Educators from 28 states gathered in the seacoast city of Portsmouth, N.H., during the 18th annual meeting of Wilson® Credentialed Trainers.
The two-day meeting in July provided an opportunity for 128 Trainers and 50 Wilson Literacy Specialists and Literacy Advisors to reenergize, reflect on the past school year, and cultivate new ideas for the upcoming year. The upcoming release of the Wilson Reading System® 4th Edition in early 2018, and the enhanced curriculum and materials it will provide to instruct students with dyslexia, was a primary focus throughout the conference.
Wilson Language Training Co-Founders Barbara and Ed Wilson and members of Wilson’s Leadership and Fidelity teams and other Wilson professionals warmly welcomed the group of new and long-serving trainers.
During the conference, Barbara presented a big-picture overview of the WRS 4th Edition, as well as in-depth sessions on the “Systematic Approach to Phonology, Morphology, and Orthography” and “Assessment, Accountability, and Instruction.”
“Helping students with dyslexia is our mission. The 4th edition reflects what we’ve learned from the research and our experience over the past 30 years,” she explained. By the end of the conference, participants would leave with insight into how a collection of familiar words and phrases, such as morphology, stamina, core vocabulary, academic vocabulary, prefixes, suffixes, scaffolds, and high frequency words, take on new meaning in relation to the 4th Edition, she said.
Additional presentations during the conference included sessions on word elements, lesson plans, and a walk-through of the new materials. Literacy Specialists and Advisors also met to discuss topics ranging from dyslexia legislation to virtual mentoring and technology.
“It’s very exciting,” said newly credentialed In-District Trainer Laura Anderson of Illinois. “You’re with educators who are like-minded, passionate, and constantly striving to hone their skills.”
Fifteen-year-old Christopher Annino of Connecticut, who completed all 12 Steps of the Wilson Reading System three years ago with Wilson Dyslexia Therapist Jeanne Morgan, delivered a luncheon address about overcoming the challenges of dyslexia and the strides he has made academically and personally since learning to read. An avid sailor, painter, builder, and dyslexia advocate, Chris began taking college courses at age 12 and is on target to earn an associate’s degree next spring.
“I think dyslexia helps teach you the skills you need to succeed, like how to work extra hard and find ways to play to your strengths instead of your weaknesses,” said Chris, who was homeschooled by his mother, Stephanie. “Another important skill to learn with dyslexia is how to advocate for yourself.”
Eleven educators were recognized as new Wilson Trainers after completing a year-long internship, and were pinned during a brief ceremony. In addition, three new Accredited Partners and 10 Accredited Partners achieving renewed accreditation status were recognized.
We look forward to continuing the festivities, professional learning workshops, and presentations next summer when we host the annual conference for trainers and teachers July 9–10 in Boston.