Don Johnston Releases Readtopia™–A Comprehensive Reading Curriculum for Students with Autism and Other Complex Needs

Thematic Unit: Westward Expansion

With Readtopia, teachers can break through literacy barriers and bring out the potential of each student to participate and LEARN academically and in life. —Karen Erickson, PhD

Readtopia combines over $5 million of materials developed over a decade by a panel of educators, innovators, researchers, writers, and videographers. The core of the program features experiential video, graphic novels (at six levels to match student needs), and informational text.

“Readtopia reflects my years of research and work with students. It gives teachers a comprehensive set of instructional materials like we’ve never had before,” said Dr. Karen Erickson of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “With Readtopia, teachers can break through literacy barriers and bring out the potential of each student to participate and LEARN academically and in life. If you work with students with complex needs, you need to understand what we’ve done here.”

Company founder and Readtopia visionary, Don Johnston, calls this curriculum his “life’s work.” For decades, he envisioned paving a path of discovery that could change the way students with complex needs learn while equipping teachers with the resources they need to make learning to read an experience.

“When I discovered how to make movies in my head, it transformed my experience as a student,” Don explained. “I didn’t have a problem learning when I saw. When reading, I had to transform the words on the page into visual images. Then I got the point.”

To achieve his dream, Don traveled the world filming on-location with film maker Mike Byrne to produce original video. Education visionaries Karen Erickson, Ph.D., and Caroline Musselwhite,…

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