OLYMPIA – One in five students have difficulty learning to read or see numbers due to dyslexia

Dyslexia is a learning disability that causes learning difficulties in reading, writing, and mathematics. With early screening, early diagnosis, early evidence-based reading intervention and appropriate accommodations, dyslexic individuals can become highly successful students and adults.

It is with these positive outcomes in mind the that Washington Legislature moved a measure requiring schools to screen students in kindergarten through second grade for the letter and number recognition and reading difficulties that are indicators for dyslexia. Under the bill, the Superintendent of Public Instruction will convene an advisory council to develop best practices for implementing the screenings and suitable interventions.

“By providing our teachers with appropriate instructional supports, the reading future and success in school for one in five Washington students with some level of dyslexia will become much brighter,” said the prime sponsor of the House companion measure Rep. Gerry Pollet (D-Seattle).

Every kindergarten through second grade student will be screened for learning challenges related to reading and number recognition, which are often indicators of dyslexia. Educators will be provided with “multi-tiered instructional supports” to help those student who the screenings reveal have learning challenges.

“We should do all we can to ensure every child in Washington gets a quality education,” Pollet said. “Early interventions will be more cost effective, produce better results, and give those who cope with dyslexia every opportunity to succeed alongside their peers.”

On the House floor, Rep. Pollet spoke about how his daughter could not read in second grade, due to what was later found to be severe dyslexia. He thanked his daughter’s Bryant Elementary School teacher, Lynn Fauselt, who came in to school a half hour early several days a week to try to help her student learn to read. However, different teaching methods are needed to teach dyslexic children to read or recognize numbers.

SB 6162, elements of which Rep. Pollet has been working to have adopted for seven years, will provide every teacher in kindergarten through second grade with the tools to recognize indicators of dyslexia, and provide ever student with the multi-tiered instructional support they need to succeed.

One in five children have some degree of the neurological challenges to reading and recognizing numbers which fall under dyslexia.

Pollet said “I want to thank Rep. Vandana Slatter, Sen. Hans Zeiger, the Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal, along with Deciding Dyslexia and the Washington Branch of the International Dyslexia Association for all their hard work in helping to move this bill out of the legislature.”

The bill now moves to the governor’s desk for his signature.

To hear Rep. Pollet’s floor remarks on the passage of bill, please click here.

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