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We’ve assembled 25 quick tips you can implement to support students with dyslexia, ranging from instructional approaches to social-emotional support. These tips can help educators create an inclusive learning environment that promotes success for all students, including readers with dyslexia. Implementing a multi-faceted approach combining evidence-based strategies, empathy, a high-quality multisensory curriculum, and individualized instruction will empower students with dyslexia and help enable them to achieve, succeed, and thrive in your school or district. Surrounded by misconceptions, dyslexia is a learning difference related to the way individual brains process information. Dyslexia is unrelated to motivation or intelligence; however, it can impact the way students process and understand written language. Students with dyslexia often struggle with reading, writing, and spelling, which leaves them feeling frustrated and discouraged. With the right strategies and support, students with dyslexia can flourish in the classroom. Explicit, targeted instruction that addresses the specific needs of students with dyslexia is essential. Reading (an acquired, not an innate, skill) requires specific areas of the brain to read, while individuals with dyslexia utilize alternative neural pathways. These pathways help students with dyslexia succeed in many areas of life, but can create difficulties in achieving accurate, fluent reading. With early identification and intervention, students with dyslexia can develop strong literacy skills and succeed academically and in their careers. To help you implement best practices and improve outcomes for your students with dyslexia, we’ve curated this essential list of quick tips.
Mesa Public Schools’ Director of Specialized Instruction, Lindsay Massey, spoke with us at EPS Learning to share her remarkable insights about the district’s efforts to improve literacy skills among special education students. Mesa Public Schools has implemented two reading programs, S.P.I.R.E. and its preparatory program Sounds Sensible, and Massey reported to us that the results they’ve witnessed have been extraordinarily impressive. “When we started this implementation in August of 2022, at least half of our 10,800 special education students in Grades K–12 struggled with reading,” Massey said. “But now that they have access to these exceptional programs, each one of these thousands of students has been given a powerful opportunity to improve their reading skills.” Download Case Study Choosing and Implementing the Right Intervention Program The decision to choose these programs required district leaders to first go through a lengthy, rigorous evaluation process. “A large team of district leaders, community parents, instructional coaches, and teachers headed an initiative,” Massey explained. “They assessed a large, diverse set of programs, evaluated according to a rubric that prioritized any programs implementing science of reading principles and comprehensively addressing all five areas of reading. After a careful review process, S.P.I.R.E. and Sounds Sensible stood out as the top programs, so we decided to go with them both, and we purchased subscriptions.” Mesa District Data After just 7 months of using the program: 1086 students jumped a full level. 536 grew 2 levels. 144 grew 3 levels. 76 grew 4 levels. 100 grew 5 levels! 78 students tested out of S.P.I.R.E. entirely, with no further decoding or fluency needs. To ensure a smooth implementation process, the district engaged instructional coaches to help familiarize teachers with the program and provide train-the-trainer programs. “We also ordered a wide range of different teacher trainings, and we required all teachers providing reading instruction to participate,” Massey said. “We arranged things with our governing board to ensure that we were meeting the needs of our students with dyslexia or special needs in reading. EPS Learning provided essential, instrumental help and support for our teachers at every point throughout the implementation process.” Stunning Results The results speak for themselves. In just one year, the district has seen tremendous growth in reading skills among special education students. “We collected data in April just to see student growth from the beginning of that school year through April,” Massey said, highlighting the numbers they had tracked so far. “Look at all this growth happening across all our special education classes just this year: 1086 students jumped a full level, 536 grew two levels, 144 grew three levels, 76 grew four levels, 100 grew five levels—and 78 students tested out of S.P.I.R.E. entirely, which means they improved so much, they no longer had decoding or fluency needs at all.” Massey added that, of all the amazing success stories she’d already witnessed, Grades PreK–8 demonstrated the most significant growth. “Many of these students started off unable to even pass the initial placement test. Filling in foundational skill deficits immediately gave thousands of students the tools, skills, and freedom to improve,” Massey said. “We’ve seen such enormous, dramatic leaps and bounds in growth, improvement, and confidence. It’s more than I can even explain.” "When we started this implementation in August of 2022, at least half of our 10,800 special education students in Grades K–12 struggled with reading,” Massey said. “But now that they have access to these exceptional programs, each one of these thousands of students has been given a powerful opportunity to improve their reading skills.” ~ Lindsay Massey, Mesa Public Schools' Director of Specialized Instruction A Program Educators Can Believe In and Trust A reading specialist before becoming Director of Specialized Instruction, Massey feels proud of the progress the district and its students have made. “Helping students read and helping teachers implement reading curriculum is the best part of my job and it means a lot to me,” she said. “It makes me so