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Curriculum Details for
Wilson Fundations

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Practitioner Expert
Content Expert
Wilson Fundations
Publication Date: 2002
Grade Level: K–3
Content Focus: Literacy/Language Arts: Reading, Spelling
Costs: $300 - $450 per level for teachers kits, $30-$50 extra for each student kit.
The costs shown were accurate at the time of the review. Please check the publisher's web site for current prices.
Developer Contact Information
Wilson Language Training
47 Old Webster Road
Oxford, MA, 01540
(508) 368-2399

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Design Summary

Wilson Fundations is a school-based prevention and early intervention program that can easily be adapted for afterschool.  It is a supplemental program in basic reading and spelling instruction, based on NICHD research and the National Reading Panel. It addresses basic skills including print knowledge, alphabet awareness, phonological and phonemic awareness skills, as well as decoding, encoding, and vocabulary. Students can enter the program at various grade and ability levels.  For example: a student who is in first grade can start at Level 1 without having done the kindergarten level, and a student in second grade or beyond could start at Level 2, the highest starting point. Supplemental activities included are designed for students who might need additional support.

The program is multisensory and focuses on hands-on learning with active participation by students, including the use of puppets. Instructional materials include a CD-ROM for teacher training, a manual describing activities, and a specific daily curriculum.  Materials such as manipulatives, student notebooks, word, sound, and syllable cards, and even owl puppets are all used to help teach the curriculum.  A Home Support Pack, available in both English and Spanish, is also a key component of the curriculum.

Costs and Staff Training

For each level, the teacher’s kit costs between $300 and $450, and the student kits are between $30 and $50 per students.  The kits include all necessary materials except for notebooks and composition books, which need to be replaced each year. Some volume discounts are available. Current costs for program materials can be obtained at

Training is offered although not required. It consists of a 1-day workshop at a cost of $225 per person.

Staff Qualifications

Teaching experience is not required to implement Fundations, although the instructor should have some experience with the K-3 age group. Familiarity with explicit, multisensory language instruction and the materials are important factors for teachers’ and non-teachers’ success.  The content expert review suggests that instructors should know their content area, be organized, and know their students well in order to use the curriculum in a meaningful and relevant way.  The practitioner expert review suggests that the trainings offered are sufficient to allow most anyone to implement the program.

Standards Alignment

  • National: None specified, although the National Reading Panel did serve as a foundation for the curriculum.
  • State: Contact the publisher for state alignment.

Research Base

The Wilson Reading System®, Orton-Gillingham philosophy of literacy instruction, and phonological coding research form the basis for Wilson Fundations®.

Evaluation Details

The Florida Center for Reading Research has conducted an independent evaluation of this curriculum to look at overall academic improvement in the areas taught and the inclusion of research-based principles.

Overall Strengths/Overall Challenges

  • Comprehensive curriculum; leaves no vocabulary, spelling or reading skill unturned or unexplored.
  • Materials are varied and are simultaneously accessible for many learners and a variety of learning styles.
  • Students are actively involved and engaged with the learning process. 
  • Solid research base.
  • Especially effective with students who struggle with decoding.
  • Parents and families also play an integral role.
  • Volume of material – manuals, books, journals, cards, DVDs, etc. – may require the teacher to take a good deal of time becoming familiar with and mastering the curriculum.
  • Can be difficult to help new students who enter during the middle of the year to catch up.

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