Special Education Services - Dyslexia Resources

Our mission is to provide guidance to educators, students, families, and community members about dyslexia, and the best practices for identification, intervention, and support for students with dyslexia. This guidance is intended to assist school-based decision-making teams in making appropriate educational programming decisions for students with dyslexia. It can also serve as a starting point when additional resources are needed to support students.


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 the 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)

Screening for Risk of Characteristics of Dyslexia

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 a universal screening assessment at the beginning of the year must also be screened for characteristics of Dyslexia. This requirement will begin for the 2022-2023 academic 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. 



    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 assessments 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:

    identify students who are at risk for reading failure;

    to provide them with extra intensive instruction; and

    to identify a possible need for a more thorough and detailed assessment for a more specific identification if the students lag behind their peers. (Badian, 2000); (Invernizzi et al., 2005).


    Dyslexia and English 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. A student 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 Center on Improving Literacy

    Reading Sufficiency Act (RSA) for Parents 

     Universal Design for Learning (UDL)


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    Last updated on February 15, 2023