happy that our educators have access to these programs now. As a reading specialist, if I’d been able to select programs myself, S.P.I.R.E. and Sounds Sensible are the ones that I would choose to use. I would want to use them with my own child, I believe in them so much. They’ve already helped thousands of our students tremendously. We are really impressed and very grateful.” In year two, 86% of the district’s teachers have fully implemented the programs, with the 14% remaining mostly composed of teachers hired mid-year, or long-term substitute teachers in those positions. Almost all full-time teachers throughout the district now successfully utilize the programs, with that percentage only set to grow. As a reading specialist, if I’d been able to select programs myself, S.P.I.R.E. and Sounds Sensible are the ones that I would choose to use. I would want to use them with my own child, I believe in them so much. They’ve already helped thousands of our students tremendously. We are really impressed and very grateful." ~ Lindsay Massey, Mesa Public Schools' Director of Specialized Instruction Looking to the Future Mesa Public Schools have made great strides in improving the literacy skills of their special education students, students with disabilities, students with dyslexia, and students with health impairments. District leaders confidently assert that the implementation of Sounds Sensible and S.P.I.R.E. has been the foundation of this progress. At EPS Learning, we’re deeply grateful to have been part of Mesa’s meaningful implementation and its ongoing success. Find out how S.P.I.R.E. can help students in your school or district!
Literacy is a fundamental key to success in every academic subject and in many aspects of life. Teaching young people to read is one of the most meaningful, important jobs any educator can have. Find support for this monumental undertaking within the science of reading (SOR), a vast body of gold-standard scientific research, replicable studies, and validated evidence on reading acquisition. Accumulated evidence from SOR provides a wealth of educational insight, enabling teachers to improve reading instruction. According to SOR research, Structured Literacy helps all students learn to read and is vitally important for students in Grades K-2. The Structured Literacy approach empowers students by explicitly, systematically teaching them how to decode words and comprehend texts. What is the science of reading? SOR is body of scientific research on how we learn to read, which parts of the brain are involved in reading, how they work together, and the most effective instructional techniques for successful reading development. This complex set of studies in many fields ranging from linguistics to neuroscience addresses a vast array of questions, including the specific elements required for children to learn to read, and how educators can best help them become skilled readers. What is Structured Literacy? A term originally coined by the International Dyslexia Association (IDA), Structured Literacy refers exclusively to evidence-based systematic instructional approaches aligned with the science of reading. Effective with students of all learning abilities, Structured Literacy comprises a scientific approach to literacy instruction, giving students the tools to become accurate, efficient decoders so they can identify words and comprehend text. The approach is carefully attuned to the way children’s brains actually learn to read and process information. Much more than just phonics, Structured Literacy encompasses the fields of decoding and language comprehension. Because issues with either of these components can lead directly to reading failure, Structured Literacy instruction constantly interweaves both. Structured Literacy directly teaches skills in a logical order, building cumulatively on previously mastered skills. The scope and sequence of Structured Literacy instruction can vary according to the curriculum, but it always does so in an order, with concepts increasing in complexity or difficulty, leading students along the surest path to mastery. This approach requires educators to interact directly and consistently with students, utilizing multisensory techniques whenever possible. Another key to Structured Literacy involves making no assumptions about what students know or can do. Key steps aren’t skipped, abilities are honed as students advance, and skills are continually assessed. Diagnostic instruction addresses problems in real time, helping students forge healthy neural pathways that support reading and language skills. Why is decoding so important? The end goal of reading is comprehension of the text being read, so decoding is important because it acts as the bridge between the visual symbols that represent a word and the word’s actual meaning in the reader’s brain. Effective decoding gives the brain exactly the information it needs, so it can quickly get to work deriving meaning from the text (like you just did with this sentence). The more effectively a reader’s brain can decode, the more cognitive resources are available to focus on comprehension rather than on the mechanics of decoding. As a translation of symbol into meaning, reading depends upon decoding. Decoding itself depends upon phonological awareness, morphology, and orthography. What are some of the language-based elements of Structured Literacy? Phonology refers to the sound structure of spoken language. Students can demonstrate phonological awareness through activities like clapping on syllables or rhyming. Phonemic awareness, a crucial aspect of phonological awareness, includes segmenting words into phonemes, the smallest components of recognizable sound in a language. Morphology refers to words and meaningful word parts. While a phoneme is a language’s smallest unit of sound, a morpheme is its smallest unit of meaning. Structured Literacy instruction includes the study of prefixes, roots, suffixes, and other forms and aspects of morphology. Knowing about morphemes