County schools get dyslexia grant

The Union County School District will work on placing an even greater emphasis than ever before on battling dyslexia, thanks to a $30,318 grant it recently received from the Mississippi Department of Education.

According to officials with the school district, Union County schools were among 10 other districts to receive such a grant.  The funds that were obtained can be used to assist in obtaining materials needed for the district’s dyslexic students.
District leaders say they plan to use the funds to begin a multi-sensory reading program based on the Orton-Gillingham methodology.  This methodology, developed by Dr. Samuel T. Orton and an educator, Anna Gillingham, teaches dyslexic children every sound and the corresponding letter combinations that represent the sound, one at a time, in a specific order and in a small group, using multi-sensory teaching methods.
These methods may be tracing letters with their finger in sand as they say the sound (not the letter), or tracing the letter on the carpet with their bare feet as they say the sound.
In preparation for this plan, five of the district’s teachers began work on attaining a master’s degree in dyslexia therapy earlier this year.  The program requires two years of training, which these teachers are paying for out of their own pocket, according to school officials.
The school district, with the help of these teachers, began its program in August of this school year, and has since held several workshops and forum discussions to inform parents and students about dyslexia.
West Union Attendance Center Teacher Tonya Chapin, one of the teachers involved in the program, said she is excited about the opportunity.
“It’s going to be a great assett to our school as well as the district to help children that need help in reading that may not be able to get it elsewhere,” Chapin said.
Fellow teacher Penny Grose agreed.
“I’ve already seen growth in some of the students since beginning the program in August,” Grose said.  “I belive that receiving these funds is going to supply the needed materials to fund the program.”