Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett today signed into law House Bill 198, the Dyslexia and Early Literacy Intervention Pilot Program. The program will provide early screening for all students enrolled in full-day kindergarten for potential risk factors for early reading deficiencies and dyslexia. The pilot program will operate in three school districts for a full three years. Participants will be selected from a pool of district applicants that will be given the opportunity to apply for the program in the near future.
“Today is a good day. Finally we can start providing children with dyslexia the resources they need to thrive,” said state Rep. Ed Neilson, D-169. “This program will allow us to better identify children in need of extra assistance and attention, and it has the potential to provide us with a model for other special education efforts that can produce better outcomes at a lower cost.”
Diane Reott, a Newtown Square resident and mother of a dyslexic child, has, along with several others, started the Pennsylvania Dyslexia and Literacy Coalition (PADLC), which has worked with Rep. Neilson on HB 198. The Coalition consists of parents, educators, professionals and like-minded groups, including the International Dyslexia Association, Decoding Dyslexia PA and Learning Ally, whose goals are to raise awareness of dyslexia and the need for better teacher training so that all children can learn to read.
“According to the latest research studies, early intervention, particularly in Kindergarten and first grade, can make a significant difference in students’ success in school,” Reott said. “Thanks to HB 198, this pilot screening will finally put into place well documented research that early intervention can help all students who are struggling readers while helping to recognize the dyslexic students early.”
On average, one or two kids in every U.S. classroom has dyslexia, a brain-based learning disability that often runs in families and makes reading difficult, and in many cases, painful. For these children, the path toward reading is often marked by struggle, anxiety and feelings of inadequacy. Students who have been diagnosed with dyslexia usually have already experienced multiple failures at school.
“In 2013, 27 percent of Pennsylvania fourth graders read at a Below Basic level in 2013,” Reott said. “But with early intervention we can decrease the number of poor readers significantly.”
For more information, contact PADLC at email@example.com, or visit them on Facebook.