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Barbara Wilson ‘80 to deliver commencement address on May 21

Posted 04/14/16

Barbara A. WilsonBarbara A. Wilson, a 1980 alumna of Fitchburg State and the co-founder and president of Wilson Language Training, will deliver the address at Fitchburg State University’s undergraduate commencement exercises on Saturday, May 21 at 10 a.m. on the main quadrangle.

Wilson Language Training’s mission is to provide professional learning and ongoing support to literacy educators across the country. She has been dedicated to individuals with dyslexia for over 30 years since her work at the Massachusetts General Hospital Reading Disabilities Clinic where she taught adults with dyslexia how to read. She authored the Wilson Reading System—in use by more than 25,000 teachers across the nation—based on that work and reading research.

“Barbara Wilson is an accomplished educator whose literacy programs are changing the lives of students across this nation every day,” Fitchburg State President Richard S. Lapidus said. “We are honored that she will be sharing her experiences with our graduates this May.”

Wilson, who co-founded the company with her husband, Ed, oversees graduate courses and clinical practicums on teaching reading to students with a language-based learning disability, which lead to Wilson certification. This certification is an integral component for several university programs that are accredited by the International Dyslexia Association (IDA). She also provides a voice for students with dyslexia, with presentations—keynotes and workshops—at more than 300 national and international conferences.

She has also consulted on several research grants for older students, and was invited to the White House to speak to the President’s Domestic Policy Adviser on Education regarding the issue of literacy in America’s middle and high schools. Last summer, she testified in front of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Science, Space, and Technology in support of H.R. 3033, the Research Excellence and Advancements for Dyslexia (READ) Act which was signed into law this February.

Wilson also leads her company’s work with school districts on their Response to Intervention implementation and has authored two additional programs: Wilson Just Words for older students with a word-level deficit and Fundations for students learning to read in K-3. Wilson currently serves on several committees for the International Dyslexia Association and provides professional expertise and consultation to other organizations dedicated to reading and dyslexia.

Wilson was previously recognized by Fitchburg State with its Distinguished Alumna Award in 2009. She received her M.Ed. from Simmons College, Boston, and an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from Becker College, Worcester.

Additional honorees for Fitchburg State’s upcoming commencement exercises will be announced soon.

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