No Quick Fix: When Reading Comprehension Failure Occurs
Alabama now defines "dyslexia" as a learning challenge that is neurological in origina and characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fulent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. On October 8, 2015, Alabama joined numerous other states in the country in approving regulations to help students with significant really challenges, often called "dyslexia."
Over the next few months, the Alabama State Department of Education will be giving school districts guidelines about the new regulations.
No single assessment provides a person with a dyslexia diagnosis. Instead, a series of screeners or assessments point educators and families to information about how a student processes language, both auditorially and visually. Once information from those assessments is collected and analyzed, then dyslexic readers can be matched with intervention to help them overcome their reading obstacles.
Hoover City Schools, anticipating new state regulations, began training teachers in intervention practices in 2011 when 37 of our current teachers were trained to use the dyslexia-specific interventions called Seeing Stars and Verbalizing and Visualizing. In the last two years, all Kindergarten and Grade 1 teachers in the district participated in Oral Language Resources training. In Summer 2015, over half of the district's Kindergarten, Grade 1, and Grade 2 teachers participated in Ready, Set, Go! training to add more phonics resources to those classrooms. More training is scheduled to allow for more teacher participation. In September, 24 more teachers and literacy coaches were trained to use Seeing Stars (decoding intervention) and Verbalizing and Visualizing (comprehension intervention). The district now hopes to support all the teachers participating in these trainings.
If you would like to learn more about dyslexia, the district has posted a comprehensive PowerPoint presentation here and a recent research article about dyslexia from Vanderbilt University here.