Don Johnston’s Curriculum Division Forges New Company, Building Wings™

VOLO, Ill., Jan. 12, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Don Johnston, Inc.’s curriculum division has formed a new company, Building Wings™ to expand its comprehensive literacy curriculum to focus on the needs of teachers working with students with autism and other complex needs.

Thousands of K-12 special educators use Readtopia® and First Author® curriculum to ensure students facing the biggest challenges in their learning process can read, write, and communicate. The division offers two alternative, standards-aligned curriculum products today for students in upper elementary through high school:

  • Readtopia®, a subscription-based online comprehensive reading curriculum is built from Johnston’s legacy Start-to-Finish series. The curriculum incorporates leveled graphic novels, visually-engaging videos, photography, and informational text to teach phonics and early reading instruction across multiple subject areas– ELA, Math, Social Studies, Life Skills and Science. There are twenty-six units of instruction with teacher guides, and adaptive units for emergent learners.
  • First Author®, a comprehensive writing curriculum for emergent writers, prepares students for the alternate assessments (DLM, MSAA), and enhances their ability to become early communicators capable of expressing themselves.

Dr. Karen Erickson, Director of the Center for Literacy and Disability Studies and Professor in the Division of Speech and Hearing Sciences at the University of NC Chapel Hill, is a co-designer of Readtopia® and co-author of "Comprehensive Literacy for All" with David Koppenhaver. She said, "Don has traveled the world to capture the sights and sounds of the legendary stories and videos in his curriculum. Our team does a masterful job of designing instructional materials that truly engages students across the spectrum to become productive learners, readers, and writers. Congratulations on Building Wings!"

Don Johnston is a long-standing advocate on disability issues in education, and admired for his collaborative approach to produce specially-designed curriculum and assistive technology tools. His teams collaborate with leading academic researchers, instructional designers, special educators, specialists in assistive technology, occupational therapy and AAC, as well as graphic, photography, and film artists. At an early age, a teacher recognized Johnston’s curiosity and love for space exploration. She helped him to learn in non-traditional ways. This is the philosophy behind all his product development and company endeavors.

"We can stand proud of our legacy, and forging a new chapter with Building Wings™," said Johnston. "Working together with special educators we will improve the literacy outcomes for many more students and help them soar in their learning experiences."

About Building Wings

Building Wings™ develops evidence-based, comprehensive reading and writing curriculum to accommodate and improve literacy outcomes for students with autism, cognitive and developmental delays, and complex needs in upper elementary, middle, and high school. Thousands of K-12 special educators use Readtopia® and First Author® to awaken the learning potential of their students so they can read, write, and communicate, and to help them soar in their learning experiences. Visit or call 847.238.8889.

About Don Johnston, Inc.

Building Wings™ is a separate organization from Don Johnston, Inc., an industry leader in assistive technology tools for education and human learning. In January 2022, the tools division of Don Johnston, Inc. joined forces with Texthelp, a world leader in accessibility and productivity software tools. Don Johnston’s new role on the Board of the Texthelp Group will help to drive forward a shared vision to expand product innovation with a common goal of supporting equality and inclusion of all people.

Media Contact: Valerie Chernek

SOURCE Building Wings Company