Author Archives: Janice O'Connor

Tackling Dyslexia

Place a football and a book in front of eighth grader Liam L., and there is no doubt which one the student athlete and sports enthusiast will choose. However, since tackling dyslexia, now he truly has a choice. With dyslexia on both sides of the family tree, Liams mother, Devon, knew something was wrong when her young son struggled to learn the alphabet, write his name, and associate sounds with letters. Despite reading intervention and an Individualized Education Program (IEP), Liam continued to struggle. Hes just so smart, and it was a burden on him because he couldnt figure ou [...]

New for Summer or Back to School: Fundations® Ready to Rise™

Fundations educators throughout the country will soon have access to a new program for young students in need of summer reading support or an intensive boost at the start of the new school year: Fundations Ready to Rise™.  The goal of Ready to Rise™ is to look forward and identify key skills needed for success in the next grade levelnot to cover all past content. This emphasis on the future, combined with Fundations scaffolded instruction and built-in review, ensures students will be ready for the academic year ahead.  The program is available in t [...]

Kindergarten to College

More than a decade ago, long before the word dyslexia was widely used, Deanna Fogarty realized the toll the language-based learning disability was taking on her otherwise bright  young son, Billy Nadeau. An elementary school teacher at the time, Deanna joined countless parents and caregivers on the challenging journey of guiding a child with dyslexia from kindergarten to high schooland ultimately to college. Although Billy was a very healthy and inquisitive child, he was behind with some of his early language and speech skills, shared Deanna, now Wilsons Vice President of [...]

Just Words® or Wilson Reading System®?

You might be wondering if your struggling reader is a candidate for Just Words® or the Wilson Reading System® (WRS). If so, youre not alonemany teachers face the same question. Thats why Wilson provides straightforward guidance to help with student identification, a critical first step in intervention. Instructor-led workshops and courses, teacher manuals, and online support resources provide guidelines for placing students in the appropriate Wilson program. The guidelines, however, arent absolute, so its important that student placement is informed by a Student Support/Respo [...]

College Bound

The road to reading proficiency was a long and arduous journey for Dempsey L. In elementary school, she dreaded reading aloud in class, and during silent reading time, pretended to read the book in front of her. By fourth grade, she had had enough. It was as if a dam had broken and all the water it was holding back was streaming down my face, she wrote in her college essay. High-pitched screams came from my room, as I was on my hands and knees begging my mom to let me stay home from school. It was that day a switch went off in her head she knew she had to fight even harder for her [...]

Cultivating Confidence

Growing up, Lakesha Costello felt destined to become a teacher. But it was intuition and initiative that led her to discover the missing piece of reading instruction that she and her struggling readers were lacking. A graduate course on learning disabilities piqued her interest in dyslexia and evidence-based, explicit, structured literacy instruction. Tapping into the in-person and online professional learning courses offered through Wilson Language Training® and two Wilson® Accredited PartnersWoodlynde School/Literacy Institute in Strafford, PA, and AIM Academy's Institute for Lea [...]

Building Reading Skills and Confidence

Research shows that the sooner children with dyslexia or other reading difficulties receive effective intervention, the more receptive their growing brains will be to mastering the complex rules of written language. Moreover, early intervention may avert years of frustration before a cycle of reading failure and low self-esteem sets in. This rings true with Anna C., a Massachusetts fifth grader who was formally diagnosed with dyslexia at the end of first grade and has grown up with an optimistic attitude toward her neurodiversity. This positive outlook is inspired by her familys approach t [...]

Conquering Dyslexia, Together

Children often follow in a parents footsteps when it comes to interests and careers. For Cassie Clark and her 12-year-old daughter, Gina, it was the reverse. Gina showed signs of learning difficulties before kindergarten. She was diagnosed with dyslexia in second grade and began intensive intervention with a Wilson Reading System® (WRS) instructor at her public elementary school outside Chicago. As her daughters literacy skills grew, Cassie became intrigued by  the effectiveness of Wilsons multisensory structured literacy instruction and wanted to learn more. We were amazed by [...]

Keep Moving Forward

The Rowley family of five shares a unique configuration of hereditary traits that affect all aspects of their lives. Yet the medical and learning challenges they face daily do not stop them from embracing life with fortitude and a can-do attitude, while serving others along the way. Our family is really complex. Were a rare genetic family and we each have our own challenges, shared mother Michelle. She and her husband Allan Rowley, M.D., are raising sons Aden (15) and Alec (13) and daughter Anna (10), to tackle adversity, including dyslexia and other learning disabilities, with tenac [...]

A Leap of Faith

Pat Shafer retired in 2016, but that didnt stop her from teaching. Following two decades as a reading teacher in public and parochial schools, the idea of no longer sharing the gift of literacy with students was unfathomable. I retired because I wanted more time to travel, but I knew I couldnt leave working with kids behind, shared Pat, a Wilson® Dyslexia Therapist (W.D.T.) and Fundations® Presenter for Levels K-3. Recognizing tremendous need in her community, Pat combined her passion for helping struggling readers with her extensive experience in Wilson programs to establish a [...]