What do you do when a student struggles to read?
A reader who struggles to recognize and understand the letters and sounds in words is a candidate for intervention instruction. When a reader spends too much time trying to recognize letters and then recalling their corresponding, more time is spent on decoding the words than on understanding a text.
Since the English language is an alphabetic language, a student must be able to efficiently link sounds to the letters that represent the sounds in text. So when students struggle to do this with automaticity, they struggle to learn to read..
Research shows that for students with learning difficulties, learning is hard. These students do not benefit from more of the same, whether that be instruction or curriculum.
What these students do benefit from is expert teaching. The more difficulties students demonstrate when learning to read, the more systematic and direct the instruction should be.
What is structured literacy? And how does it support students with reading disabilities?
The term ‘Science of Reading’ refers to a comprehensive body of reading research on how we learn to read. This research has been in the making for over twenty years and includes scientific knowledge, spanning across many languages, and incorporating the work of experts from relevant domains, ranging from the field of education and literacy to psychology and neurology, and more. This body of research has helped us to debunk older methods purported as effective reading instruction. Such methods were based upon tradition and observational data, no evidence as experts assert as being best practice.
The Science of Reading is a conclusive, empirically supported research that offers knowledge to gain a deeper understanding of how students learn to read, the skills that are required for efficient reading, how they work together, and which parts of the brain are responsible for reading development.
From this research, teachers have an evidence-based best practice approach for teaching foundational literacy skills called Structured Literacy. Structured Literacy emphasizes a purposeful, direct, systematic, and explicit reading and language arts instructional framework for instructing students to decipher words in prints and to focus on the goal of reading, which is to learn, enjoy, and comprehend text, through individualized instruction, informed by deliberate assessment.
Are there more students with dyslexia now than there were previously?
Dyslexia is the most common learning disability in the United States. Dyslexia impacts one in five students, or about 20% of our student population.
Experts say that there are not more people with Dyslexia than in previous times; however, there are more students with Dyslexia being appropriately identified.
The National Institute of Health has found dyslexia is identifiable from age 5.5 years with 92% accuracy. And The International Dyslexia Association recommends screening every student for Dyslexia.
Stats and recommendations like those are partly why many states have introduced Dyslexia laws. These laws include the requirement of public school districts to administer Dyslexia screenings to all students.
Currently, Dyslexia screenings are required in 43 U.S. states as of March 2019, according to the National Center on Improving Literacy. Other reasons for this change are due to our increased knowledge of learning disabilities and the science of reading instruction.
But what are Dyslexia screeners?
There are students with dyslexia in nearly every classroom. About 20 percent of the United States’ population is affected by dyslexia. This means that in your classroom one out of every five students has a language-based learning disability.
Dyslexia is a highly prevalent disability.
So when dyslexia comes to the classroom, what can a teacher do to help?