spell words in this notebook using the tapping or scooping technique to increase accuracy.

In order to build fluency, students are provided opportunities to read and reread the wordlists, sentences and decodable stories. Additionally, there are timed fluency drills for each step of the Wilson Reading System (provided on Wilson Academy online). Students use a penciling technique to develop phrasing and expression. They achieve fluency when they are able to read and spell the words easily and quickly without the use of tapping or guidance from the teacher.
Vocabulary words are introduced in isolation before concentrating on written text. A review of each previous lesson’s vocabulary words is included in all lessons. All text is controlled in order for students to master decoding and encoding.

Comprehension is taught from the beginning through visualization techniques that students use during reading from controlled text. By breaking the story into smaller units, teachers show students how to link words with a picture in their minds using the think aloud procedure. Students then are asked to replay the story in their heads while one student retells the story in detail.

To help develop comprehension skills at a higher level than the students’ decoding work, the teacher also reads aloud other material provided by the students or teacher such as newspapers, magazines, and short stories encouraging the same process of visualization and retelling techniques. Wilson Academy online provides a current event news story each week that is written at both an enriched level (to read to students) and a decodable level (for students to read independently). These stories are other sources of text to use while implementing these comprehension techniques.

The Wilson Reading Program comes in standard, deluxe and starter kits for both students and teachers. The student resources include workbooks, readers, group and class sets while the teacher’s materials include manuals, dictation books, rules, and cards for sounds, words, syllables, groups and videoss.

for more information, you can visit: www.wilsonlanguage.com

For parents who need answers to their child reading questions immediately , the following list of Child Educational Professionals can be a great help. These experts have agreed to help any parents using email or chat. They do charge a very small fee for the use of their time but I find their advice to be invaluable for the amount they charge.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Erika May 20, 2010 at 12:29 pm

Could you do a program review on Reading Horizons?
Thanks, Erika

admin May 24, 2010 at 8:37 am

Thanks for your reply Erika. I just sent you an email regarding a possible review. Let me know what you think.