Weekend Highlights

Published November 2, 2012
Our Schools

Read On: Spreading the Word about the Science of Reading

by Cheryl Murfin

Lynn Gilliland was astounded to learn that although there is solid science pointing to how to teach kids with dyslexia to read, “few educators are trained in the science of reading.”

She learned the lesson in 2006, when it was confirmed that her youngest daughter was dyslexic. In 2007, the fire to raise awareness among teachers and parents about the science of reading fueled Gilliland and several other mothers to launch Seattle-based Read On (www.readonforkids.org), an organization whose mission is to raise awareness about dyslexia, identify at–risk students at an early age, and push the state and individual school districts as well as teacher colleges to implement research-based reading education strategies.

“According to the National Council on Teacher Quality report, What Education Schools Aren’t Teaching about Reading and What Elementary Teachers Aren’t Learning, only 15 percent of schools provide teachers with a minimal exposure to the science of reading,” Gilliland points out. “We need to start at the university level teaching our educators how to help these kids.”

Although the classroom can be very harsh for a child with different learning needs, Gilliland stressed that it does not need to be. “It would be like you and I going day after day and being taught a subject in Chinese instead of our language of English, and the teacher expecting good results. However, in a classroom where the educator has the tools and knowledge to reach every child, the dyslexic is eager to learn.” 

The Seattle mother of two says Read On is emphasizing early intervention in its talks with state education leaders.

“We were very fortunate that we could provide our daughter with the outside resources she needed. In our personal experience, if we had been left to depend on our local school, they simply did not have the tools or knowledge to meet her needs. We know from research that the early years are precious for intervention. Delaying is not OK.” 

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