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Wilson Reading System for Struggling Readers

Introduction to the Wilson Reading System for struggling readers and how it can be adapted for students who are blind or visually impaired

What is the Wilson Reading System®?

The Wilson Reading System® was written by Barbara A. Wilson, and was first published in 1988. This reading instruction program is based on Orton-Gillingham philosophy and principles, as well as phonological coding research. Reading instruction is focused on the alphabet principle of sound/symbol knowledge, phonemic awareness and segmentation skills, word structure and analysis knowledge (phonics), reading accuracy, fluency, comprehension, and spelling. This approach is supported by the National Reading Panel Report from 2000, which was sponsored by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) and the U.S. Department of Education.

How is the Wilson Reading System® used with students who are blind or visually impaired?

The use of the Wilson Reading System® at the Perkins School for the Blind began as various teachers tried to find alternative teaching methods for students who were struggling to learn to read. Training from the Wilson Corporation took place on Perkins’ campus. With a grant from the American Foundation for the Blind, print materials from the Wilson Reading System® were transcribed into braille. Instruction was provided to various students, who ranged in age from eight to nineteen years. Teachers and parents were very pleased to see the students begin to make progress and feel more successful in their reading. The information provided in this pamphlet is based on what teachers learned when using this program with braille readers.

Formal training through the Wilson Corporation was critical to our success. Wilson’s staff has continued to support Perkins, and this contact has been extremely helpful. It is strongly recommended that all teachers planning to use this program participate in formal Wilson Training. At a minimum, this training involves participation in Wilson’s ten-hour Overview Workshop. Please contact the Wilson Training Corporation at (800) 899-8454 or to learn more about their training opportunities.

How Can I Get Started Using the Wilson Reading System® with Students Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired?

There are a number of articles on this site on using the Wilson Reading System® with students with visual impairments.  See the following pages:


Where can I get more information?

Wilson Reading System Instructional Materials
American Printing House for the Blind (APH)
A girl reading a page of braille

Reading for Everyone: Expanding Literacy Options

Collage of using the Wilson Reading System with students with visual impairments
Tips and guides

Using the Wilson Reading System® (WRS) to Help Students with Visual Impairments


Understanding Dyslexia in Children with Visual Impairments