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Dyslexia & Reading Difficulties

February 4, 2022
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WRITTEN BY Dr. Alan Moss

Executive Summary 

Dyslexia is a common linguistic learning disorder related to problems with word decoding during reading due to difficulties with the processing of word sounds. Early reading interventions are effective at improving reading ability in those with dyslexia. In 2016, SB 638 created the Legislative Task Force on Dyslexia and modified RSMo § 167.950 to include requirements related to dyslexia. These requirements include dyslexia and reading difficulty screening in public schools, requiring that two hours of in-service training on dyslexia be made available to teachers, and requiring that schools provide classroom support. Several bills have been introduced during the 2022 legislative session that would expand requirements related to reading and enact many of the recommendations made by the Dyslexia Task Force (HB 1556, HB 1980, SB 681, & SB 1076). 

Highlights 

  • There is a scientific consensus that early interventions for those with reading difficulties are important and the most effective at improving reading ability.
  • The most effective reading interventions tend to be structured around reading instruction by trained individuals in one-on-one or in small group settings.
  • On a national assessment, 34% of Missouri 4th grade students scored Proficient or higher in reading. Additionally, there were gaps in reading scores between racial and socioeconomic groups.

Limitations

  • The large number of reading interventions covering different grade levels can make it difficult to determine which is the most effective. Many have been shown to be effective by well-designed studies.
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