Special Education Services - Dyslexia Resources


Dyslexia Resources for Educators & School Administrators

Dyslexia Definition

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.

Students with Dyslexia may experience difficulty with any or all of the following:

• Learning letter names and sounds

• Phonological processing skills

• Automaticity of reading

• Decoding

• Spelling and writing

• Vocabulary

(International Dyslexia Association)

Specific Learning Disability Definition

Specific Learning Disability (IDEA 2004): Individuals with Disability Education Act (IDEA) defines a Specific Learning Disabilities or (SLD) as a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, that may manifest itself in the imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or to do mathematical calculations, including conditions such as perceptual disabilities, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, and developmental aphasia.

“SLD does not include learning problems that are primarily the result of a visual, hearing, or motor disabilities, intellectual disability, emotional disturbance, of environmental, cultural or economic disadvantage, or limited English Proficiency.” (IDEA, 2004.34, CFR300.8)

Dyslexia Assessment and Screening

Early identification of students at risk for reading difficulties is critical in developing the appropriate instructional plan. “The best solution to the problem of reading failure is to allocate resources for early identification and prevention.” (Torgesen, 2014). Initial screening is the first step in identifying the students who are at risk for learning difficulties and who may need additional supports. Under the Reading Sufficiency Act (RSA) all kindergarten through third-grade students must be screened for reading skills. Students in fourth grade and above may be screened as determined by the district.

    Under Oklahoma’s Reading Sufficiency Act (RSA), ALL kindergarten through 3rd -grade students must be screened using a State Board of Education-approved screening instrument: Under RSA, K-3 students must be screened three times a year—at the beginning, middle, and end of the year.

    Universal Screening is the primary method for the early identification of students at risk of academic or behavioral difficulties. In this model, all students should be screened multiple times per year to ensure all students continue receiving the appropriate level of supports matched to their needs.

    In order to identify students who might be at-risk for Dyslexia, students in kindergarten through third grade who do not meet the grade-level target on an universal screening assessment at the beginning of the year muct also be screened for characteristics of Dyslexia. This requirement will begin for the 2022-2023 academin year (70 O.S.§1210.520).

    In June 2021, the Oklahoma State Board of Education approved the following Dyslexia screening assessments for use by the Oklahoma school districts beginning with the 2022-2023 school year. 

          Assessment               Publisher       Conditional


    Acadience Learning, Inc. PAST Test as a supplement

    mCLASS© DIBELS 8th Edition

    Amplify Education, Inc. PAST Test as a supplement
    Amira Houghton Mifflin Harcourt N/A
    FastBridge Illuminate Education  PAST Test as a supplement
    Istation Imagination Station PAST Test as a supplement
    MAP Reading Fluency™ NWEA N/A
    Star CBM Renaissance Learning, Inc. N/A


    Special Note Regarding Advanced Phonemic Awareness

    Advanced phonemic awareness is the manipulation of phonemes or individual speech sounds, with a word. This could include additional (add /b/ to /at/ = bat). deletion (remove /f/ from farm = arm) and substitution (change /g/ in hug to /m/ = hum). Many of the screening assessment submitted for this review met all requirements except this one. 

    In order to provide districts with a reasonable number of assessments for Dyslexia screenings, it is the recommendation of this team to utilize the Phonological Awareness Screening Test (PAST) as a required supplement when this skill is missing from the overall Dyslexia screening. the PAST, developed by Dr. David Kilpatrick, is a reliable and valid open-access assessment that addresses only phonemic awareness skills. It generally takes 5-8 minutes to administer this assessment.

    The purpose of screening and early identification is to:

    1. identify students who are at risk for reading failure;
    2. to provide them with extra intensive instruction; and
    3. to identify a possible need for a more thorough and detailed assessment for a more specific identification if the students lag behind peers. (Badian, 2000); (Invernizzi et al., 2005).

    See the Southern Regional Education Board’s Reading and Dyslexia Screening Components and Instruments chart.

    Structured Literacy

    Structured Literacy™ is characterized by the provision of systematic, explicit instruction that integrates listening, speaking, reading, and writing and emphasizes the structure of language across the speech sound system (phonology), the writing system (orthography), the structure of sentences (syntax), the meaningful parts of words (morphology), the relationships among words (semantics), and the organization of spoken and written discourse. The following instructional principles are hallmark features of a Structured Literacy™ approach to reading:

    • Instructional tasks are modeled and clearly explained, especially when first introduced or when a child is having difficulty.

