• Wilson Reading Program


    TheWilson Reading System

    Alamance-BurlingtonSchool System,

    Departmentof Exceptional Children




    TheWilson Reading System is a research-based reading and writing program. Wilson is designed toserve as a complete curriculum for teaching students how to decode (read) andencode (spell) by systematically teaching the structure of words in the Englishlanguage.  Information is presented in anorganized, sequential and cumulative manner in order to assure students areable to manage the amount of information presented as well as assure mastery ofskills taught. 

    Thebasic purpose of the Wilson Reading System is to teach students how to fluentlydecode and encode. In addition to presentation of information in controlledtext, Wilson Reading System also provides instruction on sight word reading,fluency, vocabulary development, oral expressive language and comprehension oftext.

    Inorder to ensure interaction between teacher and student, the Wilson ReadingSystem utilizes activities which increase the amount of interaction between theteacher and student through direct and mulitsensory practice of thoseskills.  Wilson Reading System utilizes aten-part lesson plan allowing the progression from easier to more challengingtasks for decoding and then spelling.


    DIRECT – Studentsare taught skills in a systematic and direct manner through interactivelearning.

    STRUCTURED- Wilson Reading System is a 12 Step decoding and encodingprogram designed to teach students to understand the system of the Englishlanguage.

    CUMULATIVE- Each step in the program builds on the one before it.Students work from sounds to syllables, words to sentences, and paragraphs tostories, learning the structure of English through constant repetition andreview.

    MULTISENSORY- In Wilson Reading, students learn by hearing sounds;manipulating color-coded sound, syllable and word cards; performing fingertapping exercises, writing down spoken words; reading aloud and repeating whatthey have read in their own words, and hearing others read as well.

    Who is Wilson Reading Designed toHelp?

    TheWilson Reading System is designed for students who have difficulty with the phoneticsor orthography of the English language thus making it a challenge to learn toread and spell without an explicit, systematic, and multisensory approach.

    Theprogram will greatly benefit:

    • Students with a language-based learning disability (such as dyslexia)
    • Students who have difficulty decoding accurately and often guess at words
    • Slow, labored readers who lack fluency
    • Students who may know words by sight, but have difficulty reading new words and “nonsense” syllables
    • Poor spellers


    The following publications, studies andcitations reflect success of Wilson Reading System.


    Bursuck, W., and Dickson, S.
    Implementing a Model for Preventing Reading Failure: A Report From the Fieldin Learning Disabilities Research & Practice, 14(4), 191-202, LawrenceErlbaum Associates, Inc.

    Mather, N. and Goldstein, S.
    Learning Disabilities and Challenging Behaviors - A Guide to Interventionand Classroom Management. Baltimore, MD: Brookes Publishing Company.

    Moats, Louisa C. 1998.

    Reading, Spelling and Writing Disabilities in the Middle Grades in LearningAbout Learning Disabilities, Wong, B (ed.) Orlando FL; Academic Press.

    O'Connor,J. and Wilson, B.
    Effectiveness of the Wilson Reading System® used in Public School Training.In McIntyre, C., and Pickering, J. (eds) 1995. Clinical studies of MultisensoryStructured Language Education. Salem, OR: International Multisensory StructuredLanguage Education Council.

    Shaywitz, Sally M.D. 2003.

    Overcoming Dyslexia: The New and Complete Science-Based Program for ReadingProblems at Any Level. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.

    Florida Center for Reading Research – Reports
    The Florida Center for Reading Research (FCRR), directed by Joseph Torgesen,Ph.D., evaluates how reading curricula and materials align with current readingresearch. It is one of three national Reading First support centers.

    The FCRR report about the Wilson Reading System can be found at:


    State Improvement Project
    The purpose of the North Carolina State Improvement Project is to establishprogram support services to significantly improve the performance and successof students with disabilities in North Carolina. Wilson Reading System® is oneof four reading programs identified for implementation.


    Alamance-Burlington School System

    Department of ExceptionalChildren

    1712 Vaughn Road

    Burlington, NC 27217

    Phone 336.570.6060

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