We Need Your Feedback For the Senate Dyslexia Panel

This past weekend, the AJC ran an article about the efforts of the Senate Study Committee on Dyslexia: Find it HERE

Numerous people have asked what they can do to support these efforts. Here’s some information we’ve gathered that may be helpful:

  • Email decodingdyslexiageorgia@gmail.com with thoughts and suggestions.  You can also use this form to give us feedback that we will be forwarding to the committee.  The next committee meeting is Dec. 12 (not open to the public) at which time the committee will be drafting the legislation — so time is of the essence.
  • Look for and follow the Decoding Dyslexia Facebook page; find the AJC article posted near the top, and then “like” and “share” the post. Click on it to read as well. (The more times the article is read, commented on, liked and shared the more people will see it and the more likely the AJC will write additional articles about the legislation.)
  • Email your local legislators asking for their support of the bill once it has been finalized.  You can find your local legislators by going to:  Find your legislator HERE
  • With Fran Millar losing his reelection bid, we’re not sure who will carry the legislation forward, but Senators Gloria Butler and Matt Brass are also on the committee.

    Things you can ask for when you email the committee and legislators:

    1.    Universal screening for dyslexia for all students in Pre-K, Kindergarten and 1st grade and all new students that enter our state school system 2-5 grades
    2.    Dyslexia screening for at-risk students who are struggling in grades 2 – 8 (At risk includes family history, red flags, below average performance)

    3.    Comprehensive psycho- educational evaluation for all students screened that show potential for dyslexia

    We will most likely only get this for students who are in RTI and still falling behind- if that is the case, we need to be specific and explain “adequate improvement” – (adequate improvement means that they are closing the gap between the at risk student and their peers at a fast enough pace to catch up to their peers within the same school year) with Tier 1,2,3 interventions.  Ideally, we would also like to see automatic screening and comprehensive evals for ALL STUDENTS at risk of 3rd grade retention due to failing ELA portion of the GA Milestones! We could go a step further and ask for them to test at risk students who are not performing as would be expected (not that they necessarily have to be below grade level performance) and begin interventions with these students immediately.

    4.    Require SpecEd teachers working with Dyslexic students (SLD- Reading) to be trained and certified in a form of Structured Literacy that meets the Knowledge and Practice Standards of the IDA
    5.    Require all elementary school K-3 classroom teachers to take a 25-30 hour training course in Structured Literacy (within 2-3 years of passed legislation)

    6.    Adequately trained teachers will allow for appropriate Tier 1,2 and 3 interventions for struggling students in grades K-3.  Appropriate interventions should begin at immediate onset of struggling students- it cannot wait until they fall below average- early intervention is key

    7.    Provide adequate funding for schools to help meet these requirements
    8.    Require university system to require all early-elementary education majors to take a semester-long course in identifying dyslexia and Structured Literacy instruction
    9.    Require all university courses leading to a reading specialist degree to include extensive course work in identification of dyslexia and Structured Literacy instruction  (See IDA’s Center for Effective Reading Instruction for university guidelines)

    10.  School Districts required to hire certified dyslexia specialists- certified with 70 hours of Dyslexia training- this gives them enough knowledge to oversee teacher training, to ensure structured literacy programs are implemented with fidelity, and to work with IEP and EIP teams to ensure effective instruction for at risk and identified students.  (see IDA knowledge and practice standards) (2-3 years of passed legislation)

    Of course we are very unlikely to get all of these- it would be great to start with screening and teacher training!

    Pick what is important to you- or the whole list- but let the Senate Study committee and your representatives know this is important to you and you would like them to support these efforts!



Woodward Academy