While wearing her cap and gown, graduating senior Deanna joined a processional through her Ohio elementary school as part of a Jefferson Area Local School District tradition. Cheered on by the younger students, Deanna sought out her Wilson Reading System® (WRS) teacher, Karen Sly, for a hug and photo.
Deanna progressed from receiving special education services to ranking among the top 35 students in her class. Her final three-year individualized education program (IEP) evaluation indicated she no longer qualified for those services.
Deanna, who struggled early with decoding, and verbal and reading comprehension skills, began taking special education classes in fourth grade. That’s when she met Karen, an intervention specialist. Determined to help Deanna, Karen selected her as a WRS Level I and II practicum student outside of school.
Deanna’s drive to learn, combined with WRS’s repetition and phrasing practice, helped her to achieve reading fluency. She became what Karen affectionately calls a “word nerd,” looking deeply into the structure of the English language.
“It gave her a sense of accomplishment,” explained Karen. “As her confidence grew in reading, it began to show in other areas of her life.”
Using her newfound courage, Deanna dove into other interests—earning school awards and recognition at a performance conference. She took media classes and participated in SkillsUSA, a career and technical student organization. Just before graduation, Deanna completed WRS Step 12.
Deanna’s inspiring success will help future students. Karen and her fellow WRS-certified instructors used Deanna’s story to champion expanding WRS instruction beyond elementary school and it’s now offered in middle school.
Congratulations on your graduation, Deanna!