Adventures in Literacy Land: wilson

Showing posts with label wilson. Show all posts
Showing posts with label wilson. Show all posts

Trying Something New with RTI Tier 1 Groups

Hi everyone! It's Bex here from Reading and Writing Redhead. I thought it would be a good time, since it is about 6 weeks from the end of the year (for me), to let you know that I have been trying something new with my RTI tier 1 groups.

For the last few years, I have felt that spelling has been a weakness for many of my students.  Despite the amazing help the reading specialists offer with the Tier 2 and Tier 3 students, and attempting to obtain support for the students from the Student Success Team, students' spelling skills seem to only see a  minimal improvement. As the classroom teacher, I am ultimately responsible for the progress for all students, who meet with meet during Language Arts Tier 1 groups.

 Our spelling program is the one that comes with the McMillan McGraw Hill Treasures program, circa about 2006 or so. All of the classroom teachers use the on level spelling lists included in the program and then to differentiate, we have created more challenging lists and lists with fewer spelling variations.

My school doesn't use Wilson or Fundations but I have been to introductory Wilson Training and to Fundations level 1 and 2 training.  I decide to incorporate a modified version of Fundations level 2 with my RTI tier 1 groups this year and track spelling progress.

The Fundations program is from the Wilson Language Institute. You can learn more about it from my blog post here.  I meet with small groups for 20-30 minutes a day up to four times a week. At the beginning of the year all groups learned the Fundations drill sounds, used the magnetic letter board to work on sounds and spelling, learned syllable types, worked on decoding in a journal, and practiced grammar too.  Around December I added in connected text reading once or twice a week. The students also rotated through learning centers every day that addressed comprehension skills, vocabulary , fluency, phonics, grammar and writing. If I felt a certain group of students needed some extra help with a topic or concept, I also addressed it in small groups in lieu of Fundations from time to time. So I would call my Fundations work with my RTI Tier 1 groups a very loose adaptation of the program, but the best I could do with the number of reading groups I had to meet with on a regular basis (4), in the time I had (about 100 minutes, including mini lessons, center directions, wrap ups, etc.) and being the only teacher in the room.

At the beginning of the year I gave my students the Primary Spelling Inventory. I looked at the possible points for all the different phonics sounds in the inventory and came up with a goal for the % encoded correctly that I wanted most students to reach. My goal was to have 80% of my students score 80% or more by the end of the year. In September 44% scored above 80%. So I hoped to double that by June, keeping in mind the spelling inventory was only one  measure of success and I hoped to see improvement especially in my student's spelling in their writing. Around February 1st, I gave the spelling inventory again to assess progress so far and I was thrilled. Already 94% of my students had a score above 80%- well above my end of the year goal and only at the beginning of February. At that time 72% of the class was also scoring 90% or higher. Nice! Now, we still have 6 weeks left of the school year, so I haven't given the inventory for the final time yet but I am confident the students will do amazing. Additionally, looking at some writing samples I saved from the fall, and the first part of their writing journals, students definitely have come a long way in their spelling.

I definitely plan to continue using Fundations with my Tier 1 group next year. I know this year was a small sample of students, and every class is different, but I hope to see similar improvements in my students' decoding skills again at the end of next year.

What have you tried that is new this year? How did you feel it has gone? How about next year- plan to try something new? Comment below and let us know!



What is Wilson? An Overview by Reading and Writing Redhead

Hey everyone, it's Bex here from Reading and Writing Redhead! I'm stopping by to share some info with you about Wilson and the Wilson Language programs!

Have you heard of Wilson but are not sure what it is? Have you heard of other schools that have Wilson certified reading specialists, a school is hiring but wants someone with Wilson certification, or your child's school offers Wilson intervention but  you are not clear on what it is? Or do you just want a refresher on Wilson? Well, this update is for you! I know when I was a newer teacher I kept hearing that Wilson, OG (Orton-Gillingham), or LiPS would be possible interventions for some of my students who were struggling with reading, but I did not know what those were, so I figured a little summary of what I now know might help someone.

