The Utah State Board of Education published a Dyslexia Handbook in 2018. PC READS Executive Director, Elissa Aten, participated in the taskforce that drafted this important document. It is a resource for educators and parents and we encourage all to read and share it!
The ILA and the IDA have not always seen eye-to-eye and there was particular debate over the ILA’s 2016 Research Advisory on Dyslexia (link below). So, we are happy to see that the ILA has published a brief (link below) on the importance of explicit and systematic phonics instruction.
The question of whether to include phonics instruction has been resolved.
The answer is yes. Although phonics can be taught in different ways, research supports instruction that is explicit and systematic.
We often post about the importance of using Structured Litearcy in classrooms and why we are so pleased that the Park City School District has implemented it through the use of Wilson Fundations in all K-3 classrooms. Here is a great article from the International Dyslexia Association explaining what Structured Literacy is why all schools should use it. Additional resources are included at the end of the article
PC READS is very thankful for the PCSD Interventionists who started this program at McPolin Elementary School! And, we are proud to be supporting educators through our Professional Development Grant Program. #elevatingliteracy
Interventionist Amy Warren, featured in this article, received a PC READS grant for Wilson Level 2 Coaching Sessions and shared the following: “I am so thankful for PC READS because they help to make education accessible at every level. PC READS supports teachers by giving them opportunities for trainings and professional development and, in turn, teachers are able to use that information and experience to better serve and support their students.”
“Unfinished learning around literacy” is a reason the PC READS provides Professional Development Grants to educators in the Park City area. Thank you to all the educators who continue to learn! And, thank you to The Hall Family Fund for your support of this important program!
EXCERPT: Educators urgently need a national movement for professional learning about reading. We should declare a No Shame Zone for this work—to make it safe for all educators to say, “I have unfinished learning around literacy.”
A wonderful infographic showing the need and effectiveness for Structured Literacy.
This article is based upon author Emily Hanford’s audio documentary for APM Reports, “Hard Words: Why Aren’t Kids Being Taught to Read?”
Excerpt: “There is no excuse for this. Colleges of education have to start requiring that their faculties teach the science of reading. Children’s futures depend on it.”
Thank you to our PCSD K-3 teachers who are putting the science of reading back into the classrooms through Wilson Fundations!
What can you do over the UEA break? PLEASE take the time to read or listen to this article & the follow-up we will post, too. PC READS advocated for changes to our PCSD elementary reading curriculum for several years based upon the science of reading & is proud to be a partner on the initiative that brought Wilson Fundations to our classrooms! And, our Professional Development Grants are supporting educators as they learn more about the science of reading.
A FEW EXCERPTS FROM THE ARTICLE:
By some estimates, one-third of America’s struggling readers are from college-educated families.
But without explicit and systematic phonics instruction, many children won’t ever learn to read very well.
“There are thousands of studies,” said Louisa Moats, an education consultant and researcher who has been teaching and studying reading since the 1970s. “This is the most studied aspect of human learning.”
There is no debate at this point among scientists that reading is a skill that needs to be explicitly taught by showing children the ways that sounds and letters correspond. “It’s so accepted in the scientific world that if you just write another paper about these fundamental facts and submit it to a journal they won’t accept it because it’s considered settled science,” Moats said.
You can find schools and school districts across the United States that are trying to change reading instruction the way Bethlehem has, but according to Moats, ill-informed, ineffective reading instruction is the norm. “The gap between science-based ideas and practices and those most often used in our classrooms remains very wide and persistent,” she wrote in a recent article.
Great video from Education Week about the importance of ensuring that teachers understand the science of reading, including links to additional reading. “By 2021, every elementary and special education teacher in the state of Arkansas must be proficient in brain-based research on reading.”
Interesting, short read giving an overview of how the debate over teaching phonics became a civil rights issue.
EXCERPT: Phonics instruction was a civil rights issue — beyond theory, research, and the scientific method. Just about every pedagogical strategy was lined up politically in the following decade. Also identified as “conservative” were a specified curriculum, direct teaching, assigned expository writing based on reading, assigned literary texts (especially if they were by dead white males), grammar study, specific writing skills, and indeed, anything requiring a teacher’s judgment. Ironically, strategies damned as “conservative” tended to be supported by research as useful for low-income children.
Emily Hanford, Senior Correspondent for APM Reports, highlights how the science of reading is being taught to teachers in Bethlehem, PA.
“The Bethlehem district has invested approximately $3 million since 2015 on training, materials and support to help its early elementary teachers and principals learn the science of how reading works and how children should be taught.”
Published in the Journal of Childhood & Developmental Disorders in 2016, this is an excellent research paper explaining how teachers have not been taught the science of reading in pre-service classes. When introduced to this information, teachers are often frustrated that it was not part of their formal education. Changes to teacher preparation are necessary.
EXCERPT: Approximately 20% of our nation’s students are experiencing reading difficulties and the percentage of fourth-grade students who are reading below Basic and Proficient (33% and 58%, respectively) has not appreciably changed since 1992. Fortunately, there is a solution. First and foremost the history of ignorance, resistance and complacency needs to be exposed. Secondly, there is a scientific literature that prescribes how to improve reading abilities in young students. The solution involves providing pre-service teachers with the knowledge that will assist them to provide their students, particularly struggling readers, the types of assessment and interventions that will lead to improved reading skills.
Excellent article including personal stories, history of the “reading wars” and reasons that changes to teacher training are needed. Links to the related podcasts are included.
“In 1997, Congress called for a National Reading Panel to determine how best to teach reading. It reviewed more than 100,000 studies and in 2000, the panel published a 449-page report that was a crushing blow to the whole language movement. There was no evidence to show whole language worked and lots of evidence that teaching children the relationship among sounds, letters and spelling patterns improves reading achievement.
This is for all kids, not just those with dyslexia.”
PC READS promotes structured literacy in all classrooms, along with early screening and intervention that is effective for dyslexia. This article is a good summary of expert advice and what some other school districts are doing to support struggling readers.
“If we use a wait-to-fail model and we don’t flag students until third grade, they’re already three years behind,” Zecher says.
“In kindergarten, if you do a half-hour a day of intensive instruction, that can have a very beneficial effect,” Moats says. “In first grade, it might be 45 minutes but in second and third grade, it’s more like an hour. Beyond third grade, it’s an hour and a half to two hours.”
“Districts are seeing success from early identification and intervention. Fort Worth ISD in Texas provides intensive help for about 1,400 students in elementary and middle school, says Sara Arispe, associate superintendent for accountability and data quality.
The district is in its second year of offering students two years of structured literacy instruction for one hour per day, five days per week, in groups no larger than six. The district hired 60 teachers last school year and another 60 this year and provided extensive PD.”