EarlyBird Education Introduces Game-Based Screener

It Helps Schools Identify Children at Risk for Dyslexia and Reading Difficulties — Even Before They Learn to Read

BOSTON — June 14, 2021 — Two-thirds of U.S. fourth graders are not reading at a proficient level, and reading difficulties are often identified too late for students to catch up with their peers, even with intervention. To help schools identify children at risk for reading difficulties before they start struggling with reading, EarlyBird Education today announces the nationwide release of the EarlyBird game-based screener.

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. It helps educators identify and support children at risk for dyslexia and other reading difficulties — even before they learn to read.…Read More

A Year Like No Other

This school year, teachers have valiantly confronted the challenge and uncertainty brought forth by the COVID-19 pandemic. Teachers are doing their best to keep students learning no matter what, adapting to ever-changing rules and regulations on the fly, preparing for distance learning, hybrid learning, or in-person classes.

Those who support students with reading barriers, like dyslexia, cerebral palsy, and low vision, encountered additional challenges as they worked to find new ways to provide the individualized learning supports that these students needed to learn and thrive. To find out what’s working and what isn’t, we surveyed over 800 teachers who support 10,000+ students with reading barriers on their experience as they adapt to the ever-changing educational landscape.

View the full report here.

Washington OSPI’s Dyslexia Advisory Council Recommends Curriculum Associates’ i-Ready® Diagnostic as a Literacy Screening Tool

The Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction’s (OSPI) Dyslexia Advisory Council recently named Curriculum Associates’ i-Ready Diagnostic to its list of Recommended Literacy Screening Tools. Now, school districts across the state can use the award-winning online program to help identify students in Grades K–2 who display indications of, or areas associated with, dyslexia as part of their early screening of dyslexia. Today, the i-Ready program serves more than eight million students and approximately 25 percent of all K–8 students in the United States.

“By combining our proven Diagnostic with additional offline assessment tasks that leverage the most current dyslexia research, we are able to provide a single, streamlined solution to help educators determine if specialized reading intervention may be appropriate for individual students,” said Rob Waldron, CEO of Curriculum Associates.

Composed of parents, district educators, and other stakeholders, the Dyslexia Advisory Council helps identify tools and resources that will help screen for dyslexia or indicators of dyslexia. It additionally develops recommendations on best practices for implementing the screenings in school districts; staff training to target the areas of need for those experiencing dyslexia or indicators of dyslexia; information for parents and families that includes a list of resources; and best practices to help students in Grades 3 and above who might be experiencing dyslexia.…Read More

How to effectively support struggling readers during distance learning

Parents who might be uncomfortable with continuing their role of teacher this fall can find solace in this fact: authentic teachable moments happen outside the classroom all the time. If your student or child had to rapidly transition to an at-home learning environment as a struggling reader, an English language learner, or one with dyslexia, there are many ways that the support they were receiving in school can transfer to their home.

Creating authentic learning experiences such as having your child help prepare meals, shop, and participate in outings to parks or museums can improve literacy. Simply engaging in conversation in the language spoken at home around shared experiences, explaining your thinking, and asking open-ended questions so your child can share their thoughts, facilitates a deeper level of communication. This builds metacognition, which is key for comprehension and reading success.

Related content: How we reinvented our district’s reading program…Read More

Can audiobooks be the great equalizer for students with learning differences?

Low reading ability is a major contributor to learning inequality in our schools.

An estimated 26 million students have learning differences, including tens of thousands of students with dyslexia, a neurological condition that affects reading and related language-based processing skills.

Unless educators can find new approaches to deliver reading instruction and personalize learning environments for these frustrated learners, many will fail.…Read More

Watch out for these red flags to help identify dyslexia

Children cannot grow out of dyslexia. Rather, the dyslexia will only have more severe consequences over time with lack of intervention. It is critical to keep an eye out for all possible red flags at every grade level to understand when intervention is needed. In their recent edWebinar, Kelli Sandman-Hurley, Ed.D., and Tracy Block-Zaretsky, co-founders of the Dyslexia Training Institute, reviewed the potential warning signs of dyslexia.

