The Wilson Reading System is a type of reading instruction that uses the Orton-Gillingham approach. It is designed to help students who are falling behind their peers in terms of decoding words, children with dyslexia, and adults with language-based learning disabilities. It is more commonly used with students in elementary, middle school, and high school. Wilson Fundations is used for kindergarten (k) – third grade.
Much like other programs modeled after Orton-Gillingham, WRS follows a multisensory strategy. It employs a direct and systematic approach in teaching the structure of the English language. Using their visual, auditory, kinesthetic (movement), and tactile senses, students learn to make connections between sounds and words. However, WRS uses more direct learning materials, such as concrete pictures to help students focus on decoding words without relying on visual cues.
How the Wilson Reading System Works
Before the program starts, students undergo an assessment. A Wilson-trained instructor will evaluate the child’s skill level, strengths, and weaknesses before creating a lesson plan based on WRS guidelines.
As a reading instruction program, WRS is straightforward and starts with teaching the most basic skills. This involves matching sounds with letters, recognizing different syllables, and using syllables to read and spell. Ensuring that reading materials are age-appropriate and in line with the student’s interests is also key in WRS.
Likewise, the system is also known for its unique “sound-tapping” technique. Students learn to break down and blend words by tapping out each sound with their fingers and thumb.
WRS tutors/instructors cover ten skill areas in every class, including letter-sound recognition, comprehension, and spelling.
The WRS Scope and Sequence
With the Wilson Reading System, skills are built over time in a specific order. According to the Wilson Language Training, the areas by which students receive instruction under WRS are:
- Word structure for automatic decoding and spelling
- Recognition and spelling of high-frequency words, including irregular words
- Sentence-level text reading with ease, expression, and understanding
- Listening comprehension with age-appropriate narrative and informational text
- Reading comprehension with narrative and expository text of increasing levels of difficulty
- Narrative and informational text structures
- Organization of information for oral or written expression
- Proofreading skills
- Self-monitoring for word recognition accuracy and comprehension
The WRS curriculum is divided into 12 steps, which takes between two to three years to complete. Check out the infographics below for a detailed description of the Wilson Reading System Scope and Sequence.
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