is essential to decoding, supports fluency, and helps develop vocabulary. Sound-Symbol Association (often referred to as phonics) refers to mapping phonemes (sounds) to symbols (letters), occurring in two directions: auditory to visual (spelling) and visual to auditory (reading). Teachers use the alphabetic principle (letters representing sounds) to teach sound-symbol association as the foundation for building reading skills. Syllables contain one vowel sound and (in English) occur in six types: closed, open, vowel pair, r-controlled, vowel-consonant-e, or consonant-le. Learning syllable division rules helps readers accurately decode and more easily understand longer words. As a major bonus, knowing how to segment syllables aids in spoken pronunciation, and helps students spell more accurately when they’re writing. Syntax refers to the principles or rules dictating the way words function in a sentence to convey meaning. Syntax addresses grammar, sentence structure, order, relationships, and other language mechanics. Reading requires text comprehension, which is built on an understanding of syntax. An understanding of syntax has been shown to predict successful reading comprehension. Semantics refers to word meanings and how words relate to one another in language. To comprehend what they read, students must understand meaning, which is the purview of semantics. Students who’ve learned to accurately decode words, phrases, sentences, and texts must then be able to derive meaning from them. The better they’re able to read and understand text automatically, the better their fluency as readers. An accurate, automatic, fluent reader is a confident, skilled, successful reader. What’s the difference between phonological awareness and phonemic awareness? Phonological awareness enables people to identify syllables, words, rhymes, and other word qualities. Phonemic awareness enables people to identify the smallest speech sound units, called phonemes. Reading and writing depend on phonemic awareness. Can Structured Literacy help anyone or is it just for helping students with learning disabilities? While it can be especially useful for striving readers or students with dyslexia or learning disabilities, Structured Literacy helps improve literacy skills in all students. Teachers directly explain concepts and teach skills systematically, assessing students regularly for comprehension, so it’s an approach that works for everyone. It’s not uncommon for reading proficiency scores to improve drastically after implementing this SOR-based instructional approach. Because learning to read is such a complex neurological process, explicit phonics instruction is appropriate for all learners, but it’s essential for any student having difficulty with reading acquisition. Structured Literacy especially benefits students who learn differently or think differently, utilize interventions, need support with phonemic awareness, struggle with language skills or language comprehension, are English language learners, or have learning disabilities or dyslexia. How do instructors teach Structured Literacy? In a nutshell, Structured Literacy instruction is systematic, explicit, cumulative, and diagnostic. Systematic: Instructional sequences begin with simple concepts and methodically progress to more challenging, complex, or sophisticated elements. Explicit: Instruction is deliberate and clear, with continuous interaction. Cumulative: Each instructional step builds upon previously learned concepts. Diagnostic: Instruction is tailored to each student to meet their unique needs, based on ongoing formal and informal assessments. What are some tips for effective Structured Literacy instruction? Try some of these ideas for practicing Structured Literacy instruction: Build skills in a targeted sequence moving from beginner to advanced, focusing on both phonological and phonemic awareness. Utilize a solid phonics curriculum, and follow a consistent scope and sequence across multiple grades. Teach regular phonetic patterns, highlighting the differences in irregular words. Encourage students to analyze new words for regular grapheme-phoneme patterns, so they can easily identify irregularities. Use morphology to expand vocabularies. When students know the meanings of root words, suffixes, and prefixes, they’re already on the way to understanding new words when they recognize those word parts. Use orthography to help students learn the alphabetic principle. Talk about why words are spelled as they are. Students learn about phoneme-grapheme correspondence, patterns, position constraints, and other important concepts key to literacy. Post and continually change word walls, so students have constant visual reminders of the words and parts of speech they’re learning. Multisensory tip: have students write down the new words and say them aloud in games or songs. Find ways each day to focus on fluency and comprehension. For students striving toward fluency, work on decoding skills. Give students plenty of opportunities to read decodable texts. Utilize the Orton-Gillingham approach: explicit, sequential, multisensory instruction. Teach the parts of speech, sentence structure, subject-verb agreement, and verb tenses, appropriate to grade level. Teach skills explicitly. Don’t assume students know things or will figure things out. Keep teaching intentional and objectives clear. Engage students by taking any opportunity to show them how what they’re learning is relevant and useful to their lives and their futures. Structured Literacy benefits all students and is essential for striving readers. By implementing the principles of SOR with Structured Literacy, educators, administrators, and district leaders can be confident they’re giving students what they need to be successful readers. Transform reading instruction and change children’s lives! Align instruction with the science of reading by bringing a Structured Literacy approach to your classroom, school, or district. Use a Structured Literacy program like S.P.I.R.E.
