State Dyslexia Policies
What does your SREB state say about dyslexia?

Resources Samantha Durrance

Click on your state for information about current state dyslexia policies and links to state-specific resources.

Last updated: 1/9/2020

Alabama

Definition

Dyslexia is a specific learning challenge 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 growth of vocabulary and background knowledge.

Source: Alabama Administrative Code Chapter 290-3-1

Identification

Alabama Administrative Code Chapter 290-3-1 specifies, “Students will be screened for characteristics of dyslexia using screening instruments currently in place for use in public schools.” 

The Alabama Dyslexia Resource Guide (rev. Oct 2016) states:

The results of reading screenings conducted in schools across the state as part of the school’s RtI framework will be used to determine students’ need for dyslexia-specific screenings. Additionally, students will be provided with dyslexia-specific screenings upon teacher or parent request.

It is recommended that students who score below benchmark expectations on the school’s reading screening will participate in dyslexia-specific screening to determine need for dyslexia-specific intervention and dyslexia services. Dyslexia-specific screening will allow the student to demonstrate essential word-level or basic reading skills as outlined below.

Dyslexia-specific screening for students in Grades 1-12 will provide the student with an opportunity to demonstrate:

  • 1. Accuracy of word reading in on-grade-level text
  • 2. Spelling skills
  • 3. Phonemic decoding efficiency skills (decoding nonsense words)
  • 4. Sight word reading efficiency skills

If the student achieves standard scores below benchmark expectations on three of four screening skill indicators, the student will be determined to have failed the dyslexia-specific screening. The Problem Solving Team will review all available data including dyslexia-specific screening data and determine student intervention needs.

If a student in Grades 1-2 has failed the reading screening utilized by the school, available performance information in the areas of nonsense word fluency and oral reading fluency may be used in the place of phonemic decoding efficiency and accuracy of word reading in on-grade-level text.

Kindergarten students who fail the reading screening in the fall should be provided with tiered intervention as determined by the Problem Solving Team. Dyslexia-specific screening for students in kindergarten should not be conducted prior to December of the kindergarten year (winter benchmark period). Dyslexia-specific screening for students in kindergarten will provide the student with an opportunity to demonstrate:

  • 1. Letter naming skill
  • 2. Letter sound skill
  • 3. Phoneme segmentation skill
  • 4. Nonsense word fluency skill

If the student achieves standard scores below benchmark expectations on three of four screening skill indicators, the student will be determined to have failed the dyslexia-specific screening. The Problem Solving Team will review all available data, including dyslexia-specific screening data, and determine student intervention needs.

HB 388, which passed into law in 2019, tasked the State Superintendent of Education with the implementation of rules adopted by the State Board of Education pertaining to dyslexia and the development of guidelines for identifying the characteristics of dyslexia.

Intervention

HB 388 (2019) specified the following:

Based on the results of the reading assessment in Section 3, each K-3 student who exhibits a reading deficiency, or the characteristics of dyslexia, shall be provided an appropriate reading intervention program to address his or her specific deficiencies. The State Superintendent of Education shall provide a list of vetted and approved comprehensive reading and intervention programs with the advice of the task force [established by the same bill]. The intervention program shall be provided in addition to the comprehensive core reading instruction that is provided to all students in the general education classroom.

Any K-3 student who exhibits a reading deficiency at any time… shall receive an individual reading improvement plan no later than 30 days after the identification of the reading deficiency.

The reading improvement plan shall be created by the teacher, principal, other pertinent school personnel, and the parent or legal guardian of the student, and shall describe the evidence-based reading intervention services, including dyslexia specific intervention services, that the student shall receive to improve the reading deficit.

Each identified student shall receive intensive reading intervention until the student no longer has a deficiency in reading, as determined by a State Board of Education approved reading assessment.

Dyslexia specific intervention, as defined by rule of the State Board of Education, shall be provided to students who have the characteristics of dyslexia and all struggling readers. The reading intervention program shall do all of the following:
(1) Provide explicit, direct instruction that is systematic, sequential, and cumulative in language development, phonological awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension, as applicable.
(2) Provide daily targeted small group reading interventions based on student need in phonological awareness, phonics including decoding and encoding, sight words, vocabulary, or comprehension.
(3) Be implemented during regular school hours.

The Alabama Dyslexia Resource Guide (rev. Oct 2016) provides examples of interventions that “include all necessary components of dyslexia-specific intervention and have been used successfully with students with dyslexia.”

Preservice Training (for new teachers)

Beginning with the 2020-2021 academic year, public teacher preparation programs leading to the attainment of an initial elementary teaching certification shall require no less than nine credit hours of reading or literacy coursework, or both, based on the science of learning to read, including multisensory strategies in foundation reading skills. The nine credit hours of reading or literacy coursework shall be incorporated within the current credit hours currently approved for the degree program and not require additional credit hours for graduation.

Source: HB 388 (2019)

Professional Development (for current teachers)

The Alabama State Department of Education will make available (this means it is optional; not required) a dyslexia-specific training accredited by the International Dyslexia Association (IDA) to prepare individuals to implement multisensory structured language teaching techniques and strategies.

Professional development regarding dyslexia and implications for the classroom teachers, will be provided (all teachers should have received this). This professional development should target dyslexia awareness training, dyslexia screening, dyslexia-specific classroom strategies, academic accommodations, and use of assistive technology.

Source: Alabama Administrative Code Chapter 290-3-1

Parent Notification

The PST will notify the parents of the results of the dyslexia-specific screening, will provide parents with a copy of the goals of the dyslexia-specific intervention plan, and with data-based documentation regarding the student’s progress on a regular basis. Independent dyslexia evaluations provided by a parent or guardian to the PST must be considered by the members of the PST.

Source: Alabama Administrative Code Chapter 290-3-1

The parent or legal guardian of any K-3 student who exhibits a consistent deficiency in letter naming fluency, letter sound fluency, nonsense word reading, sight words, oral reading accuracy, vocabulary, or comprehension at any time during the school year shall be notified in writing no later than 15 school days after the identification. The written notification shall include all of the following:

  • A statement that the student has been identified as having a deficiency in reading or exhibits the characteristics of dyslexia, and that a reading improvement plan shall be developed by the teacher, principal, other pertinent school personnel, and the parent or legal guardian.
  • A description of the current services that are provided to the student.
  • A description of the proposed evidence-based reading interventions and supplemental instructional services and supports that shall be proposed for discussion while establishing the student’s reading improvement plan.
  • Notification that the parent or legal guardian shall be informed in writing at least monthly of the progress of the student towards grade level reading.
  • Strategies and resources for the parent or legal guardian to use at home to help the student succeed in reading.
  • A statement that if the reading deficiency of the student is not addressed by the end of third grade, the student will not be promoted to fourth grade unless a good cause exemption is satisfied.
  • A statement that while the statewide reading assessment is the initial determinant for promotion, the assessment is not the sole determiner at the end of third grade. Additionally, students shall be provided with a test-based student portfolio option and an alternative reading assessment option to demonstrate sufficient reading skills for promotion to fourth grade.

Source: HB 388 (2019)

Arkansas

Definition

“Dyslexia” means a specific learning disability that is:

(A) Neurological in origin;

(B) Characterized by difficulties with accurate and fluent word recognition and poor spelling and decoding abilities that typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language; and

(C) Often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities

Source: Arkansas Code Annotated § 6-41-602

Identification

The following students must be screened using DIBELS or an equivalent screener:

  • In kindergarten through grade two (K-2);
  • When a student in kindergarten through grade two (K-2) transfers to a new school and has not been screened;
  • When a student in grade three (3) or higher has difficulty, as noted by a classroom teacher, in:
    • Phonological and phonemic awareness;
    • Sound-symbol recognition;
    • Alphabet knowledge;
    • Decoding skills;
    • Rapid naming skills; and
    • Encoding skills; and
  • When a student from another state enrolls for the first time in Arkansas in kindergarten through grade two (K-2) unless the student presents documentation that the student:
    • Had the screening or a similar screening; or
    • Is exempt from screening.

The screening of students shall be performed with fidelity and include without limitation:

  • Phonological and phonemic awareness;
  • Sound symbol recognition;
  • Alphabet knowledge;
  • Decoding skills;
  • Rapid naming skills; and
  • Encoding skills.

