Frequently Asked Questions-Dyslexia and Other Reading Difficulties


  • The content of these questions largely comes from parent meetings and dyslexia webinars. As questions come in, we will work to provide answers here, in an effort to answer these questions for all who may have them. We will also be disproving the myth that is widely spread in both our community and the education community, as a whole.

    • Do students who were already diagnosed with dyslexia (by a neuropsych) get screened in the district's processes of screening?
      • Yes. We have been screening students for years prior to E2SSB6162 and will continue to do so. The difference is students being specifically flagged for supports in their classrooms. Screening for reading skills is an essential part of intervention, dyslexia or otherwise. This practice will continue.
    • What screening tool does MISD use? 
      • aimswebPlus by Pearson
    • What evidence-based programs do you use to support students in reading?
      • This is a lengthy question and answer, as we use lots of tools in MISD and we employ lots of strategies. "Research-based" means to be based in the research of the science of learning to read, evidence-based means that it is grounded in the effective evidence of the research. This science is settled science, meaning that it is robust enough that we know the required elements to teach students explicitly to ensure their ability to read. We also know that we must increase frequency and intensity through intervention, as necessary, to support any student who might be struggling with the learning to read process. To begin with, we use our Tier I curriculum in grades K-5 to support all students. This program has reading, oral language, and phonics. We also use a Tier I writing program which encompasses spelling, grammar, and writing. Both of these programs are research-based. All of our K-2 teachers, by the end of the 2020-2021 school year will have been trained in Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling (LETRS). This professional learning provides teachers with more knowledge about the process and science of learning to read as well as a repertoire of strategies to employ. Of course, there is much more to say to this, but we'll keep it short enough to say that all of the materials we've selected for reading and writing in K-5 are grounded in the sciences of reading research.
    • How do you measure progress?
      • Students who are flagged for E2SSB6162, and those who are simply flagged in our screeners otherwise, will be progress monitored using aimswebPlus. Additionally, depending on their intervention intensity and support, they may be progress monitored using other tools. 
    • Teachers were given resources like Kid Lips as a part of their tool kit, but Kid Lips is for English Learners.
      • False. Kids Lips was not designed for English Learners, though it can support them. Kid Lips focuses on the articulation and phonetics of the English phonemes. Could it potentially support EL students? Yes. Can it also support any student who struggles with the articulation of English phonemes? Yes. This program was developed by both Dr. Mary Dahlgren and Dr. Antonio Fierro, both of whom are National LETRS Contractors who work closely with authors Dr. Louisa Moats and Dr. Carol Tolman.
    • Curriculum is what is most important, so why aren't you using Wilson, Orton-Gillingham, Slingerland, Wired for Reading, etc.?
      • First, the assumption that curriculum is most important is incorrect. Teachers teach students, not curriculum. Curriculum is a tool by which we instruct. Investing in professional learning yields great rewards. The aforementioned curriculum/methodologies are all options for schools to use, and many of them are based on the science of reading research. Some of them have their own research development associated with impacts of their materials. The curriculum we use for reading, Mondo's Bookshop Common Core is a comprehensive curriculum that covers reading, phonics, and oral language, all based in the science of reading research. No one curriculum is best for students with dyslexia. What is best for all students, particularly those with dyslexia, is explicit instruction in the foundational reading structures. As teachers learn more about the specific deficits of students they can pull in supplemental resources or engage with strategies to support continued growth for these students. Should none of this make the appropriate progress, an evaluation for a 504 or special education may be considered. 
    • Are kids diagnosed by the school district?
      • No. These assessments are not psychological evaluations.
    • What Resources will the district provide to families?
      • An ever-evolving site with resources will be developed. This will include books, articles, recordings of previous webinars, suggestions on how to support progress at home, guidance on how to understand assessment data, etc. This is being built, so you'll regularly see updates on this site, based on questions or concerns that are emerging from families. 
    • Have students already been screened for dyslexia (as of January 2021)? 
      • No. The bill is implemented in Fall 2021. We are building all of the structures and supports now, though we began engaging in training teachers in the 19-20 school year.
    • What is the webinar series about?
      • There are lots of topics we'll cover. Some of them are geared toward K-2 families and the recent Bill E2SSB6162, others are geared toward any family who might wish to support their learner at home. 
    • Who is the expert in the district?
      • Districts do not have "experts" in all things, however, they have highly qualified individuals to support the work of the district. As we train our staff, we have two national trainers and three local trainers who are working with our teachers. Additionally, we have highly qualified psychologists, teachers, reading specialists, coaches, and other staff who support the training, assessment, and instruction process.