Reading develops a child’s imagination, improves concentration, builds vocabulary, and promotes creativity and critical thinking. Reading expands the mind, helping create healthy brains, while opening the doorway of access to all information. It’s safe to say that reading is a life-changing skill of powerful importance. That’s why helping all students become successful readers is crucial, and why educators must be constantly on the lookout to identify striving students. Sheila Clark-Edmands, a S.P.I.R.E. author, worked in literacy education for more than three decades before she compiled her list of the ten essential components to a successful literacy curriculum. Be sure to check out her informative essay to learn more about meeting the needs of striving readers with a consistent, systematic approach. We’ve summarized the ten components here to give you a breakdown of what each component includes, along with some helpful tips you can apply in your school or district. A Systematic Approach to Creating Successful Readers 1. Is It Important to Identify Striving Students Early? Before they even start to experience reading struggles, students who need help should be identified as early as kindergarten so they can benefit from direct educational programming and support. Tip: The focus should be on intervention and prevention. Earlier identification and reaction processes help improve outcomes sooner. 2. Is Daily Training in Auditory and Oral Skills Necessary? Specific, direct phonemic training in auditory and oral skills should be included every day. Readers at every level benefit from phonemic instruction and practice. Tips: Use real words and familiar concepts. Try activities in a range of contexts to help students learn. Practice phonemic awareness in engaging ways like rhyming games or identifying and substituting sounds in words and syllables. 3. Should Students Practice Kinesthetic Speech Sounds? Be sure to prioritize regular practice of kinesthetic speech sounds (how a student physically produces speech sounds). Experiencing language in tactile ways supports learning for all types of readers, not just kinesthetic learners. Focus these speech activities on the production of clear, correctly articulated sounds. As it turns out, accurate articulation correlates to a student’s future reading and writing success. Tip: Try including articulation as an aspect of any other game. Just add the proper articulation of a sound or word to whatever you’re doing in the game or activity. For example, the rules for playing tag could include properly articulating the person’s name with the words “Tag: Chris, you’re it!” 4. Which Teaching Methods Support Decoding and Encoding? Multisensory teaching techniques can help students with decoding (reading) and encoding (spelling) words. Along with explicit instruction, students practice hearing, seeing, and writing letter sounds, words, and syllables. Tip: Word games and toys can act as an ideal support for direction instruction. 5. Should Concepts Be Introduced in Any Order? Language acquisition is a process. That’s why early intervention programs require phonetic concepts to be introduced in a specific order. Early readers should focus first on learning simple, single-consonant sounds and one-syllable words. Tip: Rather than nonsense sounds, using real words for instruction makes lessons relevant and memorable for young students. 6. Should Teachers Focus on Assigning Comprehensible Texts? If your goal is for students to gain fluency, be sure you’re utilizing texts made of phonetic concepts students already know. When students practice with comprehensible text, they’re better enabled to effectively build fluency skills because their mental energies aren’t focused on decoding. Tip: Fluency depends on reading words in context. It is important to ensure students aren’t just reading words in isolation, but also within texts. 7. Is Handwriting Instruction Useful for Motor Memory? Reading and writing concepts need kinesthetic reinforcement. One of the best ways to achieve that powerful connection is handwriting instruction. The daily practice of handwriting, whether words and sentences or individual letters, strengthens concepts and aids motor memory through movement. Tip: Try fun handwriting activities like air writing with their whole arms, painting letters with textured glue, writing in the sand, or making letters or words out of clay, pipe cleaners, or Legos. 