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!
News & Articles
This article, written by PC READS, appeared in the Park Record’s 2019 Park City Parent Back to School Special Edition.
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
Very often, a child’s diagnosis leads a parent to realize that he is also dyslexic. Read more about “Shark Tank’s” Barbara Corcoran in the article below or listen to the podcast (linked in article).
EXCERPT: Struggling with insecurity at an early age, Corcoran could not read or write until she was in third grade. “I’ve wrestled with letters and numbers my whole life… My biggest fear all day long was that I would be called on to read out loud,” Corcoran said in her recent podcast on her series “Business Unusual.” It was only when her son Tom was diagnosed with dyslexia when he was in second grade that Corcoran realized she also had the disorder.
Congratulations to Drs. Sally and Bennett Shaywitz on their well-deserved recognition for their work in the field of dyslexia! The Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity is one of our favorite resources!
“At a recent gala event at the Liberty Science Center in New Jersey, Drs. Sally and Bennett Shaywitz were presented with LSC’s “Genius Award” for their groundbreaking work on dyslexia. To begin the presentation of the award, the audience was shown a specially-commissioned video that celebrates the lives and careers of the Shaywitzes. ” (Click on the original article to see the video.)
PC READS was pleased to honor Julie Hastings, PCSD Elementary Curriculum Specialist, with our 2019 Elevating Literacy Award on Friday night.
“It’s been a pleasure to collaborate with Julie over the past three years on The Dyslexia Initiative. Her attention to planning and implementation, as well as her commitment to professional development, has enabled this Initiative to succeed and become a model program within our school district. Julie’s dedication to improving literacy instruction for all students, including struggling readers, makes her a deserving recipient of our 2019 Elevating Literacy Award.” – Elissa Aten, Executive Director
On May 3rd, PC READS awarded Julie Hastings with our 2019 Elevating Literacy Award. This award was started as a way to recognize someone who has embraced the PC READS mission and is making a difference in our community. It honors an individual who has made a significant contribution towards improving the lives of students with reading disabilities, including dyslexia.
Thank you to the Park Record for covering our exciting news! “PC READS is in its fifth year of operation, and it is expanding. Aten, the co-founder and former president of the board of directors, was recently hired as the organization’s first executive director.”
To purchase your Gin & Phonics or Adventure Package Opportunity Drawing tickets, visit www.parkcityreads.org.
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.”
Thank you, Anna! For reminding everyone that dyslexia does not disappear. Dyslexic kids DO grow up to be dyslexic adults and that is one reason why spreading awareness is so important!
Video from BBC Family & Education News
NPR coverage on the college admissions scandal.
Excerpt: “This hurts every individual with a learning disability,” Beth McGaw, the president of the Learning Disabilities Association of America said in a statement. At many levels of education, students with disabilities — such as dyslexia or ADHD — can receive extra time on standardized tests. It’s one of a number of ways that make tests accessible to all students.
Written by David Flink, Founder of Eye to Eye and and also the author of “Thinking Differently,” a wonderful book on our resource list.
EXCERPT: I join the chorus condemning the abuse of the college admissions process and want to shine a light on how this scandal mischaracterizes the journey of students with very real learning disabilities. The parents and test-taking coaches who were able to manipulate the system to give extra time on tests to students who don’t have learning disabilities acted unethically—and they’ve done a considerable disservice to the 1 in 5 students with learning disabilities across this country.
“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.”
It’s so important to recognize the older students who are silently struggling. Looking forward to the rest of this five-part series on supporting middle-schoolers, high-schoolers and adults with dyslexia. We also are grateful for the time that the author, Donell Pons, has given to PC READS!
EXCERPT: There is no such thing as a “good” or “bad” speller. By accepting the “good” or “bad” speller idea, it absolves us from doing anything to improve the outcome. Think about how much damage has been done in the field of teaching mathematics by falling back on the erroneous idea that some people are simply “good” or “bad” at math. Simply put, people struggle with math or spelling for the same reasons. Many educators have not been given the training and resources to accommodate students with dyslexia, and especially older students with dyslexia who are out of the initial learning curve of reading.
