Who will Wisconsin’s Champion be?
Our country is in the midst of a literacy crisis and we aren’t doing anything about it. A disproportionate amount of the over 50% of students who aren’t reading at grade-level are dyslexic or have another language-based learning difference. But our literacy problem touches all types of students – and stems from the improper curriculum and a lack of screening of students for phonological awareness issues.
Universal screening at the K-1st Grade level is currently being done in seven states across the country. Research clearly shows that early intervention makes it much easier and cheaper to remedy reading problems than if we are to intervene after the 2nd Grade or later.
For decades, those in power, who set the curriculum, have gravitated toward a whole language approach to teaching reading. Whole Language assumes that children will learn to read via learning whole words through context and by exposure to the written word. This approach assumes that reading like speaking is an innate skill and that all educators must do is expose children to the written manifestation of our spoken language and then young children too will become fluent and fluid readers and writers.The problem is – reading isn’t an innate skill like speaking and currently 50% of our 4th graders cannot read on grade level and most of them will never catch up. The month of October is Dyslexia awareness month and because of that today Brooke Lyn Sicignano and I launched a petition with a video calling on the Governor, Mayor, Chancellor and Legislature to fund universal screening for dyslexia for all Kindergartners and First Graders and institute curriculum changes in elementary schools to utilize multi-sensory phonics based approaches as part of a universal literacy program.
Please watch the video and sign the petition.