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By: Sam Sutton

Thousands of children in yeshivot across the city receive free special education services from the New York City Department of EducationParents have learned that even when their child is granted services, choosing the right provider is important. No parent wants to experience the frustration of watching their children try to improve and end up with few gains when the school year is over. The truth is that some P3 providers are more qualified and experienced than others and achieve better results because of it.

Here’s what happens when your child is diagnosed with dyslexia or has fallen behind her peers by two or more years in reading and writing skills: The New York City Department of Education Committee for Special Education (CSE) will give your child at least five hours of free help each week with a P3 provider.  However, getting the services is only half of the challenge. Going forward, you want to make sure the services actually help your child improve. How do you know your P3 provider has the professional background and experience to successfully help your struggling child become a strong and confident reader?

Regarding reading programs, what worksand what doesn’t? There has been so much new and encouraging research on this issue. One thing that almost all experts agree on is that children will improve with an Orton-Gillingham based multi-sensory
intervention. The Wilson Language Company is a national leader in this area, providing training to teachers wanting to learn a multi-sensory approach for helping struggling readers, including those who have dyslexia.

“While we have learned that dyslexia affects individuals differently, depending on the degree of their condition and the effectiveness of instruction or remediation they have received, we have also found that we can successfully teach individuals with dyslexia to read. Early identification is ideal, but it is never too late. Appropriate assistance is critical, and explicit, multisensory language instruction is a key to success.  Wilson uses teaching methods that are effective with students with dyslexia to meet our goal of helping these individuals to become independent readers, allowing them to achieve success both in school and in life.” 

Becoming a Wilson Level 1 Certification requires a major commitment of time and effort.  At least 160 hours of training are involved.  Only an approved trainer within the Wilson Company can observe if a teacher has successfully acquired and mastered the Wilson Level 1 skills – and thereby confer certification.

The Sephardic Community Federation (SCF) has devoted its resources to the issue of securing high quality and well-trained providers. P3 providers have told us that they want more
in-depth training on how to help a child struggling with reading, writing and spelling. We went down to Washington to get a change in the Federal law so that P3 providers could receive free professional development to improve their skills, just as other teachers do.  One major development we have helped to bring about is Wilson Reading Level 1 Certification training opportunities for educators. Over the past three years in New York City, 100 yeshiva teachers, many of whom are P3 providers, have completed, or will be completing within the year, the Wilson Reading
Level 1 Certification. 

Back to your struggling child. Now that he has been approved for an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), your most important job is selecting a P3 provider for him. How do you choose one?  What are you supposed to look for?  What kind of questions should you ask?  One very important qualification to look for is the professional credentials and/or training background of the provider.  If a P3 provider has a Wilson credential (or certification from another Orton Gillingham program), you are on the right track.  It’s very important to make sure that the P3 provider has successfully completed Wilson Level 1 certification – and not just attended a few random workshops of an Orton-Gillingham program.  

The decision of which P3 provider to hire can only be made by the parent.  A school can recommend a provider, but only the parent can approve the provider their child will be working with. For more resources, I encourage you to visit our Parents Education Resource Center website at, a project of the Orthodox Union and TeachNYS.