District Administration December2017 - 48

DISRUPTING DYSLEXIA
velopment at the Yale University School
of Medicine and co-director of the Yale
Center for Dyslexia and Creativity.
"What happens if you're in school and
you're called to read aloud and you can't?
The kids start teasing you and the teacher
will say, 'How do you not know this?'"
Shaywitz says. "Kids get turned off. They
begin to think they're stupid, and they
begin not to see school as a place for them."

'IT'S NEVER TOO LATE' TO
ADDRESS DYSLEXIA
Dyslexia is not correlated with
intelligence, says Richard Wagner,
associate director of the Florida
Center for Reading Research and a
professor of psychology at Florida
State University.
"If you're reading at a level at
which you do everything else, it's
probably not dyslexia," Wagner says.
"If you're reading below the level at
which you do other things, it's more
likely to be dyslexia."
Some dyslexic students meet
the criteria for a specific learning
disability for special education. But
other students who don't meet the
special education criteria still may
need extra help. For older students
who continue to struggle, targeted
instruction using structured literacy
can be done through 12th grade,
says Kathy Futterman, an education
specialist with Mt. Diablo USD near
Oakland, California, and a member
of the working group that wrote
California's dyslexia guidelines.
"It's never too late to remediate or
help a student with dyslexia," says
Futterman.

48 December 2017

A look at 'structured literacy'
Dyslexia is the most common developmental reading disability, is lifelong and
can range from mild to severe. Estimates
of its prevalence range from about 5 percent to 20 percent of all students.
Contrary to what some believe,
though, dyslexia is not a problem that
causes a reader to reverse letters or read
backward. It is a language-based disorder
resulting from how the brain processes
sounds. "It's a difficulty in getting to the
individual sounds of spoken words-in
order to read, you have to be able to connect the letter on the page to the sound it
represents," says Shaywitz.
Dyslexic students struggle with decoding, a key literacy skill in which the
reader matches letters to their sounds and
recognizes patterns that make syllables
and words.
Dyslexic students can have trouble
rhyming, sounding out words, reading fluently and spelling. They also may
struggle with some aspects of math, such
word problems or other assignments that
rely on word retrieval skills.
To reach dyslexic students, many
reading experts recommend the structured literacy approach, which is an
explicit and systematic way of helping
students take apart the sounds of words.

Along with structured literacy, multisensory instruction can create learning
memories in various parts of the brain,
Zecher says. This approach uses manipulatives, such as pipe cleaners, beads and
paper cut in sections, to teach numeracy
and fractions.
A multisensory approach works for
young children as well as for middle and
high school students who, for example,
can use linking cubes to model linear
functions in algebra, Zecher says.
Increasing confidence
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.
Students can also receive accommodations in their regular classroom, such as
extra time on assignments or the chance
to demonstrate knowledge orally.

To reach dyslexic students, many reading experts recommend a structured
literacy approach, which is an explicit and systematic way of helping students
take apart the sounds of words. Effective instruction includes:
* PHONOLOGY: Study of the sound structure of spoken words,
which includes rhyming.
* SOUND-SYMBOL ASSOCIATION: Connecting sounds with letters or
groups of letters. Often called phonics.
* SYLLABLE INSTRUCTION: Helping readers divide unfamiliar words.
* MORPHOLOGY: Study of the smallest units of meaning, such as base
words, roots, prefi xes and suffi xes.
* SYNTAX: Grammar, sentence variation and the mechanics of language.
* SEMANTICS: Meaning of words and reading comprehension.
Source: International Dyslexia Association

District Administration



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