Current approaches to identifying students with reading disabilities are often problematic and ineffective, and will not lead students to academic success. However, there have been significant improvements in identification and screening that are allowing us to provide greater—and earlier—support. In “Cutting-Edge Research to Empower Schools to Support Students with Reading Disabilities,” Rick Wagner, associate director for the Florida Center for Reading Research, discussed problems with current methods and how to better help students with these disabilities.
Research tells us that dyslexia is due to a problem in language rather than in vision, specifically the phonological system, which is used for processing speech sounds. Phonological processing refers to using speech sounds for coding information when reading, listening, and speaking. Although it’s important to assess for phonological abilities like phonological awareness, phonological memory, and rapid naming, these alone should not determine whether one has dyslexia. “It’s important to do a comprehensive assessment that extends beyond phonological processing,” says Wagner.