Dyslexia and Word-Reading Difficulties
Resource Library

Build understanding around dyslexia and word-reading difficulties to help students become strong readers

Defining Dyslexia

New legislation requiring educators in nearly every state to provide stronger, more effective supports to students struggling with dyslexia has placed a renewed focus on this often misunderstood language-based learning disability. To meet these new requirements and provide students with the best instruction and interventions possible, educators must have a solid understanding of what dyslexia is — and what it isn’t.

Dyslexia Is:

  • Neurobiological and often hereditary
  • The result of a deficit in the phonological component of
    language that primarily causes difficulties with accurate
    and/or fluent word recognition, spelling, and decoding
  • Unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the
    presence of high-quality instruction
  • Unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the
    presence of high-quality instruction
  • Unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the
    presence of high-quality instruction

Dyslexia Isn’t:

  • The result of a lack of motivation or socioeconomic status
  • Characterized by seeing letters and words backwards or
    making reversals
  • Caused by lack of intelligence
  • The only type of reading disability
  • Intractable

Dyslexia Doesn’t Discriminate

Dyslexia affects all student groups
and socioeconomic statuses

15-20% of the population has
symptoms of dyslexia1

Dyslexia is found in students
of every level of intelligence
and motivation

1 International Dyslexia Association Fact Sheet, “Dyslexia Basics.” Moats & Dakin (© 2016 Cowen for IDA).

Early Identification of Dyslexia and Word-Reading Problems is Critical

Early indicators of reading
difficulties can be detected
even in pre-kindergarteners,
but we often wait too
long to screen.

70% of below-average
1st grade readers
remain below average
in 8th grade .2

Interventions that are
implemented between
PreK and 1st grade have
the most impact and
require less time.

2 Landerl, K., & Wimmer, H. (2008). Development of word-reading fluency and spelling in a consistent orthography: an 8-year followup. Journal of educational psychology,
100(1), 150

3 Ozernov-Palchik, O., & Gaab, N. (2016). Tackling the ‘dyslexia paradox’: reading brain and behavior for early markers of developmental dyslexia. Wiley Interdisciplinary
Reviews: Cognitive Science, 7(2)
, 156-176.

What Can Be Done to Close Dyslexia-Related and Other
Word-Reading Learning Gaps?

Though there is no cure for dyslexia, it can be remediated through early identification with universal screening
and the application of targeted interventions.

Implement universal screening for early indicators of reading difficulty, beginning in Kindergarten.

Deliver the best, first teaching that includes systematic and explicit phonological awareness and phonics to all students.

Select core curricula that include a strong foundational skills component and targeted evidence-based interventions for those students who need more support.

Pivot Learning Supports Improved Outcomes for Students with
Dyslexia and Word-Reading Difficulties

Pivot Learning collaborates with districts and school to help redesign the processes and systems for identifying students who struggle with reading and then respond with timely, effective interventions. For students with dyslexia in need of special education, we support developing IEPs that are standards-based, rigorous, and realistic.

Pivot will help you:

  • Develop policies and practices for the early identification of dyslexia and word-reading difficulties and help identify evidence-based materials and assessments.
  • Build teachers’ understanding of the key characteristics of dyslexia and word-reading difficulties and research-based instructional practices that prevent reading deficits from becoming lifelong achievement gaps.
  • Implement processes to determine whether English learners are having academic difficulty due to language or a learning disability such as dyslexia.

The First Step to Supporting Students with
Dyslexia and Word-Reading Difficulties

Read our whitepaper to learn more about why early identification and application of evidence-based interventions are critical to closing the reading achievement gap.

Implementing Systems for Early Identification and Intervention

Universal screening is key to identifying the early warning signs in at-risk students and providing targeted instruction. When evaluating universal screening systems, look for measures that are:

  • Administered to all students
  • Simple and efficient
  • Valid
  • Reliable
  • Can help guide instructional priorities and teachable skills
  • Have multiple forms that can be used for progress monitoring
Developing Dyslexia Guidelines for the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE)

Pivot Learning is pleased to be collaborating with stakeholders throughout Massachusetts and national experts to develop guidelines for Massachusetts schools, districts, and early education providers on dyslexia and other word-reading difficulties, including recommendations for screening and intervention.

Identify, Assess and Support Students
with Dyslexia

On-Demand Professional Development

Build your knowledge around supporting students with dyslexia and word-reading difficulties
in these on-demand professional development webinars.

Understanding Dyslexia:
How to Identify, Prevent
and Remediate Word-Level
Reading Difficulties
Speakers: Drs. Louisa Moats
and Dale Webster

Recent Advances in Understanding Word-Level Reading Problems: Implications for Assessment and Effective Intervention

Speaker: Dr. David Kilpatrick

Ensuring Education Equity and Excellence for Students with Disabilities

Speakers: Drs. Michelle Hosp and Arun Ramanathan

Making Special Education “Special:” Ensuring Maximal Instead of Minimal Benefits

Speaker: Dr. Mark Shinn

Assessment for Reading Difficulties and Dyslexia

Speaker: Dr. Michelle Hosp

Consortium on Reaching Excellence in Education (CORE) is a subsidiary of Pivot Learning. For more resources and information about identify and supporting students with dyslexia, visit CORE’s online dyslexia resource library.