Source: Arkansas Code Annotated § 6-41-603

If a student in K-2 indicates a deficit area on the initial screener, or if a teacher notices a student in grades 3-8 experiencing difficulty, additional screening is required. The additional screening, level I dyslexia screening or level II dyslexia screening, looks more in-depth at the individual components of reading and spelling to determine if the characteristics of dyslexia are present. For K-2 students, a level I screening using curriculum-based measures and/or informal diagnostic inventories or checklists for the required six areas of foundational literacy skills may be sufficient to determine if the child is demonstrating the characteristics of dyslexia.

The level I dyslexia screening is a process of gathering additional information that should include progress monitoring data, work samples, formative literacy assessments, parent interviews, teacher questionnaires, early indicator checklists and additional age and grade appropriate dyslexia screening tools for the six areas. The determination of existing characteristics of dyslexia should be based on multiple sources of data.

Arkansas indicates that schools should use the Luke Waites Characteristic Profile of Dyslexia during a level I dyslexia screening.

The Luke Waites Center for Dyslexia and Learning Disorders at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children created the Characteristic Profile of Dyslexia to aid in school-based identification of dyslexia. This profile provides five questions to consider when identifying student with characteristics of dyslexia. The questions are:

  • Does the student demonstrate one or more of the primary reading characteristics of dyslexia in addition to a spelling deficit?
  • Are the reading and spelling difficulties the result of a phonological processing deficit?
  • Are the reading, spelling, and phonological processing deficits unexpected? Does the student demonstrate cognitive ability to support age-level academic learning?
  • Are there secondary characteristics of dyslexia evident in reading comprehension and written expression?
  • Does the student have strengths that could be assets? Are there coexisting deficits that may complicate identification and the response to intervention and may deserve further assessment and intervention?

The level II dyslexia screening is a more detailed process for identifying a pattern of strengths and weaknesses documenting the characteristics of dyslexia. The determination of existing characteristics may be based on performance criteria (i.e. cut-points, benchmarks) of the chosen assessments to be used as the level II dyslexia screening. Norm-referenced, diagnostic assessments designed to measure the underlying cause, characteristics, and outcomes should be administered to identify the characteristics of dyslexia. The specific skills to be tested include phonological awareness, rapid naming, word reading, decoding, fluency, spelling, and reading comprehension.

Source: Arkansas Dyslexia Resource Guide (rev. Dec 2017)

Intervention

If the initial, level I, or level II dyslexia screening indicates that a student has characteristics of dyslexia, the Response to Intervention (RTI) process shall be used to address the needs of the student.

If the level II dyslexia screening conducted by the school district indicates that a student exhibits characteristics of dyslexia, the student shall be provided intervention services.

If it is determined that the student has functional difficulties in the academic environment due to characteristics of dyslexia, the necessary accommodations or equipment for the student shall be provided under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. § 794 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 12131-12165, as they existed on February 1, 2013, if qualified under the applicable federal law.

Dyslexia intervention for a student whose dyslexia level I or level II screening indicates the need for dyslexia intervention services may include the following instructional approaches:

  • Explicit, direct instruction that is systematic, sequential, and cumulative and follows a logical plan of presenting the alphabetic principle that targets the specific needs of the student without presuming prior skills or knowledge of the student;
  • Individualized instruction to meet the specific needs of the student in a small group setting that uses intensive, highly concentrated instruction methods and materials that maximize student engagement;
  • Meaning-based instruction directed at purposeful reading and writing with an emphasis on comprehension and composition; and
  • Multisensory instruction that incorporates the simultaneous use of two (2) or more sensory pathways during teacher presentations and student practice.

Sources: Arkansas Code Annotated § 6-41-603 and § 6-41-605

No later than the 2015-2016 academic year, a school district shall have individuals to serve as dyslexia interventionists.

Source: Arkansas Code Annotated § 6-41-607

Preservice Training (for new teachers)

No later than the 2015-2016 school year, the Department of Education shall collaborate with the Department of Higher Education to ensure that all teacher education programs offered at state-supported institutions of higher education provide dyslexia professional awareness of the:

  • Characteristics of dyslexia; and
  • Evidence-based interventions and accommodations for dyslexia.

Source: Arkansas Code Annotated § 6-41-609

Professional Development (for current teachers)

No later than the 2014-2015 school year, the Department of Education shall ensure that each teacher receives professional awareness on:

  • The characteristics of dyslexia; and
  • The evidence-based interventions and accommodations for dyslexia.

Source: Arkansas Code Annotated § 6-41-608

Parent Information

If a student’s performance on an initial screener, level I screening, or level II dyslexia screening under § 6-41-603 indicates a need for dyslexia intervention services, the student’s parent or legal guardian shall be notified of the results of the dyslexia evaluation and provided with information and resource material, including:

  • The characteristics of dyslexia;
  • Appropriate classroom interventions and accommodations for students with dyslexia; and
  • The right of the parent or legal guardian to have the student receive an independent comprehensive dyslexia evaluation by a:
    • Licensed psychological examiner;
    • School psychology specialist;
    • Licensed speech-language pathologist;
    • Certified dyslexia testing specialist; or
    • Dyslexia therapist.

If a parent or legal guardian chooses to have an independent comprehensive dyslexia evaluation for the student, the parent or legal guardian shall select a qualified individual as specified above to perform the comprehensive dyslexia evaluation and cover the cost of the comprehensive dyslexia evaluation.

A school district shall consider the diagnosis and provide the student with interventions determined to be appropriate by the school district from a dyslexia interventionist at the school district.

Source: Arkansas Code Annotated § 6-41-604

The Arkansas Department of Education has an online Parent Resource Center with information about dyslexia.

Delaware

Delaware does not currently have dyslexia policies for identification, intervention, or training and has not published parent information about dyslexia.

Florida

Definition

Florida has not adopted or created a definition for dyslexia.

Identification

Florida does not currently require schools to systematically screen students for reading difficulties or dyslexia.

Intervention

Florida does not explicitly require dyslexia-specific intervention, but the characteristics of the intervention that students who struggle with reading must receive are consistent with dyslexia-specific intervention.

Any student in kindergarten through grade 3 who exhibits a substantial deficiency in reading based upon screening, diagnostic, progress monitoring, or assessment data; statewide assessments; or teacher observations must be provided intensive, explicit, systematic, and multisensory reading interventions immediately following the identification of the reading deficiency. A school may not wait for a student to receive a failing grade at the end of a grading period to identify the student as having a substantial reading deficiency and initiate intensive reading interventions. The student’s reading proficiency must be monitored and the intensive interventions must continue until the student demonstrates grade level proficiency in a manner determined by the district, which may include achieving a Level 3 on the statewide, standardized English Language Arts assessment.

Source: Florida Statute 1008.25

Preservice Training (for new teachers)

Florida does not explicitly require teacher preparation programs to include training on dyslexia. It does require certification programs to cover ”scientifically researched and evidence-based reading instructional strategies that improve reading performance for all students, including explicit, systematic, and sequential approaches to teaching phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency, and text comprehension and multisensory intervention strategies.”

Source: Florida Statute 1004.04

Professional Development (for current teachers)

An applicant for renewal of a professional certificate in any area of certification identified by State Board of Education rule that includes reading instruction or intervention for any students in kindergarten through grade 6, with a beginning validity date of July 1, 2020, or thereafter, must earn a minimum of 2 college credits or the equivalent inservice points in the use of explicit, systematic, and sequential approaches to reading instruction, developing phonemic awareness, and implementing multisensory intervention strategies.

Source: Florida Statute 1012.585

Each school that includes any of grades 6, 7, or 8 must include in its school improvement plan a description of the specific strategies used by the school to provide training to reading coaches, classroom teachers, and school administrators in effective methods of:

  • Identifying characteristics of conditions such as dyslexia and other causes of diminished phonological processing skills;
  • Incorporating instructional techniques into the general education setting which are proven to improve reading performance for all students; and
  • Using predictive and other data to make instructional decisions based on individual student needs.

The training must help teachers integrate phonemic awareness; phonics, word study, and spelling; reading fluency; vocabulary, including academic vocabulary; and text comprehension strategies into an explicit, systematic, and sequential approach to reading instruction, including multisensory intervention strategies.

