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Teaching and Learning - Dyslexia
Per Senate Bill 48, beginning with the 2020-2021 school year, the State School Superintendent, Mr. Richard Woods, established a three-year pilot program to demonstrate and evaluate the effectiveness of early reading assistance programs for students with risk factors of dyslexia. Senate Bill 48 requires local school systems to begin screening all kindergarten students and certain students in grades 1-3 for characteristics of dyslexia starting 2024-2025 school year. Muscogee County School District is one of seven school districts selected by the Georgia Department of Education to share best practices on screening, instruction and intervention for students exhibiting dyslexia characteristics and ongoing progress monitoring. Muscogee County School District is currently developing procedures and guidelines to assist staff with the identification of students with dyslexia characteristics and providing professional development opportunities to learn appropriate instructional strategies needed to improve reading achievement.
Schools that participated in the inception of the Pilot for the 2020-21 school year are Gentian Elementary, Hannan Magnet Academy, and Lonnie Jackson Academy.
Schools participating in the Pilot during the 2021-22 school year include the following:
Dimon Magnet Academy
Eagle Ridge Academy
North Columbus Elementary
South Columbus Elementary
Wynnton Arts Academy
What is Dyslexia?
The Georgia Department of the Education uses the definition of dyslexia adopted by the International Dyslexia Association (IDA) which states: “Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurobiological in origin. It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction. Secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede the growth of vocabulary and background knowledge.”
Supporting Students with Characteristics of Dyslexia in MCSD
Muscogee County School District is currently developing a process to assess students’ level of reading proficiency, establish criteria and procedures to identify students with characteristics of dyslexia, notify and involve parents, and provide appropriate instruction and intervention to students who do not meet grade level reading expectations. This plan is a systematic approach to provide every student with evidence-based literacy instruction by determining instructional need through screening and providing professional learning to staff.
Our goal is to have every student able to read at or above grade level by the end of grade 3. This plan supports our district’s Mission and Vision and promotes a solid foundation of literacy skill development among all students to ensure they are college and career ready by graduation. Our district’s Superintendent, Dr. David F. Lewis, also developed Strategic Priorities that serve as a guide to ensure all students receive high quality instruction based on their individual needs, including those who have characteristics of dyslexia.
Documents and Resources
International Dyslexia Association
IDA Dyslexia Handbook
TedTalk: What is Dyslexia?
Frequently Asked Questions
15-20% of the population has a language-based learning disability. Of the students with specific learning disabilities receiving special education services, 70-80% have deficits in reading. Dyslexia is the most common cause of reading, writing and spelling difficulties. Dyslexia affects males and females nearly equally as well as, people from different ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds nearly equally. Dyslexia affects 20 percent of the population and represents 80–90 percent of all those with learning disabilities. It is the most common of all neuro-cognitive disorders.
Yes. Most children and adults with dyslexia can learn to read—but with more effort than their peers. If children who have dyslexia receive effective phonological awareness and phonics training in Kindergarten and 1st grade, they will have significantly fewer problems in learning to read at grade level than do children who are not identified or helped until 3rd grade. It is never too late for individuals with dyslexia to learn to read, process, and express information more efficiently. Research shows that programs utilizing Structured Literacy instructional techniques can help children and adults learn to read.
The causes for dyslexia are neurobiological and genetic. Individuals inherit the genetic links for dyslexia. Chances are that a child’s parents, grandparents, aunts, or uncles has dyslexia. Dyslexia is not a disease. With proper diagnosis, appropriate instruction, hard work, and support from family, teachers, friends, and others, individuals who have dyslexia can succeed in school and later as working adults.
Dyslexia can’t be “cured”—it is lifelong. But with early screening, early diagnosis, early evidence-based reading intervention and appropriate accommodations, dyslexic individuals can become highly successful students and adults.
This is unfortunately a myth that seems to have nine lives. Many young children reverse letters when learning to write, regardless of whether or not they have dyslexia. In fact, most children with dyslexia do not reverse letters.
Many dyslexic students perform very well in school. These students are usually highly motivated and work extremely hard. In many cases, they were identified early and received evidence-based interventions and accommodations, such as extra time on tests, which allow them to demonstrate their knowledge. Dyslexic students have completed rigorous programs at highly selective colleges, graduate and professional schools.
You may begin with sharing concerns about your child’s learning with a physician and the classroom teacher. Other personnel may be involved to obtain additional information about the student to help determine next steps.