SJU's Online Master's to Offer Coveted Certification

Partnership with Wilson Language Training Corporation a First for Online Learning

Friday, February 20, 2009

PHILADELPHIA (February 20, 2009)—Beginning in March, students in Saint Joseph's University's Online Special Education: Response to Intervention Program will have the opportunity to earn certification as Wilson Reading System® teachers, a highly respected credential for teachers who instruct students with language-based learning disabilities, such as dyslexia. The University's partnership with Wilson Language Training Corporation marks the first time the certification will be available in an online format, as part of a master's degree.

"SJU's collaboration with Wilson is an exciting enhancement to our special education program and a testament to the quality of our teacher preparation programs," said Cathy Spinelli, Ph.D., professor of education and director of special education programs. "The online master's degree is only in its first year and enrollment is high. We're thrilled to be able to offer this option to our students in such a convenient format."

Saint Joseph's students may obtain the Wilson® certification by using electives in their master's degree in special education.  To obtain the Wilson certification, students are required to complete nine graduate credit hours, plus a one-credit introduction to the Wilson. The certification program includes five practicum observations by a certified Wilson trainer. A truly unique and convenient aspect of the partnership is that these observations may be conducted in the convenience of their home or school via a webcam.  

"Wilson Reading Certification is ideal for teachers who seek to increase their marketability and respond more effectively to their students with reading challenges," explained Cheryl A. Koki, licensure and higher education program administrator for Wilson Language Training. "It is a great opportunity for students to acquire this type of certification remotely via an online setting."

Since its launch in 1986, more than 10,000 educators have become certified in the Wilson Reading System®, designed to bolster training for teachers assisting students with reading challenges from grade two through adult. The integrated webcam practicum introduced through Saint Joseph's University allows teachers to have their lessons observed while receiving simultaneous feedback from a professor.

"We have seen a significant increase in the number of students identified with reading disabilities in recent years. School administrators tell us that parents want their schools to provide the Wilson Reading Program," explained Spinelli. "Some students don't learn the way we typically teach. Many students with reading disorders, even non-readers, benefit from the systematic instructional approach provided by the Wilson Reading System®.

For additional information about the Wilson Reading Certification offered through Saint Joseph's University Online, please visit

Media Contact

 Kelly Welsh, Senior Associate Director of University Communications, 610-660-1385,

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