Source: Florida Statute 1012.98

Parent Information

The parent of any student who exhibits a substantial deficiency in reading must be notified in writing of the following:

  • That his or her child has been identified as having a substantial deficiency in reading, including a description and explanation, in terms understandable to the parent, of the exact nature of the student’s difficulty in learning and lack of achievement in reading.
  • A description of the current services that are provided to the child.
  • A description of the proposed intensive interventions and supports that will be provided to the child that are designed to remediate the identified area of reading deficiency.
  • That if the child’s reading deficiency is not remediated by the end of grade 3, the child must be retained unless he or she is exempt from mandatory retention for good cause.
  • Strategies, including multisensory strategies, through a read-at-home plan the parent can use in helping his or her child succeed in reading.
  • That the statewide, standardized English Language Arts assessment is not the sole determiner of promotion and that additional evaluations, portfolio reviews, and assessments are available to the child to assist parents and the school district in knowing when a child is reading at or above grade level and ready for grade promotion.
  • The district’s specific criteria and policies for a portfolio and the evidence required for a student to demonstrate mastery of Florida’s academic standards for English Language Arts. A parent of a student in grade 3 who is identified anytime during the year as being at risk of retention may request that the school immediately begin collecting evidence for a portfolio.
  • The district’s specific criteria and policies for midyear promotion. Midyear promotion means promotion of a retained student at any time during the year of retention once the student has demonstrated ability to read at grade level.

Source: Florida Statute 1008.25

Georgia

Definition

‘Dyslexia’ means a specific learning disability that is neurological in origin. Dyslexia is characterized by difficulties with accurate 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.

Source: Official Code of Georgia Annotated § 20-2-159.6

Identification

No later than July 1, 2020, the State Board of Education shall develop policies for referring students in kindergarten and grades one through three for screening who have been identified through the response-to-intervention process as having characteristics of dyslexia, other disorders, or both. Such policies shall include but are not limited to:

  • The definition and characteristics of dyslexia and related disorders;
  • A list of approved qualified dyslexia screening tools that address the following components:
    • Phonological awareness and phonemic awareness;
    • Sound symbol recognition;
    • Alphabet knowledge;
    • Decoding skills;
    • Encoding skills; and
    • Rapid naming;
  • The process for referring students in kindergarten and grades one through three for screening in collaboration with the local school system’s response-to-intervention programs

Beginning with the 2024-2025 school year, local school systems shall screen all kindergarten students for characteristics of dyslexia and may screen kindergarten students for other disorders. Further, local school systems shall screen students in grades one through three for characteristics of dyslexia, and may screen such students for other disorders, who have been identified through the response-to-intervention process. Screening shall be conducted in accordance with the policies developed by the State Board of Education and the dyslexia informational handbook produced by the Department of Education, including policies and information developed relating to universal screening of kindergarten students for characteristics of dyslexia.

Source: Official Code of Georgia Annotated § 20-2-159.6

Intervention

Georgia does not currently require schools to provide dyslexia-specific intervention for students with characteristics of dyslexia.

Districts participating in a 3-year pilot program beginning in 2020-21 must provide students with characteristics of dyslexia with intervention using an International Dyslexia Association (IDA) approved reading program staffed by teachers trained in structured literacy programs, as outlined in IDA’s Knowledge and Practice Standards. The districts participating in the pilot program are:

  • Atlanta Public Schools
  • City Schools of Decatur
  • DeKalb County
  • Charlton County
  • Jackson County
  • Marietta City Schools
  • Muscogee County
  • Ware County

Sources: Official Code of Georgia Annotated § 20-2-159.6 and communication from the Georgia Department of Education

Preservice Training (for new teachers)

The Professional Standards Commission shall include in its standards for teacher preparation programs for elementary and secondary education instruction on the definition and characteristics of dyslexia and other disorders and evidence based interventions and accommodations for students with characteristics of dyslexia and other disorders.

Source: Official Code of Georgia Annotated § 20-2-208.1

Professional Development (for current teachers)

The Department of Education shall collaborate with the Professional Standards Commission to improve and update professional development opportunities (meaning these are not required) for teachers specifically relating to dyslexia. The training shall focus on:

  • Development and ongoing implementation of training and coaching for teachers regarding dyslexia and other disorders;
  • Identifying high-quality trainers to provide support to local school systems utilizing a coaching model to develop school level dyslexia experts;
  • Developing awareness training modules for all instructional staff to include information about dyslexia;
  • Evidence based interventions, structured multisensory approaches to teach language and reading skills, and accommodations for students with characteristics of dyslexia and other disorders; and
  • School and school system policies and procedures related to the response-to-intervention framework addressing reading, writing, mathematics, and behavior. Teachers shall be notified annually of any changes in policy, procedures, and specific instructional methodologies.

Source: Official Code of Georgia Annotated § 20-2-159.6

Parent Information

In December 2019 the Georgia Department of Education released its new Dyslexia Informational Handbook.

No later than July 1, 2020, the State Board of Education shall develop policies that include:

  • A process for parents to provide informed consent for use of a qualified dyslexia screening tool and notification of the results of the screening;
  • A process for parents to decline dyslexia screening for their child; and
  • A process for providing the parents of students identified as having characteristics of dyslexia with information and resource material regarding dyslexia.

Source: Official Code of Georgia Annotated § 20-2-159.6

Kentucky

Definition

“Dyslexia” means a specific learning disability that is neurological in origin. It is characterized by difficulties with accurate 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.

Source: Kentucky K-3 Dyslexia Toolkit (rev. Jan 2019) and Kentucky Revised Statutes 158.307

Identification

Kentucky does not currently require schools to systematically screen students for reading difficulties or dyslexia.

Each local board of education may develop a policy addressing the implementation of a program for the identification of and strategies for assisting students in kindergarten through grade three (3) with dyslexia. The local board policies may include but not be limited to:

  • The definition and characteristics of dyslexia;
  • A process for identifying students who are displaying characteristics of dyslexia;
  • A process for the utilization of evaluation tools to accurately identify students who are displaying characteristics of dyslexia. Any qualified dyslexia evaluation tool utilized by a local district shall address but not be limited to the following components:
    • Phonological awareness and phonemic awareness;
    • Sound symbol recognition;
    • Alphabet knowledge;
    • Decoding skills;
    • Encoding skills; and
    • Rapid naming; and
  • A process for how evaluation tools are administered and evaluated by trained district personnel or licensed professionals.

Source: Kentucky Revised Statutes 158.307

Intervention

Kentucky does not currently require schools to provide dyslexia-specific intervention for students with characteristics of dyslexia.

Each local board of education may develop a policy addressing the implementation of a program for the identification of and strategies for assisting students in kindergarten through grade three (3) with dyslexia. The local board policies may include but not be limited to:

  • Identification of evidence-based interventions, structured multisensory and literacy approaches to teach language and reading skills, and accommodations that schools may utilize to provide services to students identified as having dyslexia; and
  • A process for monitoring a student’s progress after the positive identification, including assessments to ascertain whether the intervention services improve the student’s language processing and reading skills.

Source: Kentucky Revised Statutes 158.307

Preservice Training (for new teachers)

By the 2019-2020 academic year, postsecondary institutions offering teacher preparation programs for elementary and secondary regular education shall, subject to available funds, include instruction on:

  • The definition and characteristics of dyslexia;
  • Processes for identifying dyslexia;
  • Evidence-based interventions and accommodations for dyslexia and other disorders and related literacy and learning challenges; and
  • Application and implementation of response-to-intervention and dyslexia instructional practices in the classroom setting.

Source: Kentucky Revised Statutes 164.304

Professional Development (for current teachers)

The department shall collaborate with the Education Professional Standards Board, Council on Postsecondary Education, and other groups as necessary to improve and update professional development opportunities for teachers specifically related to dyslexia. Professional development opportunities may focus on:

  • Development and ongoing implementation of training and coaching for teachers;
  • Identifying high quality trainers to provide support to local districts utilizing a coaching model to develop building level dyslexia experts;
  • Developing awareness training modules for all instructional staff to include information about characteristics of dyslexia; and
  • Evidence-based interventions, structured multisensory and literacy approaches to teach language and reading skills, and accommodations for dyslexia and other specific learning disabilities.

Source: Kentucky Revised Statutes 158.307

Parent Information

In January 2019 The Kentucky Department of Education released its new Kentucky K-3 Dyslexia Toolkit.

