Keith Ripp and other Madison-area parents have spent thousands of dollars to test and tutor their children for dyslexia. They think this is something Wisconsin school districts should more aggressively pursue.
But Ripp has a better-than-average ability to do something about it. A Republican state assemblyman from Lodi, he has authored a bill to require that schools perform dyslexia screening on pupils in kindergarten through second grade, as well as those from grades three to five who score low on reading tests.
Another Ripp bill would require the Department of Public Instruction to ensure that reading specialists, special education teachers and elementary school reading instructors are trained and tested in dyslexic instruction techniques.
“My youngest son, who is 13, has severe dyslexia,” says Ripp. “My wife and I knew something was going on before second grade. We hired tutors. We tried to work with the school system to come up with something. We had his hearing and eyesight checked. He was very intelligent but was struggling a lot with reading.”
The couple paid for the testing on their own, as well as some tutoring, at an estimated cost of about $8,000.