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During the 2016 Legislation Session, the general assembly passed the Public Chapter 1058 of the Acts of 2016 which requires school districts to screen for characteristics of dyslexia through their existing Response to Instruction and Intervention (RTI²) procedures and to provide “dyslexia-specific tiered interventions” for students that demonstrate a need.


What is Dyslexia?

Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurological in origin and is characterized by difficulties with accurate and fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities.  These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction. Secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede growth of vocabulary and background knowledge.  Dyslexia is a language-based condition rather than a vision-based condition. Students with dyslexia struggle with the relationship between letters and sounds. Because of this, they have a hard time decoding, or sounding out, unfamiliar words, and instead often misread them based on an overreliance on their sight-word memory. Deficits are unexpected relative to cognitive abilities in that the student’s skills are lower than their overall ability and are not due to a lack of intelligence.


Characteristics of Dyslexia

  • Phonological awareness: a broad category comprising a range of understandings related to the sounds of words and word parts
  • Phonemic awareness: the ability to notice, think about, and work with the individual sounds in spoken words 
  • Alphabet knowledge: understanding that letters represent sounds which form words
  • Sound/Symbol recognition: understanding that there is a predictable relationship between phonemes (sounds in spoken language) and graphemes (the letters that represent those sounds) 
  • Decoding skills: using knowledge of letters and sounds to recognize and analyze a printed word to connect it to the spoken word it represents (also referred to as “word attack skills”)
  • Encoding skills: translating speech into writing (spelling)
  • Rapid naming: ability to connect visual and verbal information by giving the appropriate names to common objects, colors, letters, and digits (quickly naming what is seen) 


Additional Resources






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