Each local board of education may develop a policy addressing the implementation of a program for the identification of and strategies for assisting students in kindergarten through grade three (3) with dyslexia. The local board policies may include but not be limited to a process for outreach to parents of students identified with or displaying the characteristics of dyslexia with information and resource materials and how dyslexia may be addressed in the student’s educational setting.

Source: Kentucky Revised Statutes 158.307

Louisiana

Definition

“Dyslexia” shall be defined as a language processing disorder which may be manifested by difficulty processing expressive or receptive, oral or written language despite adequate intelligence, educational exposure, and cultural opportunity. Specific manifestations may occur in one or more areas, including difficulty with the alphabet, reading comprehension, writing, and spelling.

The state further specifies characteristics associated with dyslexia and related disorders:

  • Lack of or limited phonological awareness.
  • Common error patterns in reading and learning behaviors, such as:
    • reading decoding inaccuracies in single words and nonsense words (e.g., detached syllables);
    • slow reading rate;
    • omissions of, or substitutions of, small words (e.g., a/the, of/for/from, three/there);
    • reduced awareness of patterns in words;
    • difficulties generalizing word and language patterns.
  • Language (oral or written, receptive or expressive) is simplistic or poor in relation to other abilities.
  • Errors in spontaneous spelling.
  • Spontaneous written language is very simple or poor in comparison to spoken language.
  • Spontaneous written language shows poor organization and mechanics. 

The state also identifies factors which may contribute to the characteristics of dyslexia:

  • family history of similar problems;
  • late in learning to talk;
  • receptive language skills are typically better than expressive;
  • difficulty in processing both oral and written language. May also affect foreign language acquisition;
  • difficulty in learning to write the alphabet correctly in sequence;
  • cramped or illegible handwriting;
  • late in establishing preferred hand for writing;
  • late in learning right and left and other directionality components: e.g., up-down, front-behind, over-under, east-west and others;
  • problems in learning the concept of time and temporal sequencing: e.g., yesterday, tomorrow, days of the week, and months of the year;
  • reversal of letters or sequences of letters that are not developmentally appropriate;
  • difficulty in learning to decode and comprehend age-appropriate written information;
  • slow reading speed;
  • difficulty learning sound-letter correspondence;
  • difficulty in learning and remembering printed words;
  • repeated erratic spelling errors;
  • error proneness in reading;
  • word substitutions in oral reading;
  • difficulty identifying, blending, segmenting and manipulating phonemes; and
  • losing ground on achievement or intelligence tests. 

Source: Louisiana Administrative Code Part XXXV Bulletin 1903

Identification

Every child in public school in grades kindergarten through third shall be screened, at least once, for the existence of impediments to a successful school experience. No child shall be screened if his parent or tutor objects to such screening. Such impediments shall include dyslexia and related disorders.

A student shall be determined to have characteristics of dyslexia if the following criteria are met:

  • The student has adequate intelligence demonstrated through performance in the classroom appropriate for the student’s age, or on standardized measures of cognitive ability.
  • The student demonstrates difficulties in areas which are often unexpected in relation to age, previous instruction, and other cognitive and academic abilities. The student has had extensive remediation/assistance in order to maintain grades. However, deficits were evident prior to remediation.
  • The student must demonstrate at least five out of six of the following characteristics:
    • lack of or limited phonological awareness;
    • common error patterns in reading and learning behaviors, such as:
      • reading, decoding inaccuracies in single words and nonsense words (e.g., detached syllables);
      • slow reading rate;
      • omissions of, or substitutions of, small words (e.g., a/the, of/for/from, three/there);
      • reduced awareness of patterns in words;
      • difficulties generalizing word and language patterns;
    • language (oral or written, receptive or expressive) is simplistic or poor in relation to other abilities;
    • errors in spontaneous spelling;
    • spontaneous written language is very simple or poor in comparison to spoken language; and
    • spontaneous written language shows poor organization and mechanics.

Source: Louisiana Administrative Code Part XXXV Bulletin 1903

Intervention

In accordance with the program adopted by the board, the city, and parish school boards shall provide remediation for children with dyslexia or related disorders in an appropriate multi-sensory, intensive phonetic, synthetic to analytic phonics, linguistic, meaning based, systematic, language based regular education program.

Louisiana Administrative Code Part XXXV Bulletin 1903 Chapter 9 further describes, in detail, the components of this “Multisensory Structured Language Regular Education Program.”

Preservice Training (for new teachers)

Louisiana does not currently require teacher preparation programs to include training on dyslexia.

Professional Development (for current teachers)

Each Local Education Agency (LEA) will ensure that teachers and administrators are aware of the state regulations regarding dyslexia, the characteristics of dyslexia, and the school system’s policies for implementation of the law. Each LEA will also provide training so that teachers are knowledgeable about and can implement Multisensory Structured Language Programs and instruction for students with characteristics of dyslexia within the classroom.

Source: Louisiana Administrative Code Part XXXV Bulletin 1903

Parent Information

The Louisiana Department of Education produced A Guide to Dyslexia in Louisiana that answers some common questions.

Each LEA will continue public notice regarding the system’s obligations toward students with characteristics of dyslexia and give notice of the school system’s specific implementation plan.

Source: Louisiana Administrative Code Part XXXV Bulletin 1903

Maryland

Definition

Maryland has not codified a definition for dyslexia, but the state refers to the International Dyslexia Association’s definition:

Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurobiological 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 growth of vocabulary and background knowledge.

Source: Technical Assistance Bulletin 16-03, November 2016

Identification

In 2019 Maryland passed legislation requiring universal reading screening for kindergarten students. This screening is not dyslexia-specific.

Beginning in 2020-21, each county board shall ensure that kindergarten students are screened to identify if the students are at risk for reading difficulties. The screening instrument shall be based on foundational reading skills that include phonological and phonemic awareness and processing. Students shall be screened according to the schedule established by the county board.

Source: Senate Bill 734 (2019)

The Maryland State Department of Education’s Technical Assistance Bulletin 16-03 notes that for dyslexia, observation and assessments should address phonemic awareness, phonics, and decoding.  One of the most accurate and powerful predictors of later reading achievement in 
kindergarten and first grade are timed tests of letter naming or letter sound associations, also known as Rapid Automatized Naming and Rapid Automatized Spelling.

Intervention

If the screening results indicate that a student is at risk of reading difficulties, the county board shall provide supplemental reading instruction to address the student’s identified area of need. Supplemental reading instruction means evidence-based, sequential, systematic, explicit, and cumulative instruction or intervention to mastery of foundational reading skills including phonological awareness and processing, phonics, and vocabulary to support development of decoding, spelling, fluency, and reading comprehension skills to meet grade level curriculum.

Source: Senate Bill 734 (2019)

Students with persistent reading disabilities, such as dyslexia, may require evidence-based interventions alongside specially designed instruction.  One highly recommended approach is structured literacy instruction, which emphasizes the structure of language, including the speech sounds and the writing systems.  To be effective, such instruction must be explicit, systematic, cumulative, and diagnostic. Structured literacy is marked by several elements, including: phonology; sound-symbol association; syllable instruction; morphology; syntax; and semantics.  Other important factors include the intensity, fidelity, and customization of instruction to meet the individual needs of the student and increase the rate of learning, which helps to narrow the gap in reading achievement for that student.

Source: Technical Assistance Bulletin 16-03, November 2016

Preservice Training (for new teachers)

Certificate holders with certification in early childhood education, elementary education, and special education Infant-3 and 1-8 are required to complete 12 semester hours in reading, which shall include processes and acquisition of reading skills.

The Essential Knowledge/Skills of Performance Objective 1, Foundation Concepts of How Children Learn to Read, within the Reading Course Guidelines for Processes and Acquisition of Reading Skills, includes the following:


Participants will demonstrate knowledge of:
     C. Dyslexia and other reading difficulties
          P 1.8 The current definition of dyslexia endorsed by the National Institutes of Health
          P 1.9 Current scientifically based research which has identified various types of reading difficulties;
Participants will be able to: Compare myths and realities in the identification of dyslexia.

Sources: Maryland State Department of Education Teaching Certificate Reading Requirements and Maryland State Department of Education Reading Course Revision Guidelines for Elementary, Early Childhood and Special Education, published November 2004

Professional Development (for current teachers)

Maryland does not currently require any training on dyslexia for current teachers.