The Wilson Language Institute was found by Barbara Wilson, who was a  special education teacher and tutor. She developed it while she was working at Mass General Hospital's Language Disorder Unit in order to teach students the structure of words in a systematic and cumulative manner so that they can gain the confidence that they will be able to become skilled readers. After Wilson became successful, the focus turned to training educators so they could implement Wilson in their own schools.
Wilson offers several programs. The most intensive is the research-based Wilson Reading System (WRS), which is most often used to support students with learning disabilities, and it's recommended that educators spend 60-90 minutes working with students in small groups (6 or less) every day. It is based on the principles of Orton-Gillingham. WRS directly teaches the structure of the language for decoding and encoding and also addresses fluency and comprehension.  It also has multisensory aspects and has been used successfully to help both children and adults master English. WRS has 2 levels of vocabulary that makes it appropriate for younger students as well as older students and adults.

Wilson emphasizes that it is essential for schools to have trained and certified teachers to implement the system, and they offer training at their headquarters in Oxford, MA, as well as around the countries. Many school districts hire Wilson to come and train their entire staff or their reading teachers. Click here to see an overview of the multi-tiered system of support that the Wilson Reading System offers.

Wilson collected data for more than ten years from school districts that were experiencing success using WRS. This led to the creation of Fundations®, a research-based program that brings instruction to general education classrooms, so that the Wilson philosophy can be brought to all students K-3. Fundations® instruction is explicit, cumulative, systematic and multi-sensory.

Wilson also has a program for older students (grade 4 and up and adults) who do not need intensive intervention but have reading difficulties. The program is Just Words®, and it provides explicit decoding and spelling instruction. Just Words "accelerates the delivery of the Wilson Reading System®" in a way that is appropriate for older students and it is popular as a second tier intervention in schools or a program for adult learning centers. 

Finally, there is a program called Wilson Fluency/Basic® which provides supplemental explicit fluency instruction and reading practice. This allows students to practice applying skills with connected text. It is aligned with the other Wilson programs and provides practice with 200-250 word passages for students to improve their fluency.

I was lucky enough to be able to participate in the 3 day Wilson introductory training a few years ago and was hooked. It was introductory training for WRS. We went through sample lessons, acting as students, and learned how to set up our own lessons and plan (although most of the plans are pretty much done for you, there are ways to individualize it to your students' needs so you do have to do a small amount of prep). 

My  favorite aspect of WRS was the use of the magnetic letter boards. Daily practice making words and reviewing the sounds and phonics and spelling rules that have already been taught make perfect sense. Plus, one of the weaknesses of so many students is encoding. Some other informal or teacher made (like some I made myself) interventions are focused on decoding and don't offer practice with encoding.

Last summer and fall I also went to Fundations® training. I loved the Wilson training, but since I am a general education teacher with a second grade class, it did not make sense to continue to try to pursue that certification. Fundations® is for teachers like me and intervention specialists who work in the classroom. It especially fits in great with RTI and can be used for all three tiers, in whatever way is needed. Fundations® does a lot with the magnetic letter boards, but also we drill sounds at the beginning of each lesson (a sound drill is reading the letter, a key word, and then the sound it makes and showing a card to the students, having them repeat it back). It is great practice and I feel it really helps the kids get that knowledge of the sound/spelling combinations. PLUS they LOVE it because after the first few weeks, the children get to be the drill leaders themselves! I have a puppet named Echo (that comes with the program) and the children hold the puppet and lead the drill, and the other students "echo" what Echo and the drill leader have just said. Fundations® also has  specific spelling practice and writing practice and also has a somewhat informal handwriting piece. There is also fluency work as well.

Personally, I have not been able to fully implement Fundations® because my school is tied to the old Treasures program and I have to spend time each day on that, and I still need to teach all the grammar and mechanics that is required in second grade. Additionally I bought materials myself so I only have enough for groups of 5 students, so I ended up doing Fundations® lessons during RTI tier one with my reading groups. However, I feel like these students are really doing well with it and I am assessing them throughout the year and looking to compare our DIBELS data to data from last year before I implemented Fundations®.

What reading intervention programs are you familiar with? Which ones have you used and what do you think works best? 

Emily, The OG Tutor, has some great blog posts relating to Orton Gillingham. Check them out here:

You can find more topics under the heading "Intervention" on our Topics page. Click here to see that page.