Hamilton Institute at Wheeler

Research. Expertise. Understanding.
Three words which describe the resources you will find at The Hamilton Institute

Within its 30-year history, The Hamilton School at Wheeler has affected the lives of more than 400 students — students who may not have found success in traditional classrooms. Through structured literacy instruction, and under the care of specially-trained faculty, children at The Hamilton School improve as readers and writers. Beyond academic successes though, Hamilton fosters in its students, confidence, curiosity, and a joy of learning.

It is believed that 20% of children experience reading-related problems in school. Hamilton’s approach to teaching students with language-based learning differences, specifically dyslexia, works. However, to maintain low student:teacher ratios, a Hamilton education is available to a limited number of children. In addition to the small class sizes, the high cost of tuition makes a Hamilton education out of reach to many in need.  The Hamilton Institute, with its outreach and advocacy programs, training workshops and conferences, and parent education resources, developed from the proven expertise of the Hamilton School.

Our Mission

The Hamilton Institute was founded to widen the reach of The Hamilton School’s impact across the broader Rhode Island and New England communities. The Hamilton Institute has a three-fold mission:

  • To serve children with undiagnosed learning differences by offering free reading screenings. Specially trained faculty conduct an hour-long screening. Results are reviewed with the family. This report can then be shared with the child’s school in an effort to better reach the learner. Contact us at HamiltonInstitute@wheelerschool.org for details. Signups for the free service can be made here.  See box below for information on virtual screenings during this time.
  • To further educate families and classroom teachers about dyslexia and other language-based learning differences. Professional development is offered to both educators and parents of children who struggle to read and write. The focus of the annual conference is on the Orton-Gillingham Approach, a structured, explicit, and direct way to teach reading, writing, and spelling. Additional topics include multi-sensory instruction across content areas.
  • To spread awareness and expertise about language-based learning differences and teaching children who are diagnosed with them. Locally, administrators from The Hamilton Institute and faculty from The Hamilton School collaborate with schools interested in expanding services for students with language-based learning differences.

Download the Free Ed Tech Handout for Distance Learners

Download the Hamilton Institute’s Free “Roadmap to help struggling readers”

Programs and resources led by the Hamilton Institute at Wheeler are supported, in part, by external grants and the personal philanthropy of Hamilton School families.


Reach out to us

Free Virtual Reading Screenings For Grades 1-6

Due to physical distancing regulations brought on by the pandemic, our in-person reading screenings are on hold. We are pleased to announce that we’re now offering virtual reading screenings. 

Members of our faculty have worked to establish an efficient and accurate structure for administering reading assessments virtually. We feel confident that we can observe how your child learns, how they process information, and how they generate content. We will be able to measure their skills with trusted assessments and make observations through our interactions with them. 

As always, our observations and assessments are not a diagnosis. Still, we can provide you with suggested next steps, resources for support, and a window into how your child’s brain is tackling reading and writing.

Please contact us at hamiltoninstitute@wheelerschool.org for more information or sign up here.

Hamilton Reading Screenings

Students in Wheeler’s Video Broadcasting Course created a short video to explain and promote reading screenings offered by the Hamilton Institute for Outreach and Advocacy.  Through their Upper School course, students used the Digital Production Studio to storyboard, shoot, edit and collaborate with each other and on-campus faculty and Aerie professionals.  Among the students on the project were: Stephan Bejer, Riley Harrison, Adam Miller, Adam Remondi, Grayson Sparr and Eliot Wemple. The latter three are all graduates of the Hamilton School at Wheeler and now in Wheeler Upper School. We thank the class for its efforts on behalf of Hamilton.

Institute Expertise

Reading Screenings
Lucy Howard
Wendy Harsfield
Jenifer Harrison
Carrie Sorensen
Margot Miller

Summer 2019 Workshop Leaders
Linda Atamian, OG fellow
Zach Edson
Maura Healey
Megan O’Hara
Bobbie Berking-Dalzell
Jon Green & Jeanette Epstein
Lise Faulise, Occupational Therapist
Alison Anderson, Speech and Language

Winter Conference 2019 Leaders
Sarah Ward, Keynote and workshop presentation
Zach Edson and Katie Belida
Will Rennie and Rick Solomon from Delta
Maura Healey and Rosaline Granoff, Speech & Language Pathologist
Carrie Sorensen
Megan O’Hara and Liz Hallock

Learning Differences Conference 2020

Sarah Ward, M.S., CCC/SLP, the co-director of the 360 Thinking Executive Function Program, was the keynote speaker for our annual conference open to educators, parents and interested members of the public.

Educator testimonial: I found some of Sarah’s strategies to teach executive control have stuck with me and informed how I work with students.  In particular, I found the Mind Mime (mental dress rehearsal) model helpful in guiding students who struggle to hold the big picture view while also paying attention to the details of a problem, project or situation.  In addition, her description of how students’ Spatial Temporal Windows change as people get older (and how executive function delays change these time frames) has informed my planning and structuring of long-term projects.”

headshot of conference speaker, Sarah Ward.

Podcast presented by The Hamilton Institute