Dyslexia, the most common learning disability, affects as much as 15% to 20% of the population. What exactly is this learning difference? How can educators better understand dyslexia? And how can we best meet the needs of students with dyslexia today?
Reading disorders, including dyslexia, are an important issue meriting our attention. As of this writing, almost all 50 states have legislative rules and guidelines for identifying dyslexia (National Center on Improving Literacy). As someone who has spent over 30 years developing and researching assessments for the purpose of preventing reading disabilities, I believe it is time to reflect on what is known about screening and assessment and ask, “How does screening specifically for dyslexia differ from best practices in screening to prevent reading difficulties?”
The simple view of reading states that reading comprehension is the product of word recognition and language comprehension. This simple, yet powerful, equation informs both my beginning-of-the-year assessments and the reading interventions I provide for my third-grade students. Since my end goal is reading comprehension, I need to assess and support my students in both their word-recognition skills and their language comprehension abilities
During normal times, two groups of students have been at the heart of my literacy work. They are our fragile readers—fragile because they are young and just beginning to read, or fragile because they are older students who haven’t read well for years. As we navigate through these COVID years, we continue to hear messages of hope for these students.