    • Highly explicit instruction is provided, not only in important foundational skills such as decoding and spelling, but also in higher-level aspects of literacy such as syntax, reading comprehension, and text composition.

    • Important prerequisite skills are taught before students are expected to learn more advanced skills.

    • Meaningful interactions with language occur during the lesson.

    • Multiple opportunities are provided to practice instructional tasks.

    • Well targeted corrective feedback is provided after initial student responses.

    • Student effort is encouraged.

    • Lesson engagement during teacher-led instruction is monitored and scaffolded.

    • Lesson engagement during independent work is monitored and facilitated.

    • Students successfully complete activities at a high criterion level of performance before moving on to more advanced skills

    Effective Reading Instruction

    Effective reading instruction must include the evidenced-based practice of instruction in systematic phonics. This means instruction should progress from simple to more difficult tasks while employing the “I do, we do, you do” model. Daily practice should be repetitive and cumulative with individualized feedback. Explicitly teaching, understanding, and recognizing the six syllable types found in the English language is essential.

    Early intervention is critical to the success of a student with dyslexia. Assessments of phonemic awareness; letter knowledge and speed of naming; and sound-symbol association can be completed as early as kindergarten. Success, or lack thereof, in these specific skill areas often predicts reading ability in the first and second grades. Research has shown it takes four times as long to intervene in fourth grade as it does in late kindergarten (Lyon & Fletcher, 2001).

    Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a set of principles for curriculum development and instructional planning that gives all students equal opportunities to learn. UDL provides a blueprint for creating instructional goals, methods, materials, and assessments that work for everyone – not a single, one-size-fits-all solution, but flexible approaches that can be customized and adjusted for individual needs. UDL provides guidance and examples for a wide range of instructional approaches and formats to stimulate and motivate learning, including the use of technology and assistive technology. UDL also incorporates principles of student choice and self-regulation as part of the design to foster independence in learning. UDL principles can benefit students in the classroom during effective literacy instruction, as well as during intervention periods.

    Implementation of UDL relies heavily on students having access to appropriate technology, including assistive technology. For example, students with dyslexia will benefit from access to grade-level content in a range of formats, including audio and text-to-speech. See OSDE-SES’s webpage on UDL for more information: https://sde.ok.gov/universal-design

    Dyslexia and English Language Learners

    Dyslexia appears in all cultures and languages in the world with a written language, including those that do not use an alphabetic script such as Korean and Hebrew. In English, the primary difficulty is the accurate decoding of unknown words. The signs of dyslexia do not show up later in English Learners (EL); rather, they tend to be identified later. Teachers and even parents may think a child is having trouble with reading because she’s struggling with a new language. A good indicator of dyslexia is if a child has trouble reading in her first language as well as the second language. The best way to evaluate bilingual kids is to give tests for dyslexia in both languages. Then, evaluators can see if a child is struggling with reading-related tasks in just one language, or in both.

    Dyslexia and Giftedness

    Students can be gifted and have dyslexia at the same time. To succeed, both their giftedness and their challenges need to be addressed. They need to be challenged in areas in which they’re gifted. They also need support in the areas where they struggle, just like any other student with learning or attention issues. Dyslexia is not a sign of low intelligence. It occurs in varying backgrounds and intelligence levels. Students with above average IQ may mask their dyslexia with their talents; in turn, their giftedness may mask their dyslexia. Students may also look like an average student with good grades masking both their giftedness and their struggles.


    Dyslexia Resources

    Center for Effective Reading Instruction

    • Decoding Dyslexia Oklahoma

    Dyslexia Handbook for Families 

    Dyslexia in the classroom: What every teacher needs to know

    Florida Center for Reading Research

    International Dyslexia Association

    National Center for Learning Disabilities

    National Comprehensive Center to Improve Literacy

    Read Brightly

    The Reading League

    Reading Rockets

    Resources from Yale University

    Tips for Students

    The Literacy Nest


    Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity



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    Last updated on July 6, 2022