TUPELO – The Tupelo School District is trying to better reach students who could have dyslexia but may not know it.
It will host a Dyslexia Awareness Night on Tuesday at 6 at Church Street School. The event will be targeted for parents of kindergarten to second-grade students but also is open to parents of students of all ages, community members, dyslexia advocates and even adults who think they may have the condition that makes reading more difficult.
“I would love for anyone to come,” said Tupelo Schools Dyslexia Coordinator Cepia Buchanan. “The more the better.”
About 20 percent of students have dyslexia, Buchanan said, but most don’t know it. Those who are identified can participate in the district’s program that helps students to better read, write and spell. They also are eligible for certain accommodations, such as more time to take tests.
Tuesday’s meeting will last about an hour and will include information about dyslexia, its warning signs and what parents can do. It also will feature a video clip showing the school district’s Barton program in action. The meeting will be followed by a question-and-answer session on Dec. 3.
The school district screens all of its students for dyslexia during the second semester of kindergarten and the first semester of first grade. Older students also can be referred for screening by teachers or parents.
The Barton program that Tupelo uses is not just for dyslexic students, but also for those who need extra help with language skills.
About 300 kindergarten to fifth-grade students are in it, and they work through various multisensory exercises two to three times a week for 30 to 45 minutes each session.