This has been making the social media rounds, but for those who missed it, take just a minute to read the poem and the story.
Note from the article: “The author, whose identity has not been revealed, is neither dyslexic nor has any connection with the learning disorder. ‘She’s just a sensitive child and that’s the theme she chose,’ Broadis tells TODAY. ‘I’ve spoken about dyslexia. It’s just something she tuned into.'”
A wonderful infographic showing the need and effectiveness for Structured Literacy.
One of the main reasons that PC READS continues to spread awareness is to increase empathy and understanding. Please watch and share. Thank you, Anna
We’ve promoted Henry Winkler’s Hank Zipzer series for years and here he is reading a few pages to Jimmy Fallon from his most recent book, “Everybody is Somebody.” Perfect title!
“Don’t feel down about yourself,” Guy said. “Always keep your head up. You are going through something most people don’t have to and it will make you stronger.”
From Understood.org – a video on New England Patriot, Lawrence Guy.
Dyslexia Training Institute’s Tracy Block-Zaretsky was a guest on Good Morning San Diego to speak about Gov. Newsom’s screening plans.
California’s Governor, Gavin Newsom, has been an advocate for early screening and identification for years. Wishing him much success in his new role!
EXCERPT: Gov. Gavin Newsom’s lifelong struggle with dyslexia makes his proposal to screen little kids for developmental disorders a personal mission. California’s new governor wasn’t diagnosed with the reading disability until he was in the fifth grade.
Important advocacy work happening at the national level!
EXCERPT: The First Step Act will formally define dyslexia as “an unexpected difficulty in reading for an individual who has the intelligence to be a much better reader, most commonly caused by a difficulty in the phonological processing (the appreciation of the individual sounds of spoken language), which affects the ability of an individual to speak, read, and spell.” The bill requires the U.S. attorney general to incorporate an evidence-based, low-cost, readily available dyslexia screening program into the new risk and needs assessment system, including by screening for dyslexia during the prisoner intake process and each periodic risk reassessment of a prisoner. It also requires the U.S. attorney general to incorporate dyslexia treatment programs into recidivism reduction programs.
A study found that 80 percent of prison inmates at the state prison in Huntsville, Texas, were functionally illiterate and 48 percent were dyslexic.
If you are in the Park City School District and have a child that would benefit from ear-reading, please speak to the school. This is the second year of a district-wide subscription to Learning Ally and, having advocated for the program, PC READS wants to ensure that it’s successful! A special thanks to the Park City Education Foundation for funding the original Learning Ally school grant at Parley’s Park several years ago.
EXCERPT: The effective use of assistive technology coupled with an explicit structured literacy curriculum can be life-changing for students with learning differences. Try one of these tools to see if your students will come out of their shell. Give them the freedom to choose what topics they want to learn about and watch the transformation in their self-belief that they can be successful readers and achievers.
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!
Early identification of dyslexia can make a significant difference in a child’s reading development, confidence, and overall academic success. What signs are indicators of dyslexia? What are the social and emotional impacts? What can be done to help a child with dyslexia? This article from the Child Mind Institute provides answers to these and other important questions for parents of young children who are struggling with reading. (Shared on Facebook by Park City Education Foundation)
In this video made by Reading Horizons, Jefferson, a high school student with dyslexia, speaks about overcoming his reading difficulties and mentoring other students with similar struggles.
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.
Check out the article in today’s Park Record! We are proud to be a collaborating partner in the Dyslexia Initiative which brought Wilson Fundations to the PCSD. A special thanks to Ty and Karen Hall for their support of this initiative through PCEF. Change is never easy and it takes time, but this change is making a difference. #elevatingliteracy
“In an assessment from the Park City Education Foundation, 90 percent of teachers said Fundations has worked in their classroom. Teachers also reported having more confidence in identifying struggling readers and helping readers of all abilities reach their goals.”