Finding Children with Dyslexia in a Sea of Struggling Readers: The Struggles are Real

Tim Odegard

As a result, a push to transform reading instruction is underway in classrooms across the nation. A transformation motivated by an honest acknowledgment of reality – most children in the United States struggle to read. These struggles are not the exception reserved for the minority of kids with a disability – such as dyslexia. No, they are the status quo. And sadly, this has been the case for decades. Sure, we can quibble over tests used to make this claim. But at the end of the day, multiple data sources indicate that most students in the nation struggle to read words strung together into text passages and answer questions about what they read. This is a fundamental problem and one that is largely preventable. Yet, we have not found the collective will to prevent this calamity that breaks parents’ hearts, teachers’ backs and causes untold suffering for children.

To be clear, the reality facing parents as they painfully watch their children struggling to read has not gone unseen. Their pleas for help are palpable, and the desperation of parents in the U.S. has led to laws being passed across the nation in an attempt to help their children. As a result, almost every state in the U.S. now has some form of legislation specifically addressing the needs of students with dyslexia – a trend that alarmed me from the start. I am leery of such laws. However, I am not a skeptic who does not “believe” the overwhelming science indicating that a minority of students have extreme difficulties learning to read and spell. The science in this regard is vast and compelling.

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.