Piloting programs for students with dyslexia is a new focus of school districts participating in early literacy intervention programs.
In Pennsylvania, six districts statewide are being reviewed for participation in a new Dyslexia and Early Literacy Intervention Pilot Program. Students in full day kindergarten will receive early screening for reading deficiencies and dyslexia. They will be monitored for three years as data is collected to determine if early intervention reduces numbers of special education referrals.
According to Marilyn Mathis, director at Children’s Dyslexia Center of Allentown, up to 20 percent f the population has some type of reading disability. Dyslexic students are often undiagnosed for a long time, making correction and remediation more difficult.
“What they could fix in kindergarten takes four times as long to fix in the fourth grade,” Mathis said. “We’re trying get the public to realize these are smart kids, not a lesser brain but a different brain.”
The new approach is centered on the Orton-Gillingham method. Money will pay for teacher training and advanced recognition of dyslexic students.