Parent Information

The Maryland State Department of Education’s Technical Assistance Bulletin 16-03 defines dyslexia, cites common problems experienced by students with dyslexia, identifies assessments that can screen for dyslexia, and describes specially designed instruction for students with dyslexia.

Senate Bill 734 (2019) requires each county board to provide resources on its website that include the reading screening instruments used by the county and an age-specific checklist of early warning signs of reading difficulty and dyslexia.

Mississippi

Definition

“Dyslexia” means a specific learning disability that is neurological in origin, characterized by difficulties with accurate and fluent word recognition and poor spelling and decoding abilities, which 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, and secondary consequences which may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede growth of vocabulary and background knowledge.

Source: Mississippi Code 1972 Annotated § 37-173-1

Identification

Each local school district shall adopt a policy to ensure that students will be screened by a screener approved by the State Board of Education in the spring of kindergarten and the fall of Grade 1. The components of the screening must include:

  • Phonological awareness and phonemic awareness;
  • Sound symbol recognition;
  • Alphabet knowledge;
  • Decoding skills;
  • Encoding skills; and
  • Rapid naming.

If a student fails the screener, the school district, in its discretion, may perform a comprehensive dyslexia evaluation. The resulting diagnosis of the subsequent evaluation must be accepted by the school district for purposes of determining eligibility for placement within a dyslexia therapy program within the current school or to receive a Mississippi Dyslexia Therapy Scholarship for placement in a dyslexia program in another public school or nonpublic school.

Subsequent dyslexia evaluations may be administered by licensed professionals, including:

  • Psychologists
  • Psychometrists
  • Speech Language Pathologists

Source: Mississippi Code 1972 Annotated § 37-173-15

Intervention

Each local school district shall make an initial determination of whether a student diagnosed with dyslexia qualifies under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) to receive services and funding under the provisions of the IDEA before proceeding to the development of a 504 Plan for each dyslexic student eligible for educational services or equipment, or both. If a student’s diagnosis of dyslexia results in a determination that the disability is not a disability which would qualify the student as eligible under the IDEA, then in developing the written 504 Plan for each dyslexia student, there shall be a presumption that proficiency in spelling, reading and writing are essential for the student to achieve appropriate educational progress.

Each local school district shall develop interventions and strategies to address the needs of those students diagnosed with dyslexia which provide the necessary accommodations to enable the student to achieve appropriate educational progress. The interventions and strategies developed shall include, but not be limited to, the use of the 3-Tier Instructional Model and the utilization of provisions of the IDEA and Section 504 to address those needs.

Source: Mississippi Code 1972 Annotated § 37-173-9

Parents of students in Grades 1 through 12 who have been properly screened and diagnosed with dyslexia may exercise the option to remove their child from a traditional public school setting to be enrolled in a public or nonpublic school which meets the standards for appropriate specific instruction designed to meet the unique learning needs of young dyslexic students.

Parents may also request and receive from the state a Mississippi Dyslexia Therapy Scholarship for the child to enroll in and attend a nonpublic school which meets the standards for appropriate specific instruction designed to meet the unique learning needs of young dyslexic students. In most cases, a student must have spent the previous school year in attendance at a Mississippi public school or any other state approved nonpublic school in the state that emphasizes instruction in dyslexia intervention. For more information, see Mississippi Code 1972 Annotated § 37-173-5.

Sources: Mississippi Code 1972 Annotated § 37-173-3 and § 37-173-5

Approved non-public schools currently include:

  • Magnolia Speech School: Jackson
  • New Summit School: Jackson
  • North New Summit: Greenwood
  • South New Summit: Hattiesburg
  • Petal 3D School: Petal
  • Gulf Coast 3D School: Ocean Springs

Source: Mississippi Department of Education Dyslexia page

Mississippi currently provides grant funding to a small number of school districts to assist with identification of and intervention for students with dyslexia. These districts shall provide remediation in an appropriate multi-sensory, systematic language-based regular education program or programs, as determined by the school district, such as the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital Dyslexia Training Program, pertinent to the child’s physical and educational disorders or the sensory area in need of remediation for those students who do not qualify for special education services.

  • Grant recipients for 2018-2021 include:
  • George County School District 
  • Jones County School District 
  • Lamar County School District 
  • Lauderdale County School District 
  • Neshoba County School District 

Sources: Mississippi Code 1972 Annotated § 37-23-15 and Mississippi Department of Education Dyslexia page

Preservice Training (for new teachers)

Mississippi does not currently require teacher preparation programs to include training on dyslexia.

Professional Development (for current teachers)

Mississippi does not currently require any training on dyslexia for current teachers.

Parent Information

Mississippi is currently revising its 2010 Mississippi Best Practices Dyslexia Handbook.

If a student fails the dyslexia screener, the parent or legal guardian will be notified of the results of the screener.

Source: Mississippi Code 1972 Annotated § 37-173-15

North Carolina

Definition

Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurobiological 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 growth of vocabulary and background knowledge.

Source: General Assembly of North Carolina Session Law 2017-127

Identification

North Carolina does not require dyslexia-specific screening. However, kindergarten, first, second, and third grade students must be assessed with valid, reliable, formative, and diagnostic reading assessments made available to local school administrative units by the State Board of Education. Formative and diagnostic assessments and resultant instructional supports and services shall address oral language, phonological and phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension using developmentally appropriate practices. The state’s current selected diagnostic is Istation.

Sources: North Carolina General Statutes § 115C-83.6 and North Carolina Department of Public Instruction K-3 Literacy page

Local boards of education shall review the diagnostic tools and screening instruments used for dyslexia, dyscalculia, or other specific learning disabilities to ensure they are age appropriate and effective and shall determine if additional diagnostic and screening tools are needed.

Source: General Assembly of North Carolina Session Law 2017-127

As part of Child Find obligations under federal law, the NC Public Schools are required to locate and identify children with disabilities. Schools evaluate and identify children as eligible individuals within the disability areas defined by federal law, one of which is Specific Learning Disability(SLD). Dyslexia is recognized as an SLD. Dyslexia is considered a term for reading difficulty at the word level involving the ability to map sounds onto letters in order to read and spell words accurately and automatically.

For a student who is suspected of having a disability, the IEP team determines the assessments that are needed as a part of a full and individual evaluation in order to determine eligibility through the criteria defined within the IDEA and North Carolina Department of Public Instruction Policies Governing Services for Children with Disabilities. The assessment results guide the team’s determination of eligibility and the design of appropriate instruction and intervention for the individual student.

An assessment for a student who displays characteristics consistent with dyslexia would include the following areas: phonological awareness, including advanced phonemic awareness tasks; decoding and word identification; spelling; fluency; comprehension; oral language skills (including listening comprehension); and written expression.

Questions that should be answered when the assessment is complete include:

  • Does the student recognize and name letters?
  • Does the student have phonological awareness skills at the word, syllable, and sound (phoneme) level?
  • Can they isolate, segment, blend, substitute, add, delete, and manipulate sounds in words?
  • Does the student have sound-symbol correspondence for both reading and spelling?
  • Does the student know the six syllable types and can he/she apply them to decoding unknown and multisyllabic words?
  • Does the student recognize and use morphological patterns?
  • Is the student able to read fluently with accuracy and automaticity?

Source: North Carolina Department of Public Instruction Dyslexia Topic Brief (rev. Dec 2019)

Intervention

North Carolina does not currently require dyslexia-specific intervention for identified students. The Department of Public Instruction notes that students with persistent reading disabilities, learning disabilities and dyslexia need informed expert instruction in using evidence-based practices with the developmentally appropriate amount of instructional time.

Best practice instruction for students with dyslexia should be based on the results of diagnostic assessments. Explicit, systematic instruction is critical for these students. They should receive direct instruction for both reading and spelling in the areas of phonological awareness, systematic phonics instruction (including syllable types), and fluency building. The use of decodable books is critical for the intense practice these students will require in using their acquired skills. Intensity and fidelity of instruction will be a primary factor in the level of success the students reach.

There is ample evidence-based research supporting structured literacy instruction as an approach for students with word level reading and spelling difficulties characteristic of dyslexia.

