PC READS’ President, Elissa Aten, shares her thoughts during Dyslexia Awareness Month.
PC READS and The Hall Family Foundation are hosting Barbara Wilson in Park City! While here, she will meet with teachers, parents and provide a community presentation on “Navigating Reading Success.”
EXCERPT FROM ARTICLE: One in five students has a language-based learning disability, and the most common, by far, is dyslexia, Aten said. Those who attend the event will learn about the reading program teachers in Park City schools have adopted, which helps all students learn to read with multi-sensory methods, especially those suffering with dyslexia. The plan is to eventually include all third-graders as well – it is currently being taught to third-graders at McPolin – and to feature a structured support system for dyslexic students who need extra assistance.
PC READS is proud to be collaborating with the Park City School District, the Park City Education Foundation and The Hall Family Fund on a Dyslexia Initiative which includes implementing Wilson Fundations in our elementary schools. What a wonderful example of a public/private partnership to benefit our students!
“Reading is an essential life skill that is not always easy to learn. The Park City School District recognized that, and with help from the local nonprofit PC READS and donors, it began a new reading program for teachers to help all students learning to read.”
Thank you, Park City Rotary Club! Our MIND events are free and open to any student struggling with reading. These are all active kids who are athletes, artists, good friends and leaders – but when they get together, they can joke about being terrible spellers, hear stories about self-advocating in the classroom or celebrate the end of 3 years of after-school tutoring. This year, the participants learned about assistive technology, celebrated their strengths and attended social events at Black Diamond Gymnastics and the Kimball Art Center.
Please email us at www.parkcityreads.org if you’d like information about MIND.
“An independent review of the Park City School District’s special education services found glaring deficiencies in how the district operates the program.
The review was conducted over the course of a week in the fall by 12 staff members of the Utah State Board of Education Special Education Section who studied the district by interviewing parents, teachers and administrators; holding focus groups; and observing classrooms. The group last week delivered a report on its findings to the Park City Board of Education, which commissioned the review in the summer, after a series of criticisms were levied against the special education program.”
The full report can be found here: Program Evaluation Report: PCSD
Exciting news in Park City, UT during Dyslexia Awareness Month! Read about the Dyslexia Initiative pilot program which is bringing Wilson Fundations to one school and Comprehensive Orton-Gillingham to 5 educators. PC READS was instrumental to this project’s development and is very proud to be collaborating with the Park City School District, the Park City Education Foundation and the Ty & Karen Hall Foundation on this important work.
Superintendent Conley’s guest editorial about the changes being made to the English Language Arts program in Park City.
Letter to the editor in the Park Record expressing concerns with changes to the PCSD’s reading program.
Letter to the Editor thanking PC READS for hosting Dyslexia for a Day.
A huge “thank you” to Jackie Blake and Elissa Aten of PC READS for bringing Dyslexia for a Day to Park City. Thanks also to Ty & Karen Hall whose Foundation funded this enlightening and encouraging program presented by the co- founders of the Dyslexia Training Institute of San Diego.
As a person who has advocated for family members with dyslexia, I also appreciate the many teachers and school personnel who gave their time to learn more about the varied ways dyslexia presents in the classroom. With 15-20 percent of students having some form of dyslexia, these teachers recognize that they are the first line of defense to identify a need for intervention. Specific remedial intervention for dyslexia in the first years of learning to read has been shown to increase needed neural pathways in the verbal processing area of the brain of students with dyslexia. Students become able to read which increases love of learning, performance and self-worth.
I hope that Park City Schools will use the advances in early intervention reading programs to both address the unique learning needs of dyslexic students and as an opportunity to be a leading example in dyslexia intervention. If you have concerns about your child’s reading, more information and support can be found at parkcityreads.org.
Article about PC READS’ upcoming event, Dyslexia for a Day, featuring speakers from the Dyslexia Training Institute in San Diego, CA. Excerpt from the article:
The event is being put on with the help of financial contributions from the Ty & Karen Hall Charitable Foundation. The Halls, who are relatively new to Park City, also have a dyslexic child and see the event as a way to make a difference in the community.
Karen Hall said teachers in Florida were often unable to give her son the help he needed, and she had to advocate for him throughout his school years. She hopes the event makes it so some families here don’t have to go through a similar experience.
