Dyslexia is a language-based learning disability. Dyslexia refers to a cluster of symptoms, which result in people having difficulties with specific language skills, particularly reading. Students with dyslexia usually experience difficulties with other language skills such as spelling, writing, and pronouncing words. Dyslexia affects individuals throughout their lives; however, its impact can change at different stages in a person’s life. It is referred to as a learning disability because dyslexia can make it very difficult for a student to succeed academically in the typical instructional environment, and in its more severe forms, will qualify a student for special accommodations, or extra support services either through special education or Section 504.

The exact cause of dyslexia is still not completely clear, but anatomical and brain imagery studies show differences in the way the brain of a person with dyslexia develops and functions. Moreover, most people with dyslexia have been found to have problems with identifying the separate speech sounds within a word and/or learning how letters represent those sounds, a key factor in their reading difficulties. Dyslexia is not due to either lack of intelligence or desire to learn; with appropriate teaching methods, students with dyslexia can learn successfully.

Dyslexia occurs in people of all backgrounds and intellectual levels. People with dyslexia can be very bright. They are often capable or even gifted in areas such as art, computer science, design, drama, electronics, math, mechanics, music, physics, sales, and sports.

In addition, dyslexia runs in families; parents with dyslexia are very likely to have children with dyslexia. For some people, their dyslexia is identified early in their lives, but for others, their dyslexia goes unidentified until they get older.

The impact that dyslexia has is different for each person and depends on the severity of the condition and the effectiveness of instruction or remediation. The core difficulty is with word recognition and reading fluency, spelling, and writing. Some individuals with dyslexia manage to learn early reading and spelling tasks, especially with excellent instruction, but later experience their most debilitating problems when more complex language skills are required, such as grammar, understanding textbook material, and writing essays.

People with dyslexia can also have problems with spoken language, even after they have been exposed to good language models in their homes and good language instruction in school. They may find it difficult to express themselves clearly or to fully comprehend what others mean when they speak. Such language problems are often difficult to recognize, but they can lead to major problems in school, in the workplace, and in relating to other people. The effects of dyslexia reach well beyond the classroom.

Dyslexia can also affect a person’s self-image. Students with dyslexia often end up feeling “dumb” and less capable than they actually are. After experiencing a great deal of stress due to academic problems, a student may become discouraged about continuing in school.

Before referring a student for a comprehensive evaluation, a school or district may choose to track a student’s progress with a brief screening test and identify whether the student is progressing at a “benchmark” level that predicts success in reading. If a student is below that benchmark (which is equivalent to about the 40th percentile nationally), the school may immediately deliver intensive and individualized supplemental reading instruction before determining whether the student needs a comprehensive evaluation that might lead to a designation of special education eligibility. Some students simply need more structured and systematic instruction to get back on track and may not have a learning disability..

If the need for a comprehensive evaluation is determined, a referral will be made to either Special Education or to Section 504.In either case, a comprehensive evaluation typically includes intellectual and academic achievement testing, as well as an assessment of the critical underlying language skills that are closely linked to dyslexia. These include receptive (listening) and expressive language skills, phonological skills including phonemic awareness, and also a student’s ability to rapidly name letters and numbers. A student’s ability to read lists of words in isolation, as well as words in context, should also be assessed. If a profile emerges that is characteristic of readers with dyslexia, an individualized intervention plan should be developed, which should include appropriate accommodations, such as extended time or oral reading support. The comprehensive evaluation may be conducted by trained school or outside specialists. (See the Testing and Evaluation Fact Sheet for more information.)

The problems displayed by individuals with dyslexia involve difficulties in acquiring and using written language. It is a myth that individuals with dyslexia “read backwards,” although spelling can look quite jumbled at times because students have trouble remembering letter symbols for sounds and forming memories for words. Other problems experienced by people with dyslexia include the following:

  • Learning to speak
  • Learning letters and their sounds
  • Organizing written and spoken language
  • Memorizing number facts
  • Reading quickly enough to comprehend
  • Persisting with and comprehending longer reading assignments
  • Spelling
  • Learning a foreign language
  • Correctly doing math operations

Not all students who have difficulties with these skills have dyslexia. Formal testing of reading, language, and writing skills is the only way to confirm a diagnosis of suspected dyslexia.

Dyslexia is a lifelong condition. With proper help, many people with dyslexia can learn to read and write well. Early identification and treatment is the key to helping individuals with dyslexia achieve in school and in life. Most people with dyslexia need help from a teacher, tutor, or therapist specially trained in using a multisensory, structured language approach. It is important for these individuals to be taught by a systematic and explicit method that involves several senses (hearing, seeing, touching) at the same time. In addition, students with dyslexia often need a great deal of structured practice and immediate, corrective feedback to develop automatic word recognition skills. For students with dyslexia, it is helpful if their academic therapists work closely with classroom teachers.

Schools can implement academic accommodations and modifications to help students with dyslexia succeed. For example, a student with dyslexia can be given extra time to complete tasks, help with taking notes, and access to material in audio format. Teachers can give taped tests or allow students with dyslexia to use alternative means of assessment.

