Author Archives: Janice O'Connor

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 [...]

The Sky’s the Limit

Ad Astra Per Aspera, Latin for to the stars through adversity, is how Adam Maidman describes his journey to the world of possibilities and opportunities that opened when he learned how to read. Diagnosed with severe dyslexia in elementary school while growing up in Connecticut, Adams trajectory from struggling reader to graduate student, first-year teacher, and self-proclaimed history nerd is embodied by a single sheet of paper. Framed and displayed above his desk, the Wilson Reading System® (WRS) Certificate of Completion he earned in seventh grade signifies a pivotal point i [...]

Educator Point of View

As a Wilson® Credentialed Trainer (W.C.T.), I have supported dozens of teachers over the years as they pursued their Wilson Reading System® (WRS) Level I or Level II Certification and persevered through the inevitable challenges this undertaking entails in the best of times. When the 2019-2020 school year began, our seven WRS Level I candidates immediately started seeing success with their practicum students and were excited about the deeper understanding of foundational reading skills they were gaining. They soaked it all in as both learner and teacher. As we transitioned to remote learni [...]

Fall 2020 Decoder

As Dyslexia Awareness Month comes to a close, were certain youll enjoy reading this issue ofThe Decoder, with stories about educators and students making strides to overcome the challenges of dyslexia. Youll meet the resilient Rowley family; Wilson Reading System®(WRS) alumni Adam, Ben, and Jayden; and remarkable teachers like Pat Shafer. You'll also gain insight into our new and enhanced remote and blended resources, learn about new online graduate programs and recent collaborations with Wilson®Accredited Partners, and become acquainted with a helpful interactive tool f [...]

WRS Step 12 x 2

Recently, Amy Geary, a Wilson® Dyslexia Therapist (W.D.T.) and reading consultant in Connecticut, wrote to share the success of two remarkable students who reached the milestone of completing Wilson Reading System® (WRS) Step 12 remotely following school closures this spring. When we received her glowing testaments to rising eighth graders Jayden and Ben, we couldnt wait to spread the joy as well!                                                                                          Dear Wilson,                              [...]

Inspiring One Another

The literacy achievements made by Wilson® educators and students across the country have inspired us for more than three decades.  This past school year certainly was no exception, as Fundations®, Just Words®, and Wilson Reading System® (WRS) teachers, coaches, and trainers abruptly entered uncharted territory: distance learning.  During Teacher Appreciation Month in May, we received more than 800 tributes to teachers who make indelible impressions in the classroom, and more recently, through virtual instruction. Many powered through new COVID-19 rules and major life [...]

Doubling Down on Dyslexia

As identical twins, Bailey and Mackenzie Bennett obviously have a lot in common. Athletic, artistic, and studious, the sisters share another characteristic that theyand those who know themwould not expect: dyslexia.  Although the sisters found reading difficult during their early elementary years, their keen ability to memorize words enabled them to do well in most subjects and helped mask their struggles. As they grew older, however, their literacy challenges became more apparent. Test taking and reading aloud were noticeably difficult, and benchmark testing led to placement in [...]

Teaching and Learning Resources for 2020-2021

Whether the 2020-2021 school year finds K-12 teachers and students back in the classroom, working remotely, or engaging in a combination of the two, Wilson will be here. We will be here with new and enhanced tools and resources. We will be here with remote professional learning opportunities for districts and individual educators. We will be here to support you at every turn and make this school year as exceptional, enjoyable, and educational as any otherwhatever challenges it may bring. Now more than ever, we need creative, collaborative solutions to achieve literacy for all students, [...]

Parents’ Appreciation

This spring, during Teacher Appreciation Month, we asked the greater Wilson®community to share their tributes to Wilson educators. We heard from educators across the country, as well as many parents who shared how Wilson Reading System® (WRS) teachers made a tremendous difference in the lives of their children. Kristin C. is the reason my 16-year-old son can read, shared Lisa A. of New York. He was defeated and angry with reading and school in generalShe refused to give up on him, all the while promoting his self-esteem and celebrating his accomplishments. He is now in honors [...]