Source: North Carolina Department of Public Instruction Dyslexia Topic Brief (rev. Dec 2019)

Preservice Training (for new teachers)

North Carolina does not explicitly require teacher preparation programs to include training on dyslexia. However, elementary and special education general curriculum teacher education preparation programs shall ensure that students receive instruction in early literacy intervention strategies and practices that are aligned with State and national reading standards and shall include the following:

  • Instruction in the teaching of reading, including a substantive understanding of reading as a process involving oral language, phonological and phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. Instruction shall include appropriate application of instructional supports and services and reading interventions to ensure reading proficiency for all students.
  • Instruction in evidence-based assessment and diagnosis of specific areas of difficulty with reading development and of reading deficiencies.
  • Instruction in appropriate application of instructional supports and services and reading interventions to ensure reading proficiency for all students.

Source: North Carolina General Statutes § 115C-269.20

Professional Development (for current teachers)

Prior to the start of the 2017-2018 school year, the State Board of Education shall ensure that ongoing professional development opportunities are made available (this means they are not required) to teachers and other school personnel on the identification of and intervention strategies for students with dyslexia, dyscalculia, or other specific learning disabilities.

The NC Department of Public Instruction Exceptional Children Division offers professional development in reading, math, learning disabilities and dyslexia, at no cost, to educators within the state. 

Source: General Assembly of North Carolina Session Law 2017-127 and North Carolina Department of Public Instruction Dyslexia Topic Brief (rev. Dec 2019)

Parent Information

The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction first published its Dyslexia Topic Brief in 2015 and revised it in December 2019.

Oklahoma

Definition

“Dyslexia” means a specific learning disorder that is neurological in origin and that is characterized by unexpected difficulties with accurate or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities not consistent with the intelligence, motivation and sensory capabilities of the person, which difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language.

Source: Oklahoma Statutes § 70-7001

The Oklahoma Dyslexia Handbook (rev. July 2019) contains both the definition of dyslexia according to the Woodcock Johnsin IV assessment and the International Dyslexia Association’s definition. These are, respectively:

“Dyslexia affects reading at the single word level, reading fluency and rate, and spelling. In turn, these weaknesses cause difficulties with reading comprehension and written expression. Other abilities that do not require reading, such as general intelligence, reasoning, oral language, mathematics, and knowledge are often unimpaired. In other words, the reading and spelling difficulties are often unexpected in relation to the person’s other abilities.”

Dyslexia is a specific learning disability 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 growth of vocabulary and background knowledge.

Identification

Oklahoma does not require dyslexia-specific screening. Oklahoma recognizes dyslexia as a disability under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.

The Read to Succeed Act requires all K-3 students to be screened for reading skills using a State Board of Education-approved instrument at the beginning, middle and end of each school year. In addition:

  • Kindergarten through grade three (K-3) students who enter an Oklahoma public school for the first time should be screened within the first two weeks of enrollment; and,
  • A student in grade four or higher experiencing difficulty, as noted by a classroom teacher, should be screened.

The screening must include the following skills:

  • Phonemic awareness
  • Phonics 
  • Decoding skills 
  • Oral Reading Fluency
  • Vocabulary
  • Comprehension

In addition, teachers should utilize the Dyslexia Checklist for Teachers provided in the Oklahoma Dyslexia Handbook. It is strongly recommended that students who score below benchmark on the above skills be screened in the following areas:

  • Rapid naming
  • Encoding skills (spelling)
  • Advanced phonemic awareness skills (phoneme manipulation)

Source: Oklahoma Dyslexia Handbook (rev. July 2019) and Oklahoma Statutes § 70-1210.508C

Intervention

Oklahoma does not currently require dyslexia-specific intervention for identified students, though the Oklahoma Dyslexia Handbook (rev. July 2019) provides extensive guidance on structured literacy.

For those kindergarten children at risk for reading difficulties at the beginning of the year, teachers shall emphasize reading skills as identified in the subject matter standards adopted by the State Board of Education, monitor progress throughout the year and measure mid-year and year-end reading progress. Kindergarten students who are not meeting grade-level targets by mid-year in reading shall be provided a program of reading instruction designed to enable the student to acquire the appropriate grade-level reading skills.

Any student enrolled in first, second or third grade who is assessed and who is not meeting grade-level targets in reading shall be provided a program of reading instruction designed to enable the student to acquire the appropriate grade level reading skills. The program of reading instruction shall include provisions of the READ Initiative adopted by the school district. More details on elements of the READ Initiative can be found in section P of this statute.

A program of reading instruction may include, but is not limited to:

  • sufficient additional in-school instructional time for the acquisition of phonemic awareness, phonics, reading fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension; and
  • if necessary, tutorial instruction after regular school hours, on Saturdays and during summer.

 A student enrolled in first or second grades who has been assessed and found not to be meeting grade-level targets in reading shall be entitled to supplemental instructional services and supports in reading until the student is meeting grade-level targets. The program of reading instruction for each student shall be developed by a Student Reading Proficiency Team and shall include supplemental instructional services and supports. Each team shall be composed of:

  • the parent or guardian of the student,
  • the teacher assigned to the student who had responsibility for reading instruction in that academic year,
  • a teacher who is responsible for reading instruction and is assigned to teach in the next grade level of the student, and
  • a certified reading specialist, if one is available.

The program of reading instruction shall continue until the student is determined by the results of approved reading assessments to be meeting grade-level targets.

Source: Oklahoma Statutes § 70-1210.508C

Preservice Training (for new teachers)

The State Board of Education and the Commission for Educational Quality and Accountability in collaboration with the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education shall ensure that all teachers of early childhood education, elementary education, and special education are provided quality training in intervention, instruction, and remediation strategies in order to meet the needs of students in kindergarten through third grade who are determined to be at risk of reading difficulties. In addition, quality education for prospective teachers shall be provided in research-based instructional strategies for instruction, assessment and intervention for literacy development for all students, including advanced readers, typically developing readers and struggling readers who are coping with a range of challenges, including, but not limited to, English learners and learners with handicapping conditions and learning disabilities (including dyslexia).

All institutions within The Oklahoma State System of Higher Education that offer elementary, early childhood education or special education programs approved by the Commission for Educational Quality and Accountability shall incorporate into those programs the requirement that teacher candidates study the five elements of reading instruction which are phonemic awareness, phonics, reading fluency, vocabulary and comprehension. Teacher candidates shall study strategies including, but not limited to, instruction that is explicitly taught, sequenced, multimodal (reading, writing, speaking, listening, hands-on, etc.), multidisciplinary and reflective to adapt for individual learners.

Source: Oklahoma Statutes § 70-1210.508F

A dyslexia teacher training pilot program was enacted in 2012, but no institutions were willing to participate in the pilot and the grant that funded it was no longer available in 2016.

Source: Oklahoma Statutes § 70-7001

Professional Development (for current teachers)

One time per year, beginning in the 2020-2021 school year, a dyslexia awareness program shall be offered (this means it is not mandatory). At a minimum, the program shall include:
1. Training in awareness of dyslexia characteristics in students;
2. Training in effective classroom instruction to meet the needs of students with dyslexia; and
3. Available dyslexia resources for teachers, students and parents.

Source: Oklahoma Statutes § 6-194

Parent Information

In July 2019 the Oklahoma Department of Education released the Oklahoma Dyslexia Handbook.

The parent of any first through third grade student who is found to have a reading deficiency and is not meeting grade-level reading targets shall be notified in writing of the following:

  • That the student has been identified as having a substantial deficiency in reading;
  • A description of the current services that are provided to the student pursuant to a conjoint measurement model such that a reader and a text are placed on the same scale;
  • A description of the proposed supplemental instructional services and supports that will be provided to the student that are designed to remediate the identified area of reading deficiency;
  • That the student will not be promoted to the fourth grade if the reading deficiency is not remediated by the end of the third grade, unless the student is exempt for good cause;
  • Strategies for parents to use in helping their child succeed in reading proficiency;
  • The grade-level performance scores of the student;
  • That while the results of the statewide assessments are the initial determinant, they are not the sole determiner of promotion and that portfolio reviews and assessments are available; and
  • The specific criteria and policies of the school district for midyear promotion.

Source: Oklahoma Statutes § 70-1210.508C

South Carolina

Definition

While South Carolina has not officially adopted a definition for dyslexia, the South Carolina Department of Education’s Dyslexia Module 1 uses the International Dyslexia Association’s definition:

Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurobiological 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 growth of vocabulary and background knowledge.

