Author Archives: Janice O'Connor

Welcome 2018!

As this new year begins, were continuing the momentum of 2017! We are preparing to launch the 4th Edition of the Wilson Reading System® (WRS) and commemorating our 30th anniversary in the field of dyslexia education, multisensory structured language instruction, and professional learning. Individually and collectively, our mutual efforts and achievements are positively impacting teaching and learning throughout the country. At no other time in history has such attention been paid to the issue of providing effective teaching and learning solutions for individuals with dyslexia. We are prou [...]

NYC Middle School Quality Initiative

Now in its seventh academic year, the Middle School Quality Initiative (MSQI) in New York City continues to make strides toward advancing the district-wide goal of improving adolescent literacy.The initiative was launched by the citys Department of Education in collaboration with the New York City Council Middle School Taskforce in fall 2011. Due to its success, it continues to grow and in the upcoming school year, even more schools will participate in MSQI, which aims to expand targeted and research-based teaching and learning practices to improve student literacy in high-need middle scho [...]

Texas District Enters Second Decade of Defying Dyslexia

Eleven years ago, when the Ysleta Independent School District (YISD) in El Paso, TX, implemented the Wilson Reading System® (WRS) as its Tier 3 intervention program for students with dyslexia, it also created a new department in anticipation of the classroom and professional learning that would follow.Aptly named the Dyslexia Department, this team identifies, instructs, and serves more than 700 students each year, providing a high-quality education that includes effective, research-based instruction and best practices that meet the students academic and social needs. Wilson is proud to be [...]

Marianna’s Mentors

Determination, a supportive family, dedicated teachers, and a cadre of mentors brought first-year special education teacher Marianna Wells to where she is today.Orphaned at age 2 in her native Hungary, Marianna and her three older brothers spent seven years in orphanages before coming to Massachusetts in 1999, when their adoptive parents, Doris and Kevin Wells, welcomed them into a family that already included three sons. Being the only girl among six boys was the least of Mariannas worries. I came from Hungary completely illiterate in my first language.In third grade, it became evide [...]

Inspiring Peers & Educators

On his first day of fourth grade three years ago, Britton R. came home begging his mother for a tutor because he knew he wasnt reading like everyone else. Despite trying many different programs and tutors in the past, he still struggled to make sense of the letters on a page. This changed, however, when he met Mollie Bolton, a Wilson® Credentialed Trainer, in November 2014. Through her tutoring and support, Britton learned to read using the Wilson Reading System®.I really liked Mollie. She was teaching me how to read in a way that I had never learned before, and it started to make sens [...]

2017 Parent Night

Obtaining assistive technology (AT) for students with learning disabilities can seem overwhelming for parents or caregivers. Learning about whats available, how AT can benefit students, who is eligible, and how to collaborate with public schools or districts to acquire services will help demystify and facilitate the process.During our annual Parent Night on October 3, Senior Educational Technologist Nanci Shepardson presented an overview of AT that included a review of students rights under federal laws, guidelines to follow when working with a childs education team to determine appro [...]

YMCA Book Club Boosts Summer Literacy

The summer months arent just for playing outside and doing fun crafts. At the South Shore YMCA in Quincy, Massachusetts, campers made progress in their reading skills alongside these traditional summer activities.For the third summer, the YMCAs Quincy Summer Day Camp hosted a free summer literacy program aimed at mitigating summer learning losses. The program, referred to as Book Club by the campers, uses Wilson® materials to advance and maintain the literacy skills of third- and fourth-grade students who have been identified as at risk of experiencing summer learning losses. This [...]

2017 Trainer Meeting Recap

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 [...]

Dreams Fulfilled

Forty summers ago in St. Louis, a handful of educators gathered with 21 struggling readers in donated classroom space and unknowingly launched a legacy.That first seven-week summer session for students with learning disabilities fulfilled a dream of parents who wanted to bring to their own community the type of support and instruction they had previously only found for their children in far-away boarding schools.Following three successful summers and with the support of the greater community and pioneering mentors, the burgeoning summer school expanded to become a full-time day program in the [...]

First Dyslexia Specialist Graduate

This spring, Margaret Reilley, a teacher in New Jerseys Stafford Township School District, earned her masters degree, top grades, and the distinction of being the first graduate of Fitchburg State Universitys new dyslexia specialist concentration. From her home 260 miles away from the Massachusetts campus, Maggie tackled literacy, language disorders, assessment methods and other related topics to earn her M.Ed. in Special Education: Guided Studies Dyslexia Specialist. The online program launched in fall 2015 in partnership with Wilson Language Training®, a nationally recogniz [...]