There is no definitive list of symptoms for dyslexia, Sandman-Hurley explained. Every individual is completely different, so educators must figure out each student’s strengths and weaknesses. In addition, depending on the severity of the symptoms, it’s possible that they could show up at different ages, which is why it’s critical to watch for these red flags throughout all grade levels. There is also a misconception that students cannot be screened for dyslexia until as late as second or third grade. In fact, early screening, if possible, is key.

Preschool- and kindergarten-level red flags
These may include:…Read More

4 reasons why some children have difficulty learning to read

According to Hill for Literacy, about 66 percent of fourth-grade readers cannot read proficiently, which often translates into a growing achievement gap for these children. Why is reading such a difficult task to learn and teach? While humans are born with a natural ability for spoken language, reading is much different. In fact, Dr. Vera Blau-McCandliss, vice president of education and research at Square Panda, said that reading is a relatively new and unnatural phenomenon which she described in “Reading and the Brain.”

Reading requires two systems of the brain to connect. First, the brain has to learn the meaning of a letter, and then it has to combine that with spoken language. Bringing these two systems together is a key to becoming a skilled reader. In addition, the brain must learn to understand the meaning of written text and develop essential skills such as phonological awareness, working memory, executive control, and more. Most of this requires fundamental changes in brain organization, and there are four key processes to this.

1. Fine tuning visual brain areas for processing printed letters and words.
The human brain is wired to recognize that a right-side-up object is the same object if turned upside down. Therefore, it needs to learn to recognize that the lowercase letter “p” is completely different from the lowercase letter “b.” A Visual Word Form Area (VWFA) develops as this is learned, and research has shown that there is decreased activation in the VWFA in dyslexic individuals.…Read More

Want to get struggling readers enthusiastic about reading? Here’s how

With 10 million students in grades K-12 struggling to read, taking those struggling readers from disengaged to enthused may seem like a huge feat. However, doing just one thing to take action can cause a wave of reaction throughout the entire school. In a recent edWebinar, Nelda Reyes, a dyslexia interventionist at De Zavala Elementary in San Marcos (TX) Consolidated Independent School District, shared how she was able to establish a culture of reading at her school by creating a sense of belonging, building awareness, and never taking no for an answer.

Before Reyes started any initiatives at De Zavala Elementary, the general feel in her classroom regarding reading was a lack of enthusiasm, interest, or any conversation about books and authors. Promoting a school-wide reading culture, as well as recognition for the struggling readers (many who have never had that feeling before), was crucial to curbing these negative feelings. She successfully created an atmosphere of reading and literacy at her school with the following strategies.

Be a reading cheerleader. Make sure all teachers are becoming their students’ reading cheerleaders throughout the day. Motivation in class and the hallways, through notes, and over announcements will give students the boost they need to start believing in themselves.…Read More

11 online tools & apps for dyslexic students

In the past, dyslexia was rarely recognized, and when it was, very little was put in place for the student. It was assumed that students were being lazy, not paying attention, or being disruptive because they were badly behaved, not because they were infuriated.

Nowadays, however, so much has changed, and students with dyslexia are able to thrive in the classroom. The following teaching tools and apps can make learning a lot more enjoyable for dyslexic students.

Shakespeare In Bits…Read More

eReaders may help people with dyslexia

CNN reports: People with dyslexia may have an easier time reading on an eReader than using traditional paper, a new study published today in the journal PLOS One suggests. Researchers say the idea for the study came out of anecdotal reports they were hearing from dyslexics who said they never read for pleasure before smartphones and eReaders enabled them to start. “They said it was a much more comfortable experience,” said Jenny Thomason, a study author who worked at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education at the time. “We wanted to take a closer look.”

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