“Teachers want to understand it and they want to learn,” she said. “We’re just trying to bring about awareness so people don’t have to fight the way we had to fight every year. Park City is so progressive, and it has such a great school system. We think we’re at the right place at the right time to bring that awareness.”
“Since October is National Dyslexia Awareness Month and Utah Governor Gary Herbert has declared it in the State of Utah for the second year in a row, PC READS Park City Recognizing, Educating & Advocating for Dyslexic Students will partner with the Park City Film Series to present a free screening of Harvey Hubbell V’s “Dislecksia” at the Jim Santy Auditorium at the Park City Library, 1255 Park Ave., on Thursday, Oct. 22.
Harvey, an Emmy Award-winning filmmaker, has dyslexia, and the film is based on his own experiences. The film also features dyslexic actors Billy Bob Thornton and Joe Pantoliano and world-renowned brain scientists, researchers, students and advocates as they join a movement to revolutionize education.
“I have seen several films about dyslexia and we picked this one, because most are dry and dark, but this one is more [enjoyable],” Blake said. “At the same time, it gives a lot of statistics and facts about dyslexia. It just had some good information. There is some humor to it and it’s OK for all ages, because we want families to bring their children.”
The screening will be followed by a panel discussion that will include screenwriter Jack Amiel, Emerald Date Solutions founder Aristedies Ioannedis, Park City High School graduate Alex Hall and neuropsychologist Dr. Jenise Jensen.”
A September 2014 article written about PC READS in the Park Record, featuring the personal stories of co-founders, Elissa Aten and Jackie Blake. Short excerpt below:
“I did this for years on my own to find the resources for my daughter and what she needs,” Blake said. “Wouldn’t it be really nice if we can give other families who are struggling or questioning or not understanding what’s going on with their student as much help and support and resources that we didn’t get?”
Elissa Aten had a similar experience with her child, who also was diagnosed with dyslexia. And like Blake, she had a desire to help others in the same situation. So together, last year they founded Park City Reads, an organization dedicated to providing resources for local parents with children with dyslexia or other reading struggles.
News article (video included) about renowned chef, Zane Holmquist, who is currently Executive Chef / Director of Food & Beverage Operations at Stein Eriksen Lodge in Park City.
“Zane Holmquist has cooked for Nobel Peace Prize winners, three presidents and world-famous athletes. He has also appeared on national television. He said most people, though, didn’t anticipate this success — they predicted incarceration. When he was a child, Holmquist struggled to learn to read and write. He thought he just wasn’t smart enough. He would later find out he had a learning disability — dyslexia.”
Having seen the fairly recent “Letters to the Editor” speaking to dyslexia, I began to reminisce about the students I’ve met during the past eight years of volunteering Park City elementary schools.
Over the years, the children I’ve worked with have had a varied range of skill levels. Most of my tutoring has been with first grade students plus others. I noticed the social consequences that affected students who were not able to keep up with the rest of their classmates. Reflecting back, I wouldn’t be surprised if many of these children had a learning difficulty that could have been more specifically addressed.
Screening children for signs of dyslexia or other deterrents is just one step that could help many students. Additionally, a better understanding of a student’s strengths and weaknesses would help the teachers, parents and volunteers guide them toward their strengths.
My philosophy is that all children should be on a beneficial educational and social track from the time they enter school. To me, that means addressing their abilities or disabilities in the very beginning years of schooling. Thus, I am an advocate for “early or earlier detection” of struggling readers. I am not a teacher and never have been. My children grew up outside of Utah. I volunteer in the schools because I am passionate about helping children learn to read and ensuring that they grow up feeling good about themselves.
Park City is known to have a strong school system. Let’s be sure we are helping all of our wonderful children!
A mother responds to the January 20, 2016 letter written by Bruce Margolis.
“We found that “special” help from teachers who understood how to teach a multi-sensory method in the regular classrooms. Our kids then had a chance to keep up and actually show that they were learning. At one of our child’s school we had a chemistry teacher who offered multiple ways to show students had mastered the objectives. My kids did not do well on paper tests, but some of these alternative ways allowed my kids to excel along with other students in the class. It’s heartbreaking to hear a child tell you that he or she didn’t know that they were smart. This came after years of being forced to do things in a way that had been extremely difficult for them and once explained differently, it allowed them to excel.”