The Wilson Reading System is a structured literacy program designed for individuals with reading difficulties, particularly those with dyslexia. It was created by Barbara Wilson, who struggled with reading and writing due to dyslexia. The system is based on the Orton-Gillingham approach, which emphasizes a multisensory approach to teaching reading and spelling.

Over the years, the Wilson Reading System has gained popularity among educators and parents alike, as it has proven effective in helping struggling readers become confident and proficient readers. In this article, we will explore the benefits of the Wilson Reading System for struggling readers.

A Structured And Systematic Approach

The Wilson Reading System is a structured and systematic program taught in a specific sequence. It starts with the most basic phonetic concepts and gradually progresses to more complex concepts. The program teaches phonology, sound-symbol relationships, syllable types, and morphological awareness. It also includes reading fluency, comprehension, and vocabulary.

The structured and systematic approach of the Wilson Reading System provides struggling readers with a clear and predictable learning pathway. It helps them build a strong foundation in phonics and spelling, which is essential for reading success.

Multisensory Instruction

The Wilson Reading System uses a multisensory approach to teaching reading and spelling. The program incorporates visual, auditory, and kinesthetic-tactile learning modalities, which help struggling readers learn and remember information more effectively.

For example, students are taught to use their fingers to feel the movement of their mouth as they say sounds, which helps them to develop phonemic awareness. They also use manipulatives such as letter tiles and sandpaper letters to reinforce phonetic concepts.

The multisensory approach of the Wilson Reading System engages struggling readers in the learning process and helps them to retain information more effectively.

Individualized Instruction

The Wilson Reading System is designed to be taught in a one-on-one or small group setting. This allows for individualized instruction, which is crucial for struggling readers. The program is tailored to meet the specific needs of each student, and the pace of instruction is adjusted accordingly.

Individualized instruction allows struggling readers to receive targeted support and feedback, which can help them to make significant gains in reading ability. It also allows for a personalized learning experience, which can help to build students’ confidence and motivation.

Evidence-Based Practice

The Wilson Reading System is an evidence-based program extensively researched and evaluated. The program effectively improves reading skills for individuals with reading difficulties, including dyslexia.

Research studies have found that students who receive instruction using the Wilson Reading System significantly improve reading fluency, decoding, and comprehension. The program has also been found to be effective for students of various ages and reading levels.

Builds Confidence And Motivation

Struggling readers often experience feelings of frustration and low self-esteem. The Wilson Reading System is designed to build students’ confidence and motivation by providing a structured and supportive learning environment.

The program emphasizes positive reinforcement and celebrates students’ progress and achievements. This can help struggling readers feel more motivated and engaged in learning.

Lifelong Learning Skills

The Wilson Reading System helps struggling readers improve their reading skills and teaches them essential lifelong learning skills. The program emphasizes critical thinking, problem-solving, and metacognitive strategies.

Students learn to analyze words and sentences, make predictions, and monitor their comprehension. These skills are not only essential for reading but also for academic success in other subjects.

Teacher Training And Support

The Wilson Reading System provides extensive teacher training and support. Educators who use the program receive comprehensive training in the program’s methodology and teaching techniques. They also receive ongoing support and professional development opportunities.

This ensures educators have the knowledge and skills to effectively implement the program and provide individualized instruction to struggling readers.

In addition, the Wilson Reading System provides educators with various resources, including lesson plans, instructional materials, and assessments. This makes it easier for teachers to implement the program and track students’ progress.


The Wilson Reading System is a versatile program used in various settings, including schools, clinics, and homes. The program can be adapted to meet the needs of different age groups and reading levels.

The program can also support English language learners and students with other learning difficulties, such as ADHD or autism. The program’s versatility makes it a valuable resource for educators and parents who work with struggling readers.