Wilson/Fundations or Orton-Gillingham:
Enhancing Literacy Skills with Structured Instruction
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Wilson and Orton Gillingham Reading Programs
Developed by the Wilson Language Training Corporation, Fundations, and Wilson are two highly regarded programs considered corporate versions of the renowned Orton-Gillingham approach. With shared instructional strategies and principles, these programs provide structured, systematic, and explicit teaching methods to support individuals with language-based learning differences. This blog explores the similarities, differences, and benefits of Fundations, Wilson, and the Orton-Gillingham philosophy.
Dr. Samuel T. Orton and educator Anna Gillingham pioneered the Orton-Gillingham approach in the early 20th century to assist individuals with dyslexia, a learning disorder affecting reading and language processing. Orton-Gillingham recognizes the importance of structured, explicit, and personalized instruction tailored to address the unique challenges faced by individuals with dyslexia.
Key Principles of Orton-Gillingham
- Multisensory Approach: Engaging multiple senses, like visual, auditory, and kinesthetic, promotes effective learning and memory retention. This approach involves using visual aids, auditory cues, and hands-on activities to reinforce learning.
- Systematic and Cumulative Instruction: Orton-Gillingham advocates a step-by-step, sequential teaching approach. Concepts are introduced gradually, with each new skill building upon previously learned material, ensuring a solid foundation for further progression.
- Explicit Instruction: Concepts are explicitly taught, practiced, and reinforced, leaving no room for assumptions. This approach fosters mastery and a deeper understanding of language skills.
- Individualized Instruction: Recognizing the uniqueness of learners, Orton-Gillingham emphasizes tailoring instruction to meet individual needs and accommodate diverse learning profiles.
Fundations: Classroom-Friendly Implementation
Fundations, developed by the Wilson Language Training Corporation, is a classroom program designed for whole-class instruction in early literacy skills. It's hares similarities with Wilson and Orton-Gillingham, employing multisensory, systematic, and explicit teaching methods. Structured and sequential phonics, spelling, and handwriting instruction enable gradual skill development.
Wilson: Individualized Orton-Gillingham Tutoring
Wilson, another program developed by the Wilson Language Training Corporation, provides highly structured Orton-Gillingham tutoring. It adheres to the principles and philosophy of Orton-Gillingham, offering explicit, systematic, and multisensory instruction to individuals with language-based learning differences. The program’s comprehensive curriculum includes various materials, instructional techniques, and strategies to support reading, spelling, and writing development.
Benefits and Adaptations
Fundations and Wilson, as corporate versions of Orton-Gillingham, have been adapted and standardized to make the Orton-Gillingham approach more accessible for widespread implementation in different educational settings. They provide comprehensive support for early literacy skills, emphasizing multisensory instruction, explicit teaching, and systematic skill development. While Fundations suits whole-class instruction in general education settings, Wilson caters to individualized tutoring.
Fundations, Wilson, and the Orton-Gillingham approach serve as effective tools for enhancing literacy skills among individuals with language-based learning differences. By incorporating multisensory, systematic, and explicit instructional methods, these programs provide structured and personalized instruction that addresses the specific needs of learners. Whether implemented in a classroom or through individual tutoring, Fundations, Wilson, and the Orton-Gillingham philosophy offer valuable support in promoting reading, spelling, and writing success.
An advocate for special needs children through and through, and amazing in her dedication and practice. Cassie is a reading specialist who has worked one on one with our 6-year-old son for the last 9 months (Aug 2016-May 2017). Our son brings challenging avoidance behaviors and impulsivity to their sessions. Cassie uses the Orton-Gillingham approach and improvises with clever multi-sensory ideas to engage him. Through practice, she learned that if she uses gentle squeezes on his arm corresponding to syllables/letter sounds, it allows him to stay engaged. She is always very flexible, while firm, and creative in adjusting or rearranging tasks based on his needs and attention level. She makes a point of creating success for her students and having the session ended on a positive note. He has made incredible progress in his phonology and reading, which he then applies in school, using the specific tools Cassie has taught him. He loves reading and is very proud of his skills. She has provided detailed reports after each session, along with strategies and activities to practice. She is an advocate for special needs children through and through, and amazing in her dedication and practice.
– Emily, mother
I am so grateful to her. Amy is a fantastic speech therapist, reading strategist, and confidence-builder! My now-7-year-old son was having difficulty with enunciation, and, perhaps relatedly, hesitating to try reading aloud. I was concerned about taking him to a speech therapist because I did not want to make him (more) self-conscious. A year ago, Craig at Brooklyn Letters recommended Amy, and the whole family has come to rely on her. My 7-year old’s speech is much clearer than it was, and Amy has taught him a bunch of different strategies to try if he is unsure how to make a sound or read a word, which greatly reinforced his reading learning at school. Amy saw immediately how to win my shy son’s confidence (ask him to explain how to play chess to her), and targeted her strategies to his strengths (numbers and sports!) so that he could work on the new skills while feeling good about himself. My son looks forward to Amy’s weekly visits immensely (it is also really helpful that she comes to our house!). Amy recently told me that she thought he was ready to graduate from their sessions, and I immediately felt like this would be a real loss for him and for me as a parent because I have so come to value Amy’s advice. So I persuaded her to work with him once a week on Spanish (Amy is bi-lingual), which he has just begun at school, and on homework strategies. I am so grateful to her.
MEET SOME OF OUR LITERACY SPECIALISTS WHO TRAVEL TO YOUR HOME
M. Ed., Certified New Jersey Special Education Teacher/Developmental Specialist-Pre-K through Grade 3 and Teacher of Students with Disabilities
MA, NYS Certified Pre-K-6th Grade, NYS Certified Childhood Education And Students With Disabilities
M.A. in Secondary Education English Teacher Specialization, Certified Structured Literacy/Dyslexia Interventionist
M.S. ED., NYS Certified Childhood General And Special Education (Grades 1-6)
M.S. Education for General & Special Education, NYS Certified Educator of Childhood General & Special Education
Masters in Special Education. Teaching credential in Multiple Subjects (General Education, Elementary K-6) and Special Education (mild-moderate disabilities). Trained in the Orton-Gillingham approach to Literacy.
M.S.Ed. in Literacy Education (Grades 1-6), Bachelor of Science in Childhood and Special Education (Grades 1-6)
Special Educator And Childhood Literacy Specialist, Pre-K 4th Grade, MS, PhD