Dyslexia Resource Library

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

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 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

You Can Identify Early

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

It Matters Long-Term

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

Early Intervention Has a Higher Impact

Interventions that are implemented between PreK and 1st grade have the most impact and require less time.3

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.

Universal Screening

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

Excellent First Instruction

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

High-Quality Curriculum

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.

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