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Curriculum Details for
Wilson Reading System

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Practitioner Expert
Content Expert
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Practitioner Expert Background

Two practitioners were interviewed for this review of Wilson Reading Systems.  One practitioner is the Director of Curriculum and Instruction for a mid-sized school district.  She has also been teaching Wilson Reading in special education classes for the past six years, and has found it to be successful in improving these students’ reading skills. The second practitioner has been using Wilson Reading Systems regularly for the past 15 years.  The students she works with are multicultural and have a range of reading abilities.


  • Attended a two-day initial training. Felt training to be sufficient to start using Wilson Reading, although also found follow-up professional development sessions to be beneficial.
  • Preparation takes between 30 minutes and one hour to prepare for a two-day lesson for students in small groups.
  • As instructors become more familiar with the curriculum, the basics of preparation and set up become easier.
  • Has used Wilson effectively with classes of 12-16 students. Sometimes these students are broken up into smaller groups.
  • High quality, individualized customer service.

Student Engagement

  • Curriculum requires students to be involved orally, manipulatively, and physically.  Requires student response at all times.
  • Students tend to be engaged and rely upon the structure of the program to help them learn.
  • Monitoring piece, which allows them to see what they are trying to achieve, can be motivating for students. 
  • Comprehensiveness of program allows students to be able to focus on those topics they are struggling with the most.
  • Teachers can make up games to add to the program.


Adaptability to instructor needs
  • Program is structured, but not entirely scripted.  A specific scope and sequence is offered.  Teacher needs to know students well enough to know which words, stories, concepts, etc., to choose to teach students.
  • Differentiates introductory, accuracy, and fluency lessons, with fluency being the ultimate goal.
  • Structure is especially useful in special education classes.
  • Included are progress monitor pieces that help students.
General skills taught
  • Builds vocabulary, especially with students who may struggle in this area.
  • Helps students’ understanding of how to question, learn, think, and research to further push what they already know.
Addressing diverse student needs
  • Program is designed to be used for all ages—middle school through adult.
  • Has been effective with students who are English language learners.

Strengths and Challenges

  • Solid research base.
  • Comprehensive reading curriculum.
  • Students are actively involved and engaged with the learning process. 
  • This practitioner did not find any challenges with Wilson Reading.

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