Legislative News in Wisconsin

Senate Education Hearing August 13, 2019 some of DD WI members in our hospitality room after a long afternoon! We did NOT have Wisconsin Eye coverage the Capitol was having difficulty with the hearing room microphones and sound system apparently so we do not have the whole hearing documented by video by the great folks athttps://wiseye.org/ What a Great day we have worked so very hard for! Let’s keep the momentum going! AB 110/ Creation of a Dyslexia Handbook is currently in Executive session and soon off to the full Wisconsin Senate for a vote. Contact all Senate Education members , YOUR Wisconsin Senator and Governor Evers ask them to vote in support of AB 110! EversInfo@wisconsin.gov. https://appengine.egov.com/apps/wi/Governor/contact Let’s move Wisconsin Forward!
https://wiseye.org/2019/04/18/assembly-committee-on-education-48/ Hearing for AB 110 Creation of a Dyslexia handbook begins @ 2:28:26, This began at 12:30 PM and finished @ 6 PM without any breaks. Many children/families had to leave as the hearing did not begin quickly.
Last Joint Legislative Council Study Committee on Dyslexia  DECEMBER 4th, 2018

 Agenda ]

October 23rd, 2018

September 18th, 2018



August 29, 2018 Meeting 9:30 a.m. Room 411 South, State Capitol

Watch the video here:   ://www.wiseye.org/Video-Archive/Event-Detail/evhdid/12618

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JULY 9th Joint Legislative Council Dyslexia Study:


Why are we concerned in Wisconsin?




Forward Exam reports on students abilities to read at grade level commented  here:   http://www.jsonline.com/story/news/education/2017/09/27/fewer-than-half-all-wisconsin-students-scored-proficient-above-state-forward-exam/707019001/   ( Sept 29th 2017)

Wisconsin Literacy Data:



Summer 2018  Thank you, to all who advocated for this!

Representative Bob Kulp  Chair

Senator Patty Schachtner Co Chair


DD WI Response to PI 34 D:

Statement in response to PI-34 Re: Changes to WIFoRT Foundations of Reading Test

June 1st 2018

Decoding Dyslexia Wisconsin is a parent-led grassroots organization comprised of a diverse group including educators, researchers, and specialists all concerned with reading. Reading in today’s society is not optional.

Deep Educator Knowledge of Phonics, Phonemic Awareness, Vocabulary, Oral Reading, Reading fluency, and Comprehension strategies are outlined by the National Reading Panel¹, IDEA/ Individuals with Disability Education Act², NCTQ/ National Council on Teacher Quality³ and  Florida’s Center for Reading Research⁴. Reid Lyon MD submitted testimonies to Congress in 1997 after over 30 years of research, costing over 250 Million dollars of Congressional funding through the NICHD/ National Institute of Child Health and Human Development⁵. The NAEP/ National Assessment of Educational Progress/Nation’s Report Card demonstrated that in 2017 Reading scores in Wisconsin dropped across the board. 65% of Fourth Grade Students are not reading proficiently at grade level⁶. Mathematics scores also have been affected. Being unable to read well at grade level affects all domains.

Act 166/The Wisconsin Foundations of Reading Test was a great beginning in an attempt to give teachers more tools, strategies and knowledge in order to be better prepared to face the challenges of the classroom. It is unfortunate that Wisconsin Universities have not made better efforts to help “teaching candidates” by providing time to learn this important material as well as interactive experiences in the classroom with children for application of core components in reading instruction. Students are shown to perform better when given the opportunity of time and practice by working with materials in a mentoring environment. The opportunity to discover what works how and why it works instead of cramming to learn 107 pages of a WI FoRT study guide coupled with a powerpoint presentation. Educators could become more effective diagnostic teachers able to separate out which subskill a student may be having difficulty with and make corrections as needed.

Investing in teachers knowledge is critical to push Wisconsin youth forward. Teaching Reading is the focus of the first three years of school, there is not one more important skill for a student to obtain proficiency in.  Every subject requires reading, our educational system is based upon proficiency in literacy skills. Technology cannot take the replace the skill of reading. If a student does not learn solid foundational skills we are not setting them up for success. If a teacher does not understand the subskills of reading we can see how it affects students progress. We know a lot about reading, the research is not making its way into the classrooms.

