Intervention: Wilson Reading System®
Wilson Reading System® is a supplemental reading and writing curriculum
designed to promote reading accuracy (decoding) and spelling (encoding)
skills for students with word-level deficits. The program is designed to teach
phonemic awareness, alphabetic principles (sound-symbol relationship),
word study, spelling, sight word instruction, fluency, vocabulary, oral
expressive language development, and comprehension. Students engage
in a variety of activities in the classroom, including hearing sounds, practicing
with syllable and word cards, listening to others read, and reading aloud and
repeating what they have read in their own words. The program is designed
to help children master new skills, with reviews reinforcing previous lessons.
This program was designed for students in grade 2 and above. Fundations®,
a related program not reviewed in this report, was recently developed with
the same principle for students in kindergarten through third grade. In the
single study reviewed by the WWC for this report, only the word-level
components of Wilson Reading System® were implemented.
One study of a modified version of Wilson Reading System® met the What
Works Clearinghouse (WWC) evidence standards. 2 This one study included
more than 70 third-grade students in Pennsylvania. 3 The WWC considers the
extent of evidence for Wilson Reading System® to be small for alphabetics,
fluency, and comprehension. No studies that met WWC evidence standards
with or without reservations addressed general reading achievement.
Wilson Reading System® was found to have potentially positive effects on
alphabetics and no discernible effects on fluency and comprehension.
1 The descriptive information for this program was obtained from a publicly
available sources: the program's website (http://www.wilsonlanguage.com/,
downloaded April, 2007) and the research literature (Torgesen et al., 2006).
The WWC requests developers to review the program description sections for
accuracy from their perspective. Further verification of the accuracy of the
descriptive information for this program is beyond the scope of this review.
2 The fluency, comprehension, and vocabulary components of the Wilson
Reading System® were eliminated from instruction at the request of Torgesen
et al. for the purposes of the study. For further information about the
program implemented, please see the research and findings sections in
3 The evidence presented in this report is based on available research.
Findings and conclusions may change as new research becomes available.
4 These numbers show the average and range of student-level improvement
indices for all findings across the study.
Teachers, Parents and Administrators:
Please Give your Input On Wilson Reading System®
WWC is an initiative of the U.S. Department of Education's
Institute of Education Sciences, the WWC:
Produces user-friendly practice guides for educators that address
instructional challenges with research-based recommendations for
schools and classrooms; Assesses the rigor of research evidence
on the effectiveness of interventions (programs, products, practices,
and policies), giving educators the tools to make informed decisions;
Develops and implements standards for reviewing and synthesizing
education research; and
Provides a public and easily accessible
to assist schools, school districts, and program
developers with designing and carrying out
All reports are reprinted from the
US Department of Education website
WWC for informational purposes.
Complete Reports Can Be Found