Identification

Beginning with the 2019-2020 School Year, to the extent funding is provided or that approved screening tools are available at no cost, a local school district shall use the universal screening process to screen each student in the district who is in kindergarten through first grade three times each school year and as needed in second grade as outlined in the district’s universal screening procedures, and any other student as required by the department, for reading difficulties, including dyslexia, and the need for intervention.

In addition to screening required by this subsection, screening also may be requested for a student by his parent or guardian, teacher, counselor, or school psychologist.

Source: South Carolina Code of Laws §59-33-520

Intervention

The district, following the universal screening procedures it conducted, shall convene a school-based team to analyze screening data and progress monitoring data to assist teachers in planning and implementing appropriate instruction and evidence-based interventions for all students who, based on the screening, are at risk of experiencing academic difficulties, including those students who exhibit the characteristics of dyslexia, as provided by the department. Guidance may include suggestions of tiered interventions, dyslexia-specific interventions, academic and social-emotional supports, and supplemental technology as appropriate for the student’s access to assistive technology.

If the RTI process conducted by the district indicates that a student is at risk for experiencing academic difficulties, including dyslexia, the district shall provide the student with tiered, evidence-based intervention.

Source: South Carolina Code of Laws §59-33-520

Preservice Training (for new teachers)

South Carolina does not require teacher preparation programs to include training on dyslexia.

Professional Development (for current teachers)

House Bill 5024 (2016) required the South Carolina Department of Education to provide training to all literacy coaches and literacy teachers in kindergarten through grade three on:

  • dyslexia and related reading disorders and their prevalence, using the internationally accepted definition from the International Dyslexia Association;
  • the use of evidence-based screening tools for dyslexia and other reading disorders that are age-appropriate and evaluate, as appropriate, the following skills:
    • phonological and phonemic awareness;
    • sound symbol recognitions;
    • alphabet knowledge;
    • decoding and encoding skills; and
    • rapid naming skills; and
    • evidence-based, multisensory, instructional methods and interventions designed specifically for students with dyslexia and other reading disorders.

This was a one-time training requirement. The Department created online training modules for this purpose, and the modules are still available on its website.

House Bill 4434 (2018) requires the South Carolina Department of Education to provide appropriate professional development training and resources for all educators in the area of MTSS and the identification of, and evidence-based intervention methods for, students who are at risk of experiencing academic difficulties, including students with dyslexia.

Source: South Carolina Code of Laws §59-33-530

Parent Information

If the RTI process conducted by the district indicates that a student is at risk for experiencing academic difficulties, including dyslexia, the district shall:

  • notify the parent or legal guardian of the student; and
  • provide the parent or legal guardian of the student with information and resource material so that they may assist and support learning for their child

Source: South Carolina Code of Laws §59-33-520

Tennessee

Definition

Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurological in origin and is characterized by difficulties with accurate 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 growth of vocabulary and background knowledge.

Source: Tennessee Dyslexia Resource Guide, rev. Apr 2018

Identification

In grades K– 8, districts should administer a nationally normed, skills-based universal screener as part of the universal screening process required by Tennessee’s RTI2 framework.

When considering characteristics of dyslexia, screening in the areas of basic reading, reading fluency, and written expression help identify students who may need additional assessment to determine possible deficits related to the characteristics of dyslexia and the need for intervention. The state’s Dyslexia Resource Guide specifies that measures of these areas include:

  • K-1
    • letter identification
    • sound identification
    • segmentation
    • blending
  • Grades 1+
    • accuracy of word reading/decoding within text
    • curriculum-based oral reading fluency
  • Grades 2+
    • curriculum-based measures of spelling and correct word sequences in writing

In grades 9–12, schools should collect multiple sources of data that can be incorporated into an early warning system (EWS). The EWS may include data from universal screeners, achievement tests (from both high school and grades K–8), end of course (EOC) exams, student records (e.g., grades, behavioral incidents, attendance, retention, past RTI2 interventions), the Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System (TVAAS), and the ACT/SAT exam or other nationally normed assessments. (A template can be found on the TDOE RTI² Instructional Resources webpage) Districts will establish criteria for identifying students who are at risk using this EWS by determining appropriate thresholds for each indicator (e.g., Missing ten percent of instructional days may be a flag for attendance.) and weighting each indicator appropriately based on local context.

In grades K–12, school teams should consider the results of the skills-based universal screener or EWS compared to other classroom-based assessments. Students identified as “at risk” based on multiple sources of data should be administered survey-level and/or diagnostic assessments to determine student intervention needs. These survey-level assessments for reading must explicitly measure characteristics of dyslexia to include:

  • phonological and phonemic awareness
  • sound symbol recognition
  • alphabet knowledge
  • decoding skills
  • rapid naming, and
  • encoding skills

The dyslexia screening procedures shall be implemented by every LEA.

Dyslexia screening may be requested for any student by the student’s parent or guardian, teacher, counselor, or school psychologist.

Source: Tennessee Dyslexia Resource Guide, rev. Apr 2018 and Tennessee Code Annotated § 49-1-229

Intervention

If the dyslexia screening conducted by the LEA indicates that a student has characteristics of dyslexia, the LEA shall provide the student with appropriate tiered dyslexia-specific intervention through its RTI² framework.

“Dyslexia-specific intervention” means evidence-based, specialized reading, writing, and spelling instruction that is multisensory in nature, equipping students to simultaneously use multiple senses, such as vision, hearing, touch, and movement. Dyslexia-specific intervention employs direct instruction of systematic and cumulative content, with the sequence beginning with the easiest and most basic elements and progress methodically to more difficult material. Each step must also be based on those already learned. Components of dyslexia-specific intervention include instruction targeting phonological awareness, sound symbol association, syllable structure, morphology, syntax, and semantics.

Source: Tennessee Code Annotated § 49-1-229

Parent Information

The Tennessee Department of Education revised its Dyslexia Resource Guide in April 2018.

If the dyslexia screening conducted by the LEA indicates that a student has characteristics of dyslexia, the LEA shall notify the student’s parent or legal guardian and provide the student’s parent or legal guardian with information and resource material regarding dyslexia.

Source: Tennessee Code Annotated § 49-1-229

After a school-based team has reviewed multiple sources of data in the screening process and identified skill deficits in need of intervention, parents shall receive notification of the student’s performance and need for intervention. The notification should include specific areas of deficits associated with the characteristics of dyslexia.

Source: Tennessee Dyslexia Resource Guide, rev. Apr 2018

Texas

Definition

Texas Code defines dyslexia as follows:

“Dyslexia” means a disorder of constitutional origin manifested by a difficulty in learning to read, write, or spell, despite conventional instruction, adequate intelligence, and sociocultural opportunity.

Source: Texas Education Code §38.003

The state’s Dyslexia Handbook also provides the International Dyslexia Association’s definition:

Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurobiological 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 growth of vocabulary and background knowledge.

Source: The Dyslexia Handbook (rev. Nov 2018)

Identification

Students enrolling in public schools in this state shall be screened or tested, as appropriate, for dyslexia and related disorders at appropriate times in accordance with a program approved by the State Board of Education.  The program must include screening at the end of the school year of each student in kindergarten and each student in the first grade.

Source: Texas Education Code §38.003

instruments used to screen for dyslexia and other reading difficulties must address the following skills:

  • Kindergarten:
    • Phonological Awareness
    • Phonemic Awareness
    • Sound-Symbol Recognition
    • Letter Knowledge
    • Decoding Skills
    • Spelling
    • Listening Comprehension
  • First Grade:
    • Phonological Awareness
    • Phonemic Awareness
    • Sound-Symbol Recognition
    • Letter Knowledge
    • Decoding Skills
    • Spelling
    • Reading Rate
    • Reading Accuracy
    • Listening Comprehension

A list of behaviors that may be observed during the administration of the screening and which should be documented include:

  • Lack of automaticity
  • Difficulty sounding out words left to right
  • Guessing
  • Self-correcting
  • Inability to focus on reading
  • Avoidance behavior

Source: The Dyslexia Handbook (rev. Nov 2018)

Screening as described in the “Dyslexia Handbook: Procedures Concerning Dyslexia and Related Disorders” and further evaluation should only be conducted by individuals who are trained in valid, evidence-based assessments and who are trained to appropriately evaluate students for dyslexia and related disorders.

