August 2021 Newsletter: Understanding Dyslexia
As educators, we work diligently to ensure we start the year off successfully. Each year comes with new opportunities to learn and grow together as a community. In reality, change can be scary.
As a former school administrator, I can remember some of the questions and concerns within our community specific to dyslexia. I wanted to take a moment to unpack some of the common misconceptions about the disorder.
Before we unpack these misconceptions, it is important to note that the majority of learners can learn to read effectively without the need for formal educations services, given the right supports. In most cases, when we have systems in place for early identification and use effective evidence-based instruction, we can prevent learning gaps from occurring.
Click the arrow next to each heading to see Jackie’s response.
I hope that clarifying some of the myths and misconceptions around dyslexia will help you start the conversation in your own school or district. As leaders in our districts, buildings and classrooms, how can we proactively prepare our learners, families, and staff for these anticipated changes, specifically with House Bill 436? How can we embed these new requirements into our school improvement and communication efforts?
Do you have questions or suggestions for future literacy blog topics? Please send your ideas to Jackie Jacoby.
Dyslexia is a language-based learning disability caused by differences in the way the brain develops and functions. It impacts specific language skills, including: reading, spelling, writing, and pronunciation.
It can make reading more difficult, but almost all individuals with dyslexia can learn to read with the right instruction.
Ohio’s dyslexia legislation
In April 2021, a new set of laws designed to strengthen dyslexia supports for Ohio students went into effect. These laws establish:
- dyslexia screening measures
- professional development identifying dyslexia and teaching students with dyslexia
- a literacy certification process for teachers
- the Ohio Dyslexia Committee
The state is providing several years for full implementation of the dyslexia legislation. We anticipate more information, including a Dyslexia Guidebook from the Ohio Dyslexia Committee, to be released in the coming months. We will share more information as it becomes available.
In the meantime, please contact us if you have questions. We can help you begin to prepare for these changes.
As you continue to use literacy as a lever for school improvement, think about how you will align your goals and planning with the state’s timeline for dyslexia screening and intervention.
- How do you start the discussion in your school / district?
- Who needs a seat at the table?
- How will you begin to make changes using shared leadership?
- Where are there opportunities for engaging with families?
- Which community partners will you ask for collaboration?
How can you align your current school improvement efforts with evidence-based practices that will support all learners in Tier I instruction, meet the needs of students with dyslexia, and follow the legislation guidelines?
- Find your experts: Identify individuals in your district with knowledge regarding reading difficulties, including dyslexia.
- Start on the same page: Be sure your district leaders, teachers, staff, families, and students have a common definition and understanding of dyslexia.
- Begin the discussion: Consider bringing these individuals together as a community to hold a watch party for the documentary, Our Dyslexic Children.
The Martha Holden Jennings Foundation will award $15,000 to selected districts in support of disciplinary literacy projects.
Josh Lawrence and Reading Ways, key collaborators within the Ohio Adolescent Literacy Network (OALN), will assist Region 1 districts with the application process. This is a great opportunity to get connected with Reading Ways to improve adolescent literacy outcomes. Contact Josh Lawrence to get started as soon as possible, as deadlines are quickly approaching.
Level Up with Literacy is a bi-monthly digital publication that provides information and resources to help you ensure all learners have access to high-quality language and literacy instruction and appropriate interventions from birth through grade 12.
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