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Diane Giannaccini, right, poses with Wilson Literacy Specialist Bonnie O’Shields.
Diane Giannaccini, right, poses with Wilson Literacy Specialist Bonnie O’Shields. (Courtesy Photo / Carroll County Public Schools)

After the previous Wilson Reading System credentialed trainer for Carroll County Public Schools retired, the school system needed a new face to train teachers in the system which is used to help struggling readers.

Since 2005, more than 400 CCPS teachers have been trained in Wilson Language Training programs.

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They found a candidate in Diane Giannaccini, instructional consultant for reading intervention, with 24 years of experience in education and 20 of those at CCPS.

The Wilson Reading System is an intensive program for students with dyslexia and other language-based learning disabilities that is used across the country and accredited by the International Dyslexia Association. It’s multisensory and structured and the goal is independence and fluency in reading and spelling, according to a news release from CCPS.

Giannaccini underwent a year-long internship to prepare her to certify coach and mentor faculty as a credentialed trained for the Wilson Reading System.

Her training was through a literacy grant from the Maryland State Department of Education.

In the news release, Giannaccini said, “The practicum was incredibly powerful in increasing teachers’ instructional knowledge. Their students made remarkable progress, which was demonstrated both in the data and in their self-confidence. These students have all expressed that they are readers now and that tasks are easier because they can read! They felt good about their accomplishments, which was evident in their smiles and A+ assignments.”

The Times caught up with Giannaccini to ask about her training and what she likes to read on her time off.

This conversation has been edited some for length and clarity.

Q: Can you summarize the role of an instructional consultant for reading intervention?

A: I provide professional development in all literacy interventions. That’s reading and written language intervention, as well as support with core curriculum in reading and writing.

So I work directly with teachers pre-K to grade 12.

Q: So you’re kind of a person who teaches teachers?

A: Yes, I work directly with teachers. Or staff, IA’s, administrators... Whoever is interested or requires additional support with knowledge of specialized intervention.

Q: Do you have kind of a typical day, or does your schedule vary all the time?

A: Yes, it varies every day. I’m never in the same place on any day.

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Q: Was the Wilson [Trainer credential] something that you sought out and said, “Hey, you know, I’d love to do this?”

A: Yes, it was. I think it’s worthwhile. We had a Wilson trainer in the system and she retired. So that left Carroll County without a Wilson credential trainer. That’s something that the [Special Education] Department really wanted to pursue and sustain. So I’m very thankful that I had the opportunity to do it.

Q: Working with Wilson, is it something you’ve seen have a noticeable difference on students?

A: For those students that require that intensity of instruction — because it is instruction that’s very intense, to support students that are really struggling in reading or have dyslexia — it has been very effective for those students.

Q: In general, working in literacy for a while, have you seen changes in attitudes and the way people look at that field over the years?

A: There are a lot of philosophies out there. You know, they talk about the reading wars, with different philosophies that people have with reading.

I think that, that we don’t participate in those wars, and we do what we know is working best for children. And that’s the way to go.

Q: When you are not working, what do you like to do on your days off?

A: I like to read. [She laughs]. I do, I like to read. I go for walks. I do like to support the community. I work at the local food pantry.

Q: I was actually going to ask you if you like to read.

A: Absolutely. It’s a great pleasure. And I want to share that with students. I think that you know, just to offer that gift is important.

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