HR-3033 The READ act /Research Excellence and Advancements in Dyslexia  February 2016 has assigned funding for research until 2021⁷. The applied strategies proven effective with Dyslexics are effective with all students. The differences with a student who has been diagnosed with Dyslexia lie in the intensity of the instruction and the repetition. In health care fields students are taught about health and variants of health to be able to discern the differences. There is a focus to early identify “at risk” children, understanding developmental milestones and “norms” can help with diagnosis and interventions. If a teacher genuinely understands the signs of children at risk for reading failure, they can work on applied strategies.  In business and health care strict measures of quality control are applied. A teacher learning about dyslexia helps to create not only a more accommodating teacher overall, but also a better instructor in terms of reading.

Structured literacy ensures students can achieve foundational skills to eliminate the need for a revolving door of remedial teaching. Invest in teachers, to learn the sound structure of language, the writing system of letters, handwriting, spelling conventions and grammar used in building sentences. Publishers, clever marketing of products and programs can never replace or substitute the watchful eye of a skilled educator. Technology is not sensitive enough to pick up on the where a child may need more focus nor is it as powerful as the student teacher bond which can motivate and elevate children to persevere and challenge themselves to reach new heights. There is no personal connection that forms between a student and technology, no warm smiles, no intimate association or reciprocity. Support and assist teachers in Wisconsin so that we can be a leader in literacy.

Waiving WIFoRT requirements for any teachers is not a step to move Wisconsin Forward, please consider the following suggestions:

  • Create minimally one class of at least one term’s length which would allow teaching students time to read, study, and get accustomed to terminology, include practice with students to absorb the materials covered in the WIFoRT exam, and give ample time to understand and learn the subskills of reading. One class divided up into sub units of study could help more teaching candidates thoroughly master all the specifics. How can students be expected to absorb the material if they have not been taught it? The Current reading instruction taught is based upon “Whole Language” not based on the science of reading.
  • Create active study groups in the Universities throughout the year to facilitate practice in classrooms with mentors. Learn the Role of phonics in reading development, develop skills about vocabulary development, acquire knowledge  about concepts of print, discover word analysis skills and strategies,phonemic awareness and the importance of it.
  • Adopt some precursor “required reading” minimally including background knowledge from books such as “Essentials of Assessing Preventing and Overcoming Reading Difficulties”⁹,“From Speech to Print Language Essentials for Teachers”¹⁰,”Writing Skills A Teacher’s Handbook”¹¹.
  • Create a program in the UW system that teaches ”Structured Literacy”, and adheres to the “Knowledge and Practice Standards for Teachers of Reading”¹² and the International Literacy Association¹³ recommendations.
  • Decoding Dyslexia Wisconsin concurs with Wisconsin Reading Coalition suggestions⁸.
    1. https://www1.nichd.nih.gov/publications/pubs/nrp/Documents/report.pdf
    1. https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ovae/pi/AdultEd/essential-components-reading.pdf
    1. https://www.nctq.org/yearbook/state/WI-Teaching-Reading-75
    1. https://education.ucf.edu/mirc/Research/Closer%20Look.pdf
    1. http://www.reidlyon.com/edpolicy/3-HEARING-ON-LITERACY.pdf
    1. https://www.nationsreportcard.gov/profiles/stateprofile/overview/WI?cti=PgTab_OT&chort=1&sub=MAT&sj=WI&fs=Grade&st=MN&year=2017R3&sg=Gender%3A+Male+vs.+Female&sgv=Differences=Single+Year&tss=2015R3-2017R3&sfj=NP
    1. https://www.inresg.org/stemld
    1. https://drive.google.com/file/d/1SOYY9IJiGArlfcmln0GQRxoKdnx7xIm-/view
    1. https://www.wiley.com/en-us/Essentials+of+Assessing%2C+Preventing%2C+and+Overcoming+Reading+Difficulties+-p-9781118845240
    1. https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED446451
    1. https://eps.schoolspecialty.com/EPS/media/Site-Resources/Downloads/program-overviews/S-writing_skills.pdf?ext=.pdf
    1. http://www.readingrockets.org/sites/default/files/IDA%20Knowledge%20and%20Practice%20Standards%20for%20Teaching%20of%20Reading.pdf
  1. https://www.literacyworldwide.org/docs/default-source/where-we-stand/ila-democratizing-professional-growth-with-teachers.pdf

Dyslexia Study in Wiscosnin May 23 2018:



Decoding Dyslexia Wisconsin

Statement on DPI Emergency Ruling Re: WIFoRT Foundations of Reading Test

July 1st 2017

Decoding Dyslexia is a grassroots movement created by families, teachers, and professionals who are concerned with the limited access to appropriate educational approaches given with fidelity for struggling readers, other language-based disabilities, and dyslexia in our public schools. We have chapters in 50 states and internationally. Our goals are to raise awareness, empower families to support their children, and inform legislators about best practices to identify, educate and support students struggling with reading in Wisconsin. We support families of struggling readers, share resources, and strategies which are helpful. Every child must learn to read so they can reach their full potential!

