Screening & Testing

Importance of Early Screening

It is time to end the dyslexia paradox!

  • Screen to identify at risk students in Kindergarten (screening is not a diagnosis).
  • Tier 1 Instruction should use a Structured Literacy Approach to teach all children the alphabetic code.
  • Screens should include: Phonemic Awareness, Phonological Awareness, and Rapid Auto Naming Skills

Testing and Evaluation

  • The article, "Testing and Evaluation" from the International Dyslexia Association website is a holistic and powerful guide on testing and evaluations to help identify dyslexic students. (Click on title to redirect to article).

  • SLD/Dyslexia Assessment Resource Guide from the CT Department of Education. Describes testing and evaluations to help identify dyslexic students. These tests help identify core deficits, so appropriate evidence-based interventions can be used for students with dyslexia.

How can districts improve their methods for identifying dyslexic students and provide an appropriate and scientifically based intervention? Hint: It starts with Tier 1 instruction!

Things to Consider

  • K-3 literacy should include structured literacy as defined by the IDA. A systematic, explicit, and multi-sensory approach to reading through the teaching of phonics in the Tier 1 setting K-3. Learn more about structured literacy programs.
  • Conduct informative PD sessions on the signs and symptoms of Dyslexia. Knowledge is power!
  • Early screening is the best predictor of students who will go on to have reading disