Don’t wait: The importance of early dyslexia intervention

A learning disorder that can impact a child’s ability to read or interpret words, letters, and other symbols—but that doesn’t affect general intelligence—dyslexia often goes unnoticed until a student displays significant struggles with reading and/or writing. The most common of all neuro-cognitive disorders, dyslexia impacts about 20 percent of the US population and represents 80-90 percent percent of all individuals who have learning disabilities.

In some cases, a dyslexia diagnosis doesn’t happen until a student is in second grade, with some cases going unnoticed until the learner is already in high school. With research showing that interventions are the most effective when they are done in kindergarten and first grade, the earlier the intervention the better.

To avoid an even bigger learning gap, we need to take a closer look at early identification, the early warning signs to look for, and what steps to take if you suspect dyslexia. …Read More

With Rising Concerns About Dyslexia in Young Learners, Riverside Insights Introduces First-of-its Kind Playbook to Streamline Evaluations

ITASCA, Ill. – Riverside Insights®, a leading developer of research-based assessments and analytics, today debuted a new Assessment Playbook focused on streamlining the evaluation of dyslexia, the most common learning disability, affecting 20% of the population. The new playbook makes assessments more effective and efficient by providing a recommended process for selective testing and a specific test list for querying the most salient features of dyslexia.

“The pandemic disrupted teaching and learning, and has led to a dramatic increase in the number of students who are referred for dyslexia evaluations by their teachers and/or parents. Consequently, evaluators must determine if a student’s reading difficulties are primarily a reflection of this disruption or an indication of a true reading disability,” said dyslexia expert Dr. Nancy Mather, a professor in the  College of Education, Department of Disability and Psychoeducational Studies at the University of Arizona. “To address this issue and the increase in assessment referrals, evaluators need effective and efficient assessment tools to ensure that all students are accurately identified and get the help they need. In this way, children can be provided with systematic interventions prior to experiencing chronic reading difficulties.”

In the 2021-2022 school year, more than 20 states including California, Florida, Texas and Connecticut updated their dyslexia legislation, passing new codes and statutes to support more effective identification and intervention practices to address the increasing dyslexia referrals.…Read More

3 strategies we use to turn struggling students into confident readers

The ability to read–and read well–sets kids on a path to success. That’s why at Cambridge School, we focus on helping students with learning differences learn how to read. Students attend Cambridge School because they have been diagnosed with a language-based learning difference, such as dyslexia, dysgraphia, ADHD, auditory processing disorder, or executive function difficulties, and have struggled in traditional academic settings. 

But if you walk into a Cambridge School classroom during one of our reading sessions, you will see engaged students reading both silently and aloud, using devices and books. You will see teachers working one-on-one with students checking their fluency progress and reviewing important comprehension skills and relevant vocabulary. You will see hard-working students becoming more motivated, confident readers. 

Each year our students make notable fluency gains, with many reading at or above grade level by the end of 8th grade or sooner. In the 2021-22 school year, all students in grades 2-8 made fluency gains from the fall to the spring, with a 52 percent average percent increase in words read correctly per minute. How do we accomplish this?…Read More

Lexia Learning’s Founder, Robert Arthur Lemire, Dies at Eighty-Nine

BOSTON (June 23, 2022) Lexia® Learning, a Cambium Learning® Group company, is saddened to announce that the company’s founder, Robert A. Lemire died on Wednesday, June 8, 2022. Lemire was eighty-nine and passed away following a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease.

Lemire created Lexia Learning in 1984 after watching his son struggle to learn to read. Lemire received guidance from his friend, Dr. Edwin Cole, a noted neurologist, head of the Reading Clinic at the Massachusetts General Hospital and the founder of several schools for students with dyslexia like his son. Lemire realized that many other children had reading difficulties and most of them did not have the resources that his family did.