Source: Texas Administrative Code §74.28

Intervention

The board of trustees of each school district shall provide for the treatment of any student determined to have dyslexia or a related disorder.

Source: Texas Education Code §38.003

A school district or open-enrollment charter school shall purchase a reading program or develop its own evidence-based reading program for students with dyslexia and related disorders that is aligned with the descriptors found in the “Dyslexia Handbook: Procedures Concerning Dyslexia and Related Disorders.” Teachers who screen and treat these students must be trained in instructional strategies that use individualized, intensive, multisensory, phonetic methods and a variety of writing and spelling components described in the “Dyslexia Handbook: Procedures Concerning Dyslexia and Related Disorders.

Source: Texas Administrative Code §74.28

Standard protocol dyslexia instruction provides evidence-based, multisensory structured literacy instruction for students with dyslexia. A standard protocol dyslexia instructional program must be explicit, systematic, and intentional in its approach.

Instructional decisions for a student with dyslexia must be made by a committee (Section 504 or ARD) that is knowledgeable about the instructional components and approaches for students with dyslexia. These components must include:

  • Phonological awareness
  • Sound-symbol association
  • Syllabication
  • Orthography
  • Morphology
  • Syntax
  • Reading comprehension
  • Reading fluency

Principles of effective intervention for students with dyslexia include all of the following:

  • Simultaneous, multisensory (VAKT)
  • Systematic and cumulative
  • Explicit instruction
  • Diagnostic teaching to automaticity
  • Synthetic instruction
  • Analytic instruction

Source: The Dyslexia Handbook (rev. Nov 2018)

Preservice Training (for new teachers)

Any minimum academic qualifications for a certificate that require a person to possess a bachelor’s degree must also require that the person receive, as part of the training required to obtain that certificate, instruction in detection and education of students with dyslexia. The instruction must:

  • be developed by a panel of experts in the diagnosis and treatment of dyslexia who are:
    • employed by institutions of higher education; and
    • approved by the board; and
  • include information on:
    • characteristics of dyslexia;
    • identification of dyslexia; and
    • effective, multisensory strategies for teaching students with dyslexia.

Source: Texas Education Code §21.044

Professional Development (for current teachers)

Continuing education requirements for an educator who teaches students with dyslexia (this means those who provide intervention) must include training regarding new research and practices in educating students with dyslexia.

Source: Texas Education Code §21.054

Parent Information

The Texas Education Agency revised its Dyslexia Handbook in November 2018.

A school district shall notify the parent or guardian of each student in kindergarten or first or second grade who is determined, on the basis of reading instrument results, to be at risk for dyslexia or other reading difficulties.

Source: Texas Education Code §28.006

Parents/guardians of a student with dyslexia or a related disorder must be informed of all services and options available to the student, including general education interventions under response to intervention and multi-tiered systems of support models as required by TEC, §26.0081(d), and options under federal law, including IDEA and the Rehabilitation Act, §504.

Source: Texas Administrative Code §74.28

Virginia

Definition

Dyslexia is distinguished from other learning disabilities due to its weakness occurring at the phonological level. Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurobiological 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 growth of vocabulary and background knowledge.

Source: Virginia Administrative Code § 20-81-10

Identification

The University of Virginia’s Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening (PALS) is currently the reading universal screening tool for Virginia. The tool is provided to schools at no charge and is currently used in 131 out of 132 districts.

Source: PALS Resource Center and Plan for a Pilot Program (December 1, 2019)

Senate Joint Resolution 87 (2010) directed the Virginia Department of Educaiton to study dyslexia screening for kindergartners. The Department concluded that PALS-K was a reliable and valid instrument for identification of at-risk students.

Source: Senate Document No. 4, Study of Dyslexia Screening for Kindergartners

Schools participating in the Early Intervention Reading Initiative (EIRI) must screen students using PALS as follows:

  Fall Spring
Kindergarten All students are
screened.
All students are
screened.
First Grade Students who are
new to Virginia
Public Schools, and
students who
received summer
intervention are
screened.
All students are
screened.
Second Grade Students who are
new to Virginia
Public Schools, and
students who
received summer
intervention are
screened.
All students without a
“high benchmark
score” are screened. *
Third Grade Students who are
new to Virginia
Public Schools, and
students who
received summer
intervention are
screened.
All students take the state
SOL test.

Source: PALS Screening Requirements

Senate Bill 1718, passed in 2019, added an additional screening requirement: the first reading diagnostic test administered to a K-3 student in the school year shall include a rapid automatized naming component. The bill also contained the following language:

The Department of Education, in consultation with appropriate stakeholders, including a parent of a currently enrolled public school student diagnosed with dyslexia, shall develop a plan to implement a pilot program to incorporate additional diagnostic tools into reading diagnostic tests used for screening students in kindergarten through grade three. Such plan shall consider the appropriate interventions and services for students identified through such additional diagnostic tools and the resources that are necessary for the implementation of such interventions and services. The Department of Education shall submit such plan to the Chairmen of the House Committee on Education, the Senate Committee on Education and Health, the House Committee on Appropriations, and the Senate Committee on Finance no later than December 1, 2019.

Source: Senate Bill 1718 (2019)

On December 1, 2019, the Virginia Department of Education issued a report recommending that this pilot plan include the use of PALS 2.0, a newer version of the tool, which will include measures of rapid automatized naming.

Source: Plan for a Pilot Program (December 1, 2019)

Intervention

Local school divisions shall provide reading intervention services to students in kindergarten through grade three who demonstrate deficiencies based on their individual performance on the Standards of Learning reading test or any reading diagnostic test that meets criteria established by the Department of Education.

Source: Virginia Administrative Code § 22.1-253.13:1

Preservice Training (for new teachers)

The Department of Education shall collaborate with the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia to ensure that all teacher preparation programs offered at public institutions of higher education in the Commonwealth or otherwise available convey information on the identification of students at risk for learning disabilities, including dyslexia, other language-based learning disabilities, and attention deficit disorder.

Source: Virginia Administrative Code § 22.1-298.4

Every person seeking initial licensure or renewal of a license shall complete awareness training, provided by the Department of Education, on the indicators of dyslexia, as that term is defined by the Board pursuant to regulations, and the evidence-based interventions and accommodations for dyslexia

Source: Virginia Administrative Code § 22.1-298.1

The Virginia Department of Education created an online Dyslexia Awareness Training Module to address this requirement.

Professional Development (for current teachers)

Every person seeking initial licensure or renewal of a license shall complete awareness training, provided by the Department of Education, on the indicators of dyslexia, as that term is defined by the Board pursuant to regulations, and the evidence-based interventions and accommodations for dyslexia

Source: Virginia Administrative Code § 22.1-298.1

The Virginia Department of Education created an online Dyslexia Awareness Training Module to address this requirement.

Parent Information

The Virginia Department of Education published a Specific Learning Disability Supplementary Guide: Dyslexia: Frequently Asked Questions in February 2017.

Local school divisions shall report the results of the reading diagnostic tests to parents, including subset scores.

Source: Senate Bill 1718 (2019)

West Virginia

Definition

Dyslexia is an alternative term used to refer to a pattern of learning difficulties characterized by problems with accurate or fluent word recognition, poor decoding, and poor spelling abilities. If dyslexia is used to specify this particular pattern of difficulties, it is important also to specify any additional difficulties that are present, such as difficulties with reading comprehension or math reasoning.

Source: West Virginia Code §18-20-10

Identification

West Virginia does not currently require schools to systematically screen students for reading difficulties or dyslexia.

The state board is responsible for ensuring that all students receive the necessary and appropriate screenings, evaluations and early assessments for specific learning disabilities, including dyslexia.

Source: West Virginia Code §18-20-10

Intervention

West Virginia does not currently require dyslexia-specific intervention for identified students.

Preservice Training (for new teachers)

West Virginia does not currently require teacher preparation programs to include training on dyslexia.

Professional Development (for current teachers)

West Virginia does not currently require training on dyslexia for current teachers.

Parent Information

The state board is responsible for providing ongoing information and education to parents regarding specific learning disabilities, including dyslexia and dyscalculia, and the services available to students with such disabilities.

Source: West Virginia Code §18-20-10