Bayview Elementary Laketown Elementary Southview Elementary

Reprinted with permission from the Waconia Patriot

By Al Lohman

Are you able to read this sentence?

For students entering elementary school, the goal is to get them to read a sentence like the one above, and this fall Waconia School District 110 has added a new word study curriculum to its language arts program.

The district typically reviews its curriculum every few years based on current education standards, the latest research and best practices, and student needs and assessments. So explains Sarah Klitzke, Waconia Public Schools teaching and learning manager.

Following its latest language review, the district selected Wilson “Fundations” for its kindergarten through second grade curriculum, according to Klitzke.

Wilson is a provider of research-based reading and spelling programs for all ages, and the Wilson reading system has proven highly effective, Klitzke notes. A team of teachers, special education instructors and reading specialists were involved in the latest curriculum review.

With Wilson, the path to meeting literacy objectives is all mapped out, with a focus on early intervention for K-2 students.

That was one reading concern expressed at a program last fall staged by a local parent-led group called Dyslexia Advocates, which advocates for students who struggle with reading and writing.

The best way to achieve literacy success is to identify the individual student’s needs and then implement the correct teaching strategy, according to Wilson lesson planners. Each model in the Wilson system differs in practice, intensity, and duration, but all have been designed to help students master the appropriate level of literacy.

“Wilson Fundations is a multi-sensory way for kids to learn the foundational skills for reading,” said Kaitlin Thompson, second-grade teacher at Bayview Elementary. “The daily routines make it easy for teachers and students to feel success while packing so many skills into one lesson.

Other teachers say they are “amazed at how much rigor and fun are wrapped into one program,” Klitzke reports.

“One of the biggest shifts with our new curriculum is that students are understanding how to apply the rules of our English language into both reading and writing across all subject areas,” she said. “Our teachers are already seeing students apply these learning strategies which is leading to more confident readers.”