Students can benefit from listening to books on tape and using text reading and word processing computer programs. Students may also need help with the emotional issues that sometimes arise as a consequence of difficulties in school.

Helpful Resources

Dyslexia TEA flyer in English

Dyslexia TEA flyer in Spanish

Programa de dislexia
para educadores y padres

Dyslexia Characteristic Map

Dyslexia Handbook

Dyslexia Support and Instruction

At Cityscape Schools, we are providing online dyslexia support from certified dyslexia therapists. All instruction meets the requirements set forth in the Dyslexia Handbook. Students who receive dyslexia instruction are typically served through special education or Section 504. 

Please direct all questions about dyslexia identification and remediation to the Special Populations Coordinator, Lisa Johnson at ljohnson@cityscapeschools.org

BP-boy-with-book

Audiobooks

For those students who qualify as a student with a reading impairment, physical impairment, or another barrier to effective reading, audiobooks are available for use at school and at home. There are several providers available for access to audiobooks. Please look at what types of books each provider offers. Some offer magazines and other periodicals in addition to fiction and non-fiction, while others provide textbooks as well. Several offer books in languages other than English.

  • Bookshare Bookshare
  • LearningAlly Learning Ally
  • Talking Book Program (TBP) TBP
  • Renaissance Renaissance

Bookshare

Bookshare makes reading easier. People with dyslexia, blindness, cerebral palsy, and other reading barriers can customize their experience to suit their learning style and find virtually any book they need for school, work, or the joy of reading.

https://www.bookshare.org/cms/

Learning Ally

Learning Ally provides students who struggle to read access to all the books they need and want to read, including curriculum-aligned textbooks and literature, popular fiction and more. With an extensive library of human-read audiobooks and a suite of educator tools and resources, we help struggling readers become engaged, independent learners.

https://learningally.org/

Talking Book Program (TBP)

The Talking Book Program (TBP) provides free library services to qualifying Texans with visual, physical, or reading disabilities. TBP is part of the National Library Service to the Blind and Print Disabled, a program administered by the Library of Congress. The TBP collection consists of more than 100,000 titles, including hundreds of titles in Spanish, and some in French, German, Russian, and other languages.

https://www.tsl.texas.gov/tbp/index.html

Renaissance

Renaissance help K12 students in reading and math practice to increase students growth and mastery.

https://www.renaissance.com/

Bookshare

Bookshare

Bookshare makes reading easier. People with dyslexia, blindness, cerebral palsy, and other reading barriers can customize their experience to suit their learning style and find virtually any book they need for school, work, or the joy of reading.

 

https://www.bookshare.org/cms/

LearningAlly

Learning Ally

Learning Ally provides students who struggle to read access to all the books they need and want to read, including curriculum-aligned textbooks and literature, popular fiction and more. With an extensive library of human-read audiobooks and a suite of educator tools and resources, we help struggling readers become engaged, independent learners.

 

https://learningally.org/

Talking Book Program (TBP)

Talking Book Program (TBP)

The Talking Book Program (TBP) provides free library services to qualifying Texans with visual, physical, or reading disabilities. TBP is part of the National Library Service to the Blind and Print Disabled, a program administered by the Library of Congress. The TBP collection consists of more than 100,000 titles, including hundreds of titles in Spanish, and some in French, German, Russian, and other languages.

 

https://www.tsl.texas.gov/tbp/index.html

Renaissance

Renaissance

Renaissance help K12 students in reading and math practice to increase students growth and mastery.

https://www.renaissance.com/

Resources for Parents and Families

Each campus in Cityscape Schools provides services to students who have been identified as having dyslexia or related disorders.  Cityscape Schools will provide instructional strategies and assessments in Spanish and English as appropriate to students identified as having dyslexia or related disorders in a special program to remediate their learning differences and provide them with opportunities to develop skills necessary to succeed on grade level.  

 

Professional development will be provided to instructional staff who provide Tier I, Tier II and Tier III instruction to students with dyslexia and related disorders. Persons who are knowledgeable about dyslexia and related disorders will serve on the MTSS/504/ARD committee to follow student progress and make recommendations for student interventions and remediation. Staff will provide literacy interventions to students that are in Tier III, Tier II, and Tier I as appropriate. Assessments will be administered to track student progress and review assessment data with all stakeholders.

Accommodation Recommendations by the Region 1 Education Service Center

  • How Dyslexic Benny Became a Star: A Story of Hope for Dyslexic Children and Their Parents by Joe Griffith (1997)
  • I Have Dyslexia. What does that mean? by Shelley Ball-Dannenberg (2009)
  • It's Called Dyslexia (Live and Learn Series) by Jennifer Moore-Mallinos (2007)
  • Knees: The mixed up world of a boy with dyslexia by Vanita Oelschlager (2012)
  • My Name is Brain Brian by Jeanne Betancourt (1995)
  • Thank You, Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco (2012)
  • The Alphabet War: A Story about Dyslexia by Diane Burton Robb and Gail Piazza (2004)
  • Movies About Dyslexia
  • Like Stars on Earth/Taare Zameen Par (2007)