Together with neighbor Dr. Littleton Meeks, an expert in technology, Lemire and Dr. Cole decided to create a company that would use computer technology to help students receive the explicit, systematic, and personalized instruction they needed to become successful readers and confident learners. In 1992, Lexia expanded its mission to serve not only readers with dyslexia but all readers from beginners and inclusive of struggling readers. Today, the company serves more than 5.5 million students across more than 3,300 school districts in all 50 states and territories.…Read More

Benetech Inclusive AI Initiatives Break down Barriers to STEM

PALO ALTO, Calif. — June 17, 2022 —Benetech, the leading software for social good nonprofit, today announced two significant AI initiatives to reduce barriers to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education and employment for people with disabilities and learning and thinking differences. The programs, supported by General Motors (GM) and Schmidt Futures, a philanthropic initiative of Eric and Wendy Schmidt, are focused on leveraging AI to make complex visuals, graphs, and equations in science and math educational materials accessible to people with dyslexia, vision loss, and other reading barriers. This technology will be used to enhance the accessibility of STEM education materials for students with reading barriers and empower other education stakeholders, including teachers, publishers, researchers, and students themselves, to improve the accessibility of their own materials. 

“Betting early on people and organizations addressing big challenges is one of our core guiding principles,” said Kumar Garg, Vice President of Partnerships, at Schmidt Futures. “Math literacy is essential for a 21st century STEM education, the foundation to compete for jobs of the future. Benetech’s vision to make tools that can provide new pathways to make STEM education accessible will transform the livelihoods of millions of students.” 

Benetech brings two decades of expertise leveraging new technology to make reading and learning accessible for people with reading barriers, at scale, through its Bookshare initiative. However, transforming STEM education materials into accessible formats poses a significant challenge. Textbooks have complex formats, full of charts, graphs, and equations that must be manually transformed into accessible formats. The average Math textbook has over 5,000 equations, and it can take three to four months for a human to transform a print math book into accessible formats that can be properly read by a screen reader. This is a significant obstacle for students with reading barriers. …Read More

Curriculum Associates’ i-Ready® Assessment Named to the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) Approved List of Dyslexia Screeners

NORTH BILLERICA, Mass., April 3, 2022—The Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) recently named Curriculum Associates’ i-Ready Assessment to its approved list of dyslexia screeners. With this approval, districts throughout the state can now use the program’s online Diagnostic and offline literacy assessment tasks to screen kindergarten and first grade students for risk factors associated with dyslexia. Today, the award-winning i-Ready program serves more than 10 million students and 25 percent of all students in Grades K–8 in the United States.

“The recent MDE approval will help streamline the overall assessment process for Mississippi educators as they can now use i-Ready for both universal screening and targeted dyslexia screening,” said Rob Waldron, CEO of Curriculum Associates. “By eliminating the need for multiple and redundant assessments, educators will have more time to deliver personalized instruction, and specialized supports as needed, to help all students succeed.”

According to the MDE, each local school district is required to screen students for dyslexia using an instrument approved by the State Board of Education (SBE) in the spring of kindergarten and the fall of first grade. A panel of reading, dyslexia therapy, and speech-language pathology experts conduct a comprehensive review of all proposed instruments to determine which ones are included on the MDE Approved List of Dyslexia Screeners.…Read More

Arizona Department of Education Names i-Ready® Assessment an Approved Universal Literacy and Dyslexia Screener

NORTH BILLERICA, Mass., January 27, 2022—The Arizona Department of Education (ADE) recently named Curriculum Associates’ i-Ready Assessment as an approved universal literacy and dyslexia screener for the 2022–2023 school year. With this approval, schools across the state can use the online Diagnostic and offline literacy assessment tasks to screen for risk factors associated with dyslexia. This dyslexia screening process is part of Arizona’s Move on When Reading policy, which is designed to provide students with evidence-based, effective reading instruction in order to position them for success as they progress through school, college, and career.

“As a longtime partner to the Arizona education community, Curriculum Associates developed dyslexia screener items specific to the needs of Arizona students as required by state law,” said Rob Waldron, CEO of Curriculum Associates. “This recent approval by the ADE reinforces the power and validity of our assessment in identifying potential risk factors for dyslexia, which is necessary so educators can provide the specialized supports students need to succeed.” 

