Ask the Evaluator: Teacher Resources for Dyslexia Screening

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A new state law requires reading interventionists to screen all students in grades K-2 and new students in our district for dyslexia. We have to complete 2 hours of training in dyslexia screening, intervention, accommodations, and using technology.

The state DOE has not made any recommendations about the best screening method.  As a district, we use DIBELS to screen our K-2 students. What’s the best method of screening?

We also need professional development resources.

From Dr. Melissa Farrall, co-author of Wrightslaw: All About Tests and Assessments, Second Edition

Screening Children

DIBELS-N and AIMSweb are both good ways to screen young children.

I also find it very helpful to have children recite the alphabet. Reciting the alphabet (without singing) is an important predictor of reading success. Writing the alphabet is a huge predictor of writing skill . . . even at the high school level.

Then what…?

The trick is what you do in response to the results of the screening.

Children who do poorly on the screening need a quick response. You may also want to have the child’s hearing and vision checked (always a good idea).

Direct Instruction

It is important to dive in with direct, systematic instruction in phonemic awareness, phonics, and spelling.

It is important to ensure that children receive a large enough dose of instruction. Children in first and second grade should have a minimum of 45 minutes daily.

Children also need access to good literature to develop their language and thinking skills.

There is no benefit to waiting…

I think the International Dyslexia Association (IDA) has the best training on issues related to reading disorders.

I suggest that you contact your state branch of the IDA to see what conferences and trainings they are offering.

I also like Project Read by the Language Circle folks.

The LETRS program is excellent and offers several modules that focus on different aspects of reading.

Professional Development Resources

Check your state branch of the IDA for information about professional development in your area. Some state branches have Teacher Portals.  Most state branch websites offer links for staff development and information specific to teacher / teacher training needs.

In some states, IDA board members are available to provide professional development to school districts.

For example, in NJ, the NJIDA website says –

“IDA New Jersey Branch also provides personalized professional development programs throughout the state, including those that satisfy the state-required two hours of professional development on dyslexia. We also provide other small, regional events throughout the year so keep your eyes on upcoming events and programs. If you would like IDA New Jersey Branch to provide a program in your school or community, please send your request ….”

IDA website notes that the IDA national annual conference is the premiere information and professional development conference in North America dedicated to dyslexia.

Teacher Preparation Key to Effective Instruction

Knowledge and Practice Standards for Teachers of Reading


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