What will the Wilson community collectively accomplish during the 8,760 hours that comprise 2019? If this new year is anything like the whirlwind that was 2018, Wilson educators will continue maximizing every moment to provide effective literacy instruction in classrooms across the country.
As national dialogue about the importance of early screening and intervention for dyslexia increasingly gains momentum, it is generating greater understanding about the specific educational needs of students with dyslexia as well as effective teacher preparation. Wilson’s active support of high-quality and appropriate instruction for students, particularly those with dyslexia, and professional learning opportunities for educators, spans three decades. We are proud to be at the forefront of this important work and a well-established resource for educators and policy makers during this era of heightening awareness.
In 2018, we assisted hundreds of school districts of all sizes with new or next-step implementation plans in elementary, middle, and high schools. Known as COMPASS plans, this customized process determines the ideal pathway to meet a school or district’s needs and builds their self-sustaining capacity to implement and support Wilson® programs with fidelity. To further support our districts, 33 new Fundations® and Just Words® Presenters and eight Wilson® Credentialed Trainers were welcomed to the Wilson community. An additional 14 educators are now midway through their intensive internship to become Trainers in 2019.
We also hosted thousands of educators at Fundations, Just Words, and Wilson Reading System workshops across the country. Due to the overwhelming response to the release of the WRS 4th Edition, Steps 1-6, we will continue offering WRS 4th Edition Institutes this year at our main campus in Oxford, MA, and select locations throughout the country. Coming soon, look for the WRS 4th Edition, Steps 7-12, which will be available for the 2019-2020 school year.
To support Wilson professional learning across a wide geographic area, new Wilson® Accredited Partners have come on board, bringing our total number of partners to 23 nationally. These new partners include: Montgomery County Intermediate Unit in Pennsylvania; Leslie Shankman School Corporation/Hyde Park Day School in Illinois; Children’s Health Council/Sand Hill School in California; and the Banyan School in New Jersey. In addition, the Woodlynde School/Literacy Institute, a long-standing Partner based in Strafford, PA, achieved reaccreditation this year.
Over the past year, Wilson also could be found presenting at conferences across the country. President and Co-Founder Barbara Wilson was a featured presenter at several conferences, including The Dyslexia Foundation’s spring conference at UCLA, the New Jersey International Dyslexia Association conference, and the Everyone Reading Illinois conference, where she shared key cognitive skills and environmental factors related to reading success. Additionally, Senior Educational Technologist Nanci Shepardson presented on assistive technology at a number of venues, including the IDA’s annual conference in Connecticut.
We hosted our own conference as well, attended by more than 400 educators from 28 states. Participants gathered in Boston for our Conference for Wilson® Certified Teachers and annual meeting of Wilson® Credentialed Trainers to learn more about the Wilson Reading System 4th Edition and to connect with like-minded educators.
In addition to in-person professional learning at conferences and workshops, Wilson also piloted an online Virtual Implementation Support opportunity. Due to its successful run, Wilson’s Virtual Implementation Support for Fundations and Just Words will officially roll out to districts in 2019. This will allow us to expand our reach of learning to educators who might not otherwise receive training, allowing equality of access to training and creating opportunities to build communities of practice without borders.
Driving home the importance of applying implementation science principles in education settings, Barbara Wilson and Michelle Duda collaborated as theme editors for IDA’s fall issue of Perspectives, which focused on this topic. The articles in this issue highlighted the importance of adhering to research-based principles of implementation in order to close the research-to-practice, policy-to-practice, and practice-to-sustainability gaps. Barbara’s writing activities also extended to the chapter on “Instruction for Older Students with a Word-Level Reading Disability” in Judith R. Birsh’s newly released textbook, Multisensory Teaching of Basic Language Skills, 4th Edition.
To further instill a love of reading in our youngest readers, Wilson has been collaborating with Great Minds®, the nonprofit developer of the K-8 language arts program Wit & Wisdom®, to produce accessible, knowledge-building books for emerging and developing readers. We are pleased to share that the Geodes™ Level 1 collection was recently released. These books align with Fundations Level 1 and combine carefully selected words with engaging content and illustrations to create authentic reading experiences that empower students to apply decoding skills while building knowledge on a variety of subjects. Each book is at least 80 percent decodable as aligned with the scope and sequence of Fundations, and designed to build students’ confidence and reading independence.
In the coming year, we will continue our collaboration for Geodes Level 2. We will also forge ahead as a member of the Alliance for Accreditation and Certification of Dyslexia Specialists to emphasize the importance of accredited multisensory structured language education.
After celebrating our 30th anniversary last year, we enter our fourth decade as an organization dedicated to literacy education and teacher development. We look forward to all that 2019 has in store, and collaborating with our Wilson community to achieve our mission of “literacy for all.”