8. Is Spelling Helpful for Reading Acquisition? Spelling instruction helps students link speech sounds with visual symbols. Teach composition and grammar concepts along with spelling to produce successful readers and writers. Tip: In young readers, spelling practice tends to help reading more than reading helps spelling. Focus on explicit spelling instruction and you should notice reading gains. 9. Are Students Supported by Materials Within the Scope of Learning? Any additional practice with writing and reading concepts should stay within the instructional scope and skills already taught. When students can read and understand the materials, they experience success instead of becoming discouraged. Tip: Motivation is the key to reading success. Students should feel good about reading and should recognize almost all of the words and concepts without any help. 10. Do Striving Students Need Plenty of Time? Students who aren’t given sufficient time to fully comprehend and practice new concepts will continue to struggle. Striving students may require several times the amount of exposure to learn new concepts. Tip: Help students talk about what they’re reading. Verbal processing helps students comprehend and remember what they’ve read. Ask students questions throughout the reading process to encourage comprehension, from “Why do you this this book will be interesting?” before reading to “What’s happening and what do you think will happen next?” while reading to “What did you like about that book?” afterwards. S.P.I.R.E. Intensive Reading Intervention for Striving Readers For most educators, the goal is to help striving students succeed while leading all students to improve their performance. Looking for the best ways to achieve this goal? The research-proven S.P.I.R.E. program dramatically increases students’ reading skills. Flexible implementation and consistent 10-step lessons work together to help students learn, grow, improve their abilities, and expand their horizons. Learn More About S.P.I.R.E.
About the Study In this comprehensive study, EPS partnered with LXD Research, a third-party research company, to examine the relationship between the usage of S.P.I.R.E. and student literacy achievement at Martin County School District in Florida across grades 3–5 during the 2022–2023 school year. Researchers examined this relationship while controlling for grade, race, ethnicity, gender, English Language Learner (ELL) status, and Fall FAST (Florida’s standardized assessment) scale scores. Findings For all grades, students who completed more S.P.I.R.E. levels had higher spring standardized assessment achievement. These were statistically significant relationships (t(190) = 2.9, p < .01, Cohen’s d effect size = .44) for students across Grades 3–5. Download Study ESSA Evidence Level: Promising (Level/Tier 3) This study provides results to satisfy ESSA evidence requirements for Level/Tier 3 (Promising Evidence) given the study’s well implemented correlational design and positive, statistically significant findings. Participants This treatment-only study occurred during the 2022–23 school year and included 192 grades 3–5 students from 13 elementary schools who use S.P.I.R.E. According to demographic data provided by the district, 47% of students were described as Hispanic. Females made up 35% of the group, while males accounted for 65%. In addition, 34% of students were identified as having Limited English Proficiency (LEP). All students were classified as Special Education (SPED). Study Design and Procedure Researchers conducted correlations and analyses of covariance to examine the relationship between S.P.I.R.E. usage and student literacy achievement while controlling for grade, race, ethnicity, gender, English Language Learner (ELL) status, and Fall FAST scale scores. This study included the students’ 2022–2023 S.P.I.R.E. progress levels and their standardized assessments (Fall ‘22 as pre-test and Spring ‘23 as post-test) as measures to provide insights into S.P.I.R.E. implementation and evidence about the potential impacts of S.P.I.R.E. on student outcomes. Citation Chase, P. & Schechter, R. (2023, July 10). S.P.I.R.E. ESSA Level III Study Grades 3–5, 2022–2023. Needham Heights, MA: LXD Research.
