Wilson Reading System® (WRS) Level I Certification
Learn about the requirements to earn this certification.
International Dyslexia Association AccreditationPlus Program
The Wilson Reading System® (WRS) Level I Certification is recognized as an IDA AccreditationPlus program. It is designed to prepare teachers to effectively implement WRS Steps 1–6 with students who are reading and spelling below grade level, as well as those diagnosed with a language-based learning disability, such as dyslexia.
Before participating, individuals must have completed the WRS Introductory Course within the last five years. They must also possess a bachelor’s degree in education or a related field.
Individuals have 12 months from the date of enrollment to complete the online course and practicum. If site-based within a school or district, participants are encouraged to complete certification within the school year.
A web-based practicum is appropriate for individual, tech-savvy participants who may not have a Certification Community in their area.
Schools and districts considering or currently implementing the WRS may be interested in certifying a group of their educators. Contact us to explore development of a Comprehensive Plan for Achieving Success and Sustainability (COMPASS Plan).
Required Assignments, Practicum Criteria, and Materials
Learn about the activities candidates must complete, the criteria used to select an appropriate student for the practicum component, and required materials.
- Complete a comprehensive online course: WRS Intensive Instruction for the Non-Responsive Reader (Steps 1–6).
- Conduct 1:1 WRS instruction with a practicum student for a minimum of 65 lessons with a lesson plan written for each lesson. Student must meet selection criteria and be approved by the assigned Wilson® Credentialed Trainer (W.C.T.). Instruction must be with WRS 4th Edition materials.
- Be observed five times teaching the practicum student. Each observation is scheduled with the W.C.T. and lasts approximately 60–75 minutes.
- Submit a pretesting report on the practicum student, including educational history and current test results.
- Develop a Teacher Binder and Student Portfolio and compile student’s written work in accordance with Wilson Language Training® (WLT) program standards.
- Demonstrate mastery of the WRS Lesson Plan procedures (documented and approved by W.C.T.).
- Demonstrate an understanding of language concepts through accurate teaching with multisensory procedures.
- Demonstrate student mastery of reading, spelling, fluency, and comprehension.
- Conduct pre- and post-testing with two norm-referenced tests, one being the Word Identification and Spelling Test (WIST). Submit posttest data with practicum student final report after a minimum of 65 lessons and instruction in WRS Substep 4.2 Accuracy.
The practicum student must meet the following criteria and be approved by Wilson Language Training® (WLT) before instruction begins. Whether the criteria is met should be determined from school records and current testing.
- In or entering grades 4–12 (grade 3 approved if student has been retained).
- Overall cognitive ability in average range (minimum IQ = 80).
- Overall reading must be ranked in the 5th to 30th percentile with a minimum total reading score of grade 2.0.
- Student’s listening comprehension ability is higher than independent reading comprehension.
- Student has poor decoding and spelling skills.
- Student must be available to be scheduled for a minimum of three to four 45-minute lessons or two to three 60–90 minute lessons per week (one-on-one).
- The practicum student must not have received any previous Wilson® instruction.
For practicum student approval, the Word Identification and Spelling Test (WIST) plus another formal reading test must be administered and results submitted to your supervising Wilson trainer. Testing results used to select practicum student must be no more than six months old. Any of the following is suggested:
- Woodcock Reading Mastery Tests – R
- Woodcock Reading Mastery Tests – III
- Woodcock-Johnson® IV Tests of Achievement
- Woodcock-Johnson® III Diagnostic Reading Battery
- Wechsler Individual Achievement Test® III or IV
A similar individualized reading assessment may be substituted if it provides information regarding decoding, comprehension, and total reading. Prior approval from WLT is required.
The practicum situation works best when the selected student has a consistent attendance record and does not have overriding emotional or behavioral issues.
- WRS Introductory Set (Steps 1–6), 4th edition, containing instructor and student materials
- Word Identification and Spelling Test (WIST) for student testing
For individuals registering for WRS Level I Certification (through a Certification Community, including when enrolling in a web-based practicum course), materials may be ordered at the time of registration.
For school and district implementation, materials information will be provided as part of the Comprehensive Plan for Achieving Success and Sustainability (COMPASS Plan).
Knowledge and Skills Gained
Individuals who successfully meet all the requirements receive WRS Level I Certification and are able to:
- Identify the characteristics of dyslexia and related language-based learning disabilities.
- Use assessments to identify students with word-level deficits who are appropriate for an intensive intervention.
- Effectively use Structured Literacy instructional techniques, and demonstrate explicit teaching, modeling, guided practice, and consistent review in lessons.
- Understand language processes and how they impact the development of proficient readers and writers: phonological, orthographic, semantic, syntactic, and discourse.
- Successfully incorporate the following areas of reading instruction during WRS lessons: phonemic awareness, phonics, word structure, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension.
- Accurately teach the structure of the English language (presented in WRS Steps 1-6): consonant and vowel phonemes, syllable structure, common orthographic rules and spelling patterns, common Latin-base elements and affixes, etc.
- Identify printed words that do not follow the rules of English and incorporate Structured Literacy techniques to help students learn how to correctly read and spell these words. These words include high frequency words.
- Diagnostically plan and deliver lessons, addressing and understanding specific student weaknesses that impact the ability to learn to read and write.
- Appropriately pace students through the curriculum, developing mastery of material taught, designing lessons that focus on accuracy, automaticity of word reading, and fluency with text reading.
- Develop students’ listening and reading comprehension skills through the Wilson Comprehension S.O.S.™ process. Model and incorporate reflective awareness and visualization strategies in order for students to develop a coherent mental model of text.
- Develop students’ fluency skills by modeling and practicing a penciling technique to encourage proper phrasing and prosody.
- Administer pre- and posttesting assessments to document student growth in word attack, spelling, comprehension, reading fluency, and broad reading measures.
Participants completing this certification program may represent themselves as WRS Level I Certified Teachers but are not qualified as Wilson® Credentialed Trainers. Wilson Level I Certificate holders earn the recognition of Wilson® Dyslexia Practitioner (W.D.P.) and must re-credential every five years to maintain the W.D.P. recognition.
Up to nine graduate credits (optional) are available through Fitchburg State University, Fitchburg, MA, upon completion of course requirements. Please see Process for Graduate Credit for details.
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We provide educators with the training needed to enhance instruction and support implementation of our programs with fidelity to achieve student success. Whether you need individual teacher support or school and district implementation plans, WLT is here to help.