According to the ADE, Arizona students in Grades K–3 will be given a universal literacy and dyslexia screener within the first 45 calendar days of the school year and will also be screened during the winter and spring benchmark periods. Each benchmark data set will then be submitted to ADE’s Move on When Reading team during specified dates throughout the school year.…Read More

Texthelp’s Literacy Support Tool, Read&Write, Hits New Milestone of 35 Million Users

WOBURN, Mass., Dec. 3, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Texthelp, a global leader in literacy and accessibility technology, today announced that its literary support tool, Read&Write, is now used by 35 million people worldwide. Originally, Read&Write was developed to help users with low literacy and conditions such as dyslexia. Since then, Read&Write has been a staple in the company’s suite of products for more than 25 years. The product has become an important classroom and workplace product, supporting Texthelp’s vision of helping all people learn and understand.

Today, Texthelp is also honoring International Day of Persons with Disabilities, an international day of awareness to promote the well-being of persons with disabilities. Texthelp is committed to raising awareness of the barriers that people with disabilities often face. Together, we can make the world more accessible for all.

“Reaching a major milestone with our very first product, Read&Write, on International Day of Persons with Disabilities, is amazing,” said Martin McKay, founder and CEO of Texthelp. “Our team has continued to evolve our products and worked together to help create a world where everyone can understand and be understood. When we first developed Read&Write, our goal was to reach 1 million users. Surpassing that goal has been a great milestone and I’m excited to set our next goal at 100 million users.”…Read More

Oregon Department of Education Names i-Ready® Assessment an Approved Universal Screening Tool for Risk Factors of Dyslexia

NORTH BILLERICA, Mass., September 23, 2021—The Oregon Department of Education (ODE) recently named Curriculum Associates’ i-Ready Assessment to its Approved Universal Screening Tools for Risk Factors of Dyslexia list for the 2021–2022 school year. With the approval, schools across the state can now use the program’s Diagnostic and offline literacy assessment tasks to screen for risk factors of dyslexia and help provide data-driven instructional support to students in Grades K–1. Today, the award-winning i-Ready program serves more than 9.5 million students and 25 percent of all Grades K–8 students in the United States.

“Identifying potential risk factors of dyslexia is critical, both for students and their families,” said Rob Waldron, CEO of Curriculum Associates. “With i-Ready, Oregon educators can be assured they are using a valid and reliable assessment to determine if students show signs of dyslexia so they can deliver specialized reading interventions as needed.”

According to the ODE website, the Department is responsible for ensuring every student who is enrolled at a public school in the state for Grade K or Grade 1 receives a screening for risk factors of dyslexia. The Oregon Administrative Rule further requires the ODE to annually review and update the list of approved universal screeners for risk factors of dyslexia.…Read More

After Successful Pilot, Schools Adopt EarlyBird Game-Based Screener to Identify Children at Risk for Dyslexia and Reading Difficulties

BOSTON — Aug. 12, 2021 — After participating in a pilot trial of the new EarlyBird game-based early literacy assessment, schools and districts across the United States have chosen to adopt EarlyBird for the 2021-22 school year. Developed and scientifically validated at Boston Children’s Hospital in partnership with faculty at the Florida Center for Reading Research, EarlyBird brings together all the relevant predictors of reading in one easy-to-administer assessment, and provides teachers with customized action plans and resources for each student.

During the 2020-21 school year, schools and districts from Maine to California tested EarlyBird with approximately 2,000 children. Maine School Administrative District No. 11 (MSAD #11), for example, began piloting EarlyBird in one elementary school in March, then expanded to a second school in May. This fall, it will implement EarlyBird in all kindergarten classrooms district-wide.

“As soon as we began using EarlyBird, we realized it had a lot of power in terms of the experience it offers students and the actionable data it provides to classroom teachers,” said Angela Hardy, director of curriculum and instruction for MSAD #11. “This data not only helps teachers respond to the needs of the students in front of them, it also helps them think about how they might change their practices or scope and sequence in years to come.”…Read More