Understanding & Achieving

Students with dyslexia need to be identified early and receive appropriate instruction from a skilled educator who can help them make gains in reading and writing. Such accomplishments strengthen students’ beliefs in what they can achieve. Students, parents, and educators benefit from becoming knowledgeable about dyslexia, sharing that information with others, and even taking on advocacy roles.

Understood.org held a panel discussion called, “Dyslexia Understood: Research, Instruction and Awareness.” Top experts in the field of dyslexia, including Barbara Wilson, cofounder of Wilson Language Training, discussed the latest developments in brain research and instructional methods, and addressed how those advances can help children and their families. To view the recording, click here.

Both cognitive skills and classroom environment factors impact reading development, especially for individuals with dyslexia. Barbara Wilson explains the role of these in reading acquisition, the basic principles of structured literacy, and the importance of early screening and comprehensive evaluation in her presentation, “Foundations of Reading Acquisition and Dyslexia: Implications for Early Intervention,” given at the Dyslexia and Literacy: Differences within Differences conference at UCLA, organized by The Dyslexia Foundation.

To learn more about the components of systematic instruction necessary for these students to gain word-level mastery for decoding and spelling, read this article by Barbara Wilson: Teaching Total Word Structure: Systematic, Explicit, and Integrated Instruction in Phonology, Morphology, and Orthography.

Speaking With Confidence About Your Dyslexia

Self-advocacy also plays an important role in a student’s education. Check out our videos below that highlight how a student may advocate for themselves.

Listen to educator Dan Moriarty speak about the importance of teaching students how to speak with confidence about their dyslexia. Such confidence allows students to advocate for themselves.
Watch as Kelly Ettinger, a WRS graduate and Wilson intern, and her tutor, Ellen Brick, take a walk down memory lane. They reflect on Kelly’s journey with dyslexia, her system of support, and their relationship. Kelly explains that no student has to be ashamed of their dyslexia or having a tutor.


State Standards and Students With Disabilities

As states implement assessments tied to their college- and career-readiness standards, students with dyslexia and their families should know that a critical document highlights key issues related to students with disabilities and provides guidance to both parents and school staff who are assisting students with dyslexia. Please visit the International Dyslexia Association’s website to download the Fact Sheet on Common Core State Standards and Students with Disabilities, authored by Barbara Wilson.

Supporting with Assistive Technology

Assistive technology may provide educational benefits to students with dyslexia when an appropriate tool is selected. Using assistive technology provides access to the curriculum that otherwise may not be independently achievable. For helpful guidance about how to collaborate with a school to determine and obtain appropriate tools, please read Assistive Technology: An Overview for Parents of Students with Learning Disabilities, written by Wilson Language Training’s Senior Educational Technologist Nanci Shepardson.


In addition to learning from educators, there are many insightful advocacy organizations that may help parents and students learn more about dyslexia. Please visit our Resources page.