Our Approach to Program Design
Our research-based approach to program content and instructional design fits within an MTSS and RTI framework across three tiers of instruction.
A Foundation for Learning
By employing Wilson’s evidence-based instructional models, school districts, reading centers, and tutors can build a powerful literacy action plan or sustainability plan that builds a solid foundation for beginning learners, closes the reading gap for struggling students, teaches students with dyslexia how to read and write, and meets your state’s rigorous college- and career-ready standards.
The same effective principles of instruction found to increase student achievement are incorporated into all Wilson programs and are key to their success.
Prevention and Intervention Within an MTSS and RTI Framework
Wilson’s three strategically designed curricula and their associated professional learning opportunities fit within both an Multi-tiered System of Supports (MTSS) and Response to Intervention (RTI) framework to provide prevention-based general instruction and intervention support for students across three tiers of instruction.
While the programs are designed to be implemented together and work synergistically as part of a school or district’s MTSS or RTI framework, each program can also be used on its own as an effective supplemental or intervention program to meet the specific needs of your students.
The integration of assessments allows Wilson programs to be used as a mechanism for identifying students in need of special education services in reading and spelling. The programs work together to ensure that all students become successful readers. Together, they cover the three tiers of instruction as follows:
- Tier 1: Fundations® (Grades K–3)
- Tier 2: Fundations (Grades K–3) or Just Words® (Grades 4–12 and adults)
- Tier 3: Wilson Reading System® (Grades 2–12 and adults)
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To support educator and student learning within an MTSS or RTI framework, Wilson offers extensive Professional Learning opportunities for teachers.
Key Instructional Principles
Incorporated into all of Wilson’s programs are principles of effective instruction identified by research to increase student achievement. There are defining reasons for our success.
Wilson programs present skills in a systematic and sequential manner. Previously taught skills are brought forward cumulatively. New skills build upon previously taught ones and are presented explicitly. Instruction continually circles back to relate new concepts with previously mastered ones. Students have ample opportunities to practice skills. In this way, students can develop a deeper understanding of the structure of English words. Optimal learning is facilitated by a gradual release of responsibility model that moves from “I do it” (teacher demonstration), to “we do it” (guided instruction/practice), then “you do it together” (collaborative learning), and finally, “You do it alone” (independent success).
In Wilson programs, the teacher directly teaches all concepts and skills to students through explanation, modeling, and active learning. The teacher provides classroom demonstrations by using manipulatives to accompany explanations. All learning involves active participation; this allows students to learn through various modalities and helps them to maintain focus.
Lessons are interactive and designed to fully engage students in the task at hand. All skills and concepts are reinforced through visual, auditory, tactile, and kinesthetic senses. Students are more able to focus and learn through these various modalities. For example, students hear sounds; manipulate color-coded sound, syllable, and word cards; perform finger tapping exercises; write down spoken words; read aloud and repeat what they have read in their own words; and listen to others read aloud.
Wilson’s programs provide students with many opportunities to practice and reinforce skills. Information is presented in different ways and through various activities within a lesson. Students demonstrate their understanding through a variety of tasks. Students are given immediate feedback. Errors are corrected “on the spot” with guided questions so that students learn from their mistakes.
Teachers are instructed to plan and teach diagnostically based on individual student mastery. Teachers who work with Wilson programs are required to write their own lesson plans to diagnostically differentiate instruction between students in a classroom based on need and mastery. Teachers assess student mastery through daily observations and analyzing student outcomes on formative and summative assessments.
Wilson programs engage students in academically rigorous work that asks them to employ metacognitive thinking. This deep thinking is essential for students to understand the underpinnings of word structure and be able to apply and generalize concepts.
Wilson programs support UDL principles by utilizing multiple means of teaching students skills and concepts. Our programs engage students in the learning process, assess student learning, and provide student supports.
The following are key instructional principles in all of Wilson’s programs that are critical for ELs, MLs, and students with a language-based learning disability:
- Integration of listening, speaking, reading, and writing
- Explicit modeling of skills and strategies
- Verbal explanations for concepts enhanced by visual, physical, and kinesthetic involvement
- Opportunities for student interaction in supportive groups
- Procedures that ensure student engagement with hands-on activities
- Clear and consistent directions and cueing systems
- Ample opportunities to reinforce skills
- Scaffolded instruction
- Repetition of vocabulary, including the vocabulary of word structure (such as digraph, short vowel)
- Assessment of content knowledge that is performance-based rather than language-based
Meeting Social Content Standards
Fundations®, Just Words®, Wilson Reading System®, and Wilson Fluency®/Basic have been approved by the California State Board of Education as meeting the state’s social content standards. This means that the materials contained in each of Wilson’s programs:
- Portray the cultural and racial diversity of American society accurately and equitably.
- Demonstrate the contribution of minority groups, males, and females to the development of California and the United States.
- Depict people in varied, positive, and contributing roles to enrich students’ school experiences.
- Avoid inappropriate references to commercial brand names, products, and corporate or company logos.
At Wilson, we align the content of our programs to Orton-Gillingham principles of instruction and the science of reading. We do so because this helps to ensure the success of the educators using Wilson programs to teach individuals with diverse learning abilities to read.