Barbara A. Wilson began her career as a special education teacher and team chairperson for I.E.P meetings and observed that most referrals to special education were because of reading. She sought to find a solution and enrolled in the Orton-Gillingham Language Therapist Certification program at the Reading Disabilities Clinic at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, MA. After many years at the hospital clinic teaching adults with dyslexia and successfully working with middle and high school students at her private clinic, she authored the Wilson Reading System®. She has since authored three multisensory structured language programs based on the principles of Orton-Gillingham and Wilson Reading System: Wilson Fundations®, Wilson Just Words®, and Wilson Fluency®.
Barbara has written several articles and chapters on literacy instruction, including a chapter entitled "Instruction for Middle and High School Students Struggling with Reading" in the 2nd (2005) edition of "Multisensory Teaching of Basic Language Skills," and a revised chapter in the 3rd (2011) edition entitled "Instruction for Older Students with a Word-Level Reading Disability." Both books were edited by Judith Birsch.
Barbara has served on the committees of several national educational organizations, including:
- The Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators, Founding Fellow
- The International Dyslexia Association, Chair of the Nominating Committee
- New England Branch of the International Dyslexia Association, Branch Secretary
- The International Multisensory Structured Language Education Council (IMSLEC), Board of Directors
- National Institute for Literacy, Bridges to Practice project, consultant
In early 2004, Barbara was invited to the White House to speak to the President’s Domestic Policy Adviser on Education regarding the issue of literacy in America’s Middle and High Schools. Barbara has also been involved in several government-funded reading research projects.
Along with her husband Ed Wilson, Barbara is the co-founder of the Wilson Learning Center for children and adults with language learning disabilities, and the president of Wilson Language Training® Corporation in Oxford, MA. Under Barbara’s leadership, more than 10,000 teachers nationwide have been Level I certified in the Wilson Reading System. This intensive certification process requires a depth of knowledge of the structure of English and the ability to put into practice direct, systematic and multisensory teaching in a diagnostic approach. This professional learning certification program is recognized by the National Staff Development Council as one of the programs for including in their research-based initiative, What Works in K-12 Literacy Staff Development.
Barbara is recognized as a leader in the field of teaching reading and spelling and over the years has presented the topic of achieving literacy with struggling readers at more than 300 conferences, both in the U.S. and internationally, including keynote addresses.
Barbara Wilson holds a Bachelor of Science in Special Education from Fitchburg State University (MA) and a Masters in Special Education from Simmons College (MA). She also holds an honorary Doctorate degree of Humane Letters from Becker College (MA).