Decoding Dyslexia understands the long-term effects on children when teachers have not learned the subskills of reading. Without the assistance of extremely knowledgeable educators who understand the five essential components of reading children will not effectively learn strategies, they will use every day for their entire life. Act 166/ The Wisconsin Foundations of Reading Test is the only legislation in effect in Wisconsin that targets very effective basics of reading instruction rooted in Reading Science that can help ALL students.  The NAEP Nations Assessment of Educational Progress standardized assessment data for Wisconsin demonstrates the need for improvement in Reading in Wisconsin.

Reading failure in this country is a hundred years in the making. Long ago, before teaching subject content, teachers taught phonology (the sound structure of the language), orthography (the writing system of letters and spelling conventions), cursive handwriting, grammar, and the art of sentence building — because these were the necessary prerequisites. This kind of skill-building gradually fell out of favor and is now missing in most early education classrooms. This must change.

We ask you to restore to our local school systems the structured literacy practices that will ensure all students learn to read proficiently. Meaningful change is within our reach if we take an active role in bringing critical, foundational teaching methods back to classrooms everywhere.

To help move forward we would like to suggest:

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction should allow for greater transparency in reporting the passage rates of new teachers who take this exam rather than deconstruct the Foundations of Reading basics. Governor Walker’s Read to Lead Taskforce consisting of esteemed Professionals had collaborated over a number of years to make these recommendations. A great solution could be to add passage rates on every school district report card.

Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction could collaborate with Universities in Wisconsin to create and implement a universal class which can support learning the WIFoRT Wisconsin Foundations of Reading Test material for our new teachers. The Foundations of Reading Test WI FoRT ensures a standard of teacher quality; rather than reduce teacher quality why not support our teachers by providing classes and ample time to learn, study, work with and become accustomed to Phonemic Awareness, Phonics, Vocabulary, Comprehension, and Fluency approaches? We love our teachers, they have big challenges in this well-respected profession let’s support them! Wisconsin can be a leader in Literacy!

Thank you, most sincerely,

Decoding Dyslexia Wisconsin

The Wisconsin Foundations of Reading Test/WIFoRT enables teachers to learn how to teach reading using “ECORI” the Essential Components of Reading as addressed in IDEA Individuals with Disability Education Act. These foundational skills are important for all when learning to read. The WIFoRT covers all of the following sub-skills of reading not taught in a “Whole Language” approach to reading.

Under the IDEA regulation, a child may be able to decode words adequately and comprehend passages at an average level for her age, but still be eligible for services under the IDEA if her reading fluency skills are deficient. Breaking out these three components of reading in the IDEA regulation is consistent with the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (“ESEA”), as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. That federal statute, which predated the latest reauthorization of the IDEA in 2004, defines the “essential components of reading instruction” (ECORI) to mean “explicit and systematic instruction” in five specific areas, all of which are needed:

  • (A) phonemic awareness,
  • (B) phonics,
  • (C) vocabulary development, [ IDEA combines these first three into “basic reading skill”]
  • (D) reading fluency, including oral reading skills, and
  • (E) reading comprehension strategies. 20 U.S.C. § 6368(3). 5

The U.S. Department of Education has explained that the “reference to ‘State- approved grade-level standards’ [in the IDEA] is intended to emphasize the alignment of the [IDEA] and the ESEA . . . .” 71 Fed. Reg. 46,652 (August 14, 2006); Add. 63.

The International Dyslexia Association has Knowledge and Practice standards that align to the foundational skills needed:


You may ask why should I care about the Foundations of Reading Test? Listen to renowned expert on Reading:  Louisa Moats Ed.D


Governor Walker’s “Read to lead taskforce” goal: Aimed at ensuring kids learn to read by fourth grade: https://walker.wi.gov/press-releases/gov-walker-releases-read-lead-report-plan

Since January 2014  resulting from Governor Walker’s “Read to Lead” task force a “Foundations of Reading Test” ( WI-ForT)  was recommended for all new teachers, reading specialists,  and special education staff.


Check out what the Wisconsin Foundations of Reading Covers here:


You are braver than you believe and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”

A.A. Milne   Author, Poet, Playwright, and dyslexic



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