Dyslexia Resource Center for Parents
In the Litchfield Elementary School District, we are committed to supporting the diverse learning needs of all our students. Dyslexia is one of the many learning differences that some children may experience. We believe that with the right information and resources, parents and educators can work together to help children who demonstrate characteristics consistent with dyslexia thrive in the classroom and beyond.
What is Dyslexia?
Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that affects a person's ability to read, write, and spell. It is not related to intelligence, and individuals with dyslexia often have average or above-average intelligence. Dyslexia is believed to be a result of neurodiversity, or differences in the way the brain processes language. It can manifest in various ways and may affect each individual differently.
Arizona Revised Statute 15-701 defines dyslexia as "a specific learning disorder that is neurological in origin. It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction. Secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede the growth of vocabulary and background knowledge."
Recognizing the Signs
Parents and teachers are partners in recognizing the signs of dyslexia early so that appropriate interventions and support can be provided. Some common signs of dyslexia in children may include:
- Difficulty with phonemic awareness (the ability to identify and manipulate individual sounds in words).
- Challenges with phonics, including letter/sound correspondence, blending sounds to make words, and word recognition.
- Struggles with reading fluency and accuracy.
- Poor spelling and writing skills.
- Difficulty with reading comprehension, even though listening comprehension and oral expression are excellent.
Dyslexia in the Schools
Teachers are trained to look for characteristics consistent with dyslexia, and respond with evidence-based instruction and intervention. All LESD schools implement the following practices to support the reading proficiency of all students, regardless of if a student has a dyslexia diagnosis.
- Structured Literacy Instruction: explicit and systematic instruction in phonology, phonics, spelling, and the structure of written language (which helps students learn to decode words and build their reading skills), combined with integrated applications in text sets that develop literacy and world knowledge.
- Assessment: Acadience, a universal screener, is administered to all K-5 students. Additional diagnostic assessments, such as a phonics screener, are administered to students who fall below benchmark on the universal screener to identify the specific learning needs of each student and provide interventions targeted to those needs. In grades 6-8, students take the iReady Reading Diagnostic to identify students who may be in need of additional support. Student progress is monitored frequently to ensure all students are responding to the instruction and intervention being provided.
- MTSS: an evidence-based approach designed to ensure that all students receive the right supports at the right time. Differentiation strategies, such as intentional teacher supports and assistive technology are incorporated throughout MTSS.
- Tier 1 (Universal Support): All students receive high-quality, research-based instruction in the general classroom.
Tier 2 (Targeted Support): Some students may require additional support beyond the standard classroom instruction. These students and their needs are identified through assessment data, and targeted interventions tailored to their specific needs are provided.
Tier 3 (Intensive Support): A small group of students may require even more intensive support. In this tier, individualized interventions are developed to address their unique challenges, helping them make significant progress.
- Communication and Collaboration: educators at each LESD school and throughout the district, including Reading Specialists, Administrators, Instructional Coaches, Resource Teachers, Paraprofessionals, School Psychologists, English Language Development Coordinators, and Special Education Teachers, collaborate to ensure every student's instructional needs are met, regardless of if a child has a diagnosis. Parents receive communication regarding their child's data and progress, and parents of K-3 students who struggle in reading receive letters as described in the MOWR section of this website.
Supporting Your Child
In the Litchfield Elementary School District, we are dedicated to providing a supportive and inclusive environment for all students, including those with dyslexia. Here are some ways you can support your child at home:
- Read with your child every day
- Encourage development of listening skills by speaking with your child. Use robust vocabulary and varied sentence structures.
- To develop phonological awareness: sing rhyming songs and match pictures of objects that rhyme, play with sounds in words with your child (for example, generating words that start with the same sound), focus on the sounds within words (for example, by asking your child to tell you what the middle sound in a word is - and then changing that sound to form a new word)
- To develop phonics: help your child identify the sounds of all letters and practice blending sounds to read words, discourage guessing and instead have your child say the sounds of the word to read it, work on spelling by having your child write words that you say.
- Help with time and planning and keeping your child organized.
- Practice reading fluently. Fluent reading sounds as natural as speaking.
- Promote a growth mindset: help your child develop a positive attitude toward learning by celebrating their growth and emphasizing their strengths and talents.
Dyslexia Foundation: Offers comprehensive information about dyslexia, including research, resources, and support for parents.
International Dyslexia Association: Provides resources, webinars, and local chapters for support.
Understood: Offers articles, expert advice, and a community of parents who share their experiences with learning and attention issues.
If you have any questions or concerns about your child's literacy development, please contact your child's teacher. We are here to support you and your child every step of the way.