Every year in October, people around the world recognize, honor, and celebrate the dyslexia spectrum with Dyslexia Awareness Month. In this article, we touched on the reasons for observing this month, looked at some official definitions of dyslexia, and highlighted the science of reading-based instruction that best supports students with dyslexia. So here, we’d like to focus on six helpful tips for improving your dyslexia awareness, in October and throughout the year. 1. Remember the complexity of seeing life through the lens of dyslexia. Around 20% of the population lives with dyslexia, a neurobiological condition that impairs reading abilities. With respect to reading, dyslexia could be referred to as a learning disability, but with respect to many other things in life, dyslexia could be considered an advantage. Sometimes called a disorder or disability, other times called a gift or simply a difference, and existing on a spectrum, dyslexia is part of the brain’s visual, phonological, and language processing capabilities. Individuals with dyslexia often exhibit strengths like high intelligence, creative problem-solving, and spatial awareness skills, while they may struggle with identifying speech sounds (phonological awareness); connecting sounds to letters and words (spelling and decoding); and reading comprehension, accuracy, and fluency. More than half of all NASA employees are people with dyslexia. NASA seeks out these individuals for their excellent problem-solving and spatial awareness skills. 2. Be sure you’re not making incorrect assumptions about dyslexia. Let’s set the record straight by debunking four of the major myths surrounding dyslexia: Dyslexia isn’t a sign of low intelligence. NASA goes out of their way to hire people with dyslexia, who are often highly intelligent and effective problem-solvers. People with dyslexia process visual information differently than non-dyslexics, enabling them to be especially skillful when working with 3D and spatial information, which is why they make up more than 50% of NASA’s workforce. Children with dyslexia also tend to excel with understanding patterns, applying logical reasoning, and performing as critical thinkers when asked to solve problems or conduct analysis. Students with dyslexia aren’t lazy or unmotivated. In fact, they often have to work even harder than their peers, since their brains function in a different way than non-dyslexics. Children with dyslexia may sometimes struggle to adjust to the typical classroom, but they tend to channel their curiosity and interest wherever they can and seek out ways to use their talents elsewhere, from music, art, or dance to science experiments, engineering projects, or inventing new tech. Many brilliant, famous, successful, and accomplished people have dyslexia. Dyslexia isn’t rare. It’s estimated that 1 in 5 people have some level of dyslexia, and that number may be higher, since testing and assessment for dyslexia remain the exception rather than the norm. It’s also the #1 cause of reading difficulties and struggles. Dyslexia doesn’t predict failure. While there may be no way to “cure” dyslexia (which is actually not a disease that needs curing but a different way of learning, perceiving, and interacting with the world that needs appropriate support), all students with dyslexia can learn to read successfully with time, encouragement, and the right reading instruction. Early assessment and intervention lead to the best outcomes, but it’s never too late for anyone with dyslexia to get the support they need. In fact, students with dyslexia are more likely to come up with innovative solutions, and there are many cognitive benefits to having dyslexia that can lead to great success if allowed to flourish. 3. Don’t minimize the importance of explicit phonics instruction—it’s essential for all readers, and especially necessary for students with dyslexia. Scientists are still learning new things about dyslexia and about the human brain, but dyslexia’s effect on reading difficulties seems to be due to differences in sound processing. Reading is a complex skill that doesn’t come naturally and must be learned; children with dyslexia function with brain circuitry that processes sound differently, and therefore requires methodical phonics instruction. When teachers skip phonics with the assumption that students will just pick it up naturally, they set students up for failure, dragging students with dyslexia far behind their peers and potentially leading to major problems in life. Children with dyslexia often suffer from depression and anxiety, as a result. This suffering is unnecessary: early interventions with Structured Literacy can help enormously, giving students with dyslexia what they need to succeed. With the proper instruction, most children with dyslexia can learn how to read at the level of their peers. 4. Actively support students with dyslexia. Utilize instruction based on the science of reading by implementing Structured Literacy and the Orton-Gillingham approach, following an individualized diagnostic teaching plan. Help them learn to read in a way that’s aligned with the way their brains function. From using letter/sound flash cards to multisensory learning techniques, try any activity that engages auditory, tactile, visual, or even taste-based senses. Keep any written instructions simple and ensure students understand anything assigned in writing. Allow extra time for assignments, so students with dyslexia don’t feel extra pressure to rush their work. They may work very hard on an assignment and still struggle to complete it on time. Maintain consistent daily or weekly routines so students with dyslexia know what to expect. Pro tip: Give students with dyslexia extra quiet time, since outside stimulation can add to difficulties for students with learning disabilities. Students with dyslexia are already working harder with their brains to read than non-dyslexics, so anything that makes it harder for them to focus can be detrimental to their success. Allow them to go to the library or use a quiet corner to do their work. Eliminate external stimulation to help them feel less overwhelmed. Do anything you can to help them turn their weaknesses into strengths. 5. Get involved. Share information about dyslexia and discuss it openly. Print out fact sheets about dyslexia for your library or school to share with parents or post on bulletin boards. Share helpful information on social media. Wear red on October 15, World Dyslexia Day. Volunteer for an organization that supports dyslexia or helps people with disabilities. Read for audiobooks. Donate money to schools or families who can’t afford intervention services. Attend dyslexia events. Engage in conversations about dyslexia with the people in your life; many people don’t even know about dyslexia, so you might help someone understand their children’s struggles better, or their own. Keep students with dyslexia (and all different or gifted young people) safe from bullying or intimidation and intentionally protect them from mistreatment or abuse. 6. Prioritize early detection and early intervention. Educators are the best people to discover early signs of learning differences like dyslexia. Early detection and intervention gives children the support they need to become successful readers. When educators recognize dyslexia-related problems, they’re empowered to provide extremely beneficial assistance when it’s most crucial. Look for things like: problems with phonemic awareness, working memory issues, inconsistent spelling errors, feeling nervous or anxious about reading, or trying to avoid reading completely – all indications that a dyslexia assessment is strongly advisable. In response to dyslexia detection, educators should do everything they can to support and encourage students with positive reinforcement, preparing them for success while implementing a range of necessary intervention techniques to help these children overcome many difficult obstacles with confidence. During Dyslexia Awareness Month and all year long, depend on a reading program like S.P.I.R.E. to help students with dyslexia thrive.
Acceleration focuses on teaching what must be learned at any given level, instead of trying to teach learning students missed in previous grades. When students require accelerated learning, teachers identify the crucial content that students need to learn so they can access grade-level material as soon as possible. Prioritizing grade-level standards, providing students with intentional, planned, practical, just-in-time support, and focusing formative assessments on current grade-level standards accelerates student learning. When teachers identify learning gaps, they can utilize differentiated instruction to move learning forward. Differentiated instruction uses a variety of instructional strategies to meet students where they are and move them to where they need to go, adjusting the content and process to help students progress. Teachers can use scaffolded grade-level lessons to support students as they move toward academic independence. Acceleration Supported by Research Based on past practices, schools too often want to remediate student learning gaps and delay access to grade-level work until all missing learning is remediated. But research shows that students are better served by more effective approaches to unfinished learning. Acceleration prepares students for new grade-level learning by combining “just-in-time” teaching (covering any missing key skills or concepts) with the purposeful context and relevant content of current lessons. Opportunities to accelerate learning occur within robust grade-level instruction that includes grade-appropriate assignments targeting the skills students need to remain at grade level. The Importance of Diagnostic Assessments Reliable diagnostic assessments ensure that students are working at the right grade level. As students make progress, ongoing formative assessments provide teachers with data that helps keep students on track. Accelerated learning utilizes ongoing assessments to recalibrate the path of instruction. The formative assessment process should be part of any teacher’s toolkit. Accelerate Learning for Growth EdWeek suggests choosing technology to accelerate learning, defining acceleration as “reviewing information from a previous grade only to the extent necessary to support learning new, grade-level subject matter” and noting that “acceleration gives students the background information they’ll need to access a particular grade-level concept, as opposed to trying to catch them up on all the information they may have missed the previous year.” Moving students forward to successfully complete appropriate grade-level work requires accelerated learning. Educators should seek out programs offering effective diagnostic screening tools and scaffold content just enough to help students reach grade-appropriate learning outcomes. Discover integrated tools with Coach Digital Compass, a digital program supporting instruction for on-level learning, acceleration of unfinished learning, and remediation where needed, to help move learning toward grade-level success!
Educators at Corbin Primary and Corbin Elementary, high-poverty schools with large numbers of Title 1 students, have long struggled to maintain grade-level reading skills among the student population, due in part to the use of a balanced literacy approach. Worsened during the pandemic years, these problems required significant collaboration among Corbin ISD leaders. After deliberation and research, these leaders utilized ESSER funding to implement new programs based on the science of reading. Did this new approach work? View our case study to find out.
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