State requires dyslexia screening

By Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Another piece of improving literacy is targeting services to students with dyslexia.
Last year, the Legislature passed a law to give greater attention to helping students with the learning disability that makes it difficult for them to read.
It requires schools to screen all students for dyslexia during the spring of their kindergarten year and the fall of their first-grade year. Those who fail the test are eligible for placement in a dyslexia therapy program within their schools or in another public school or non-public special purpose school, with state-sponsored scholarships available.
Gov. Phil Bryant said last week that measure remains an important part of the state’s efforts to improve literacy.
“Addressing dyslexia is important,” Bryant said. “It is the number one reason a child can’t read and will drop out of school.”
Under Superintendent Gearl Loden, Tupelo’s schools began using the Barton dyslexia program this year to help students beginning in kindergarten. The district’s previous program began in second grade.
The school district added a dyslexia coordinator and uses an interventionist at each elementary school.
Meanwhile, the Lee County School District has used the Reaching Reading Success program at its elementary schools for the past six years.
The program is for students with dyslexic tendencies. They spend 55 minutes every day working on skills, such as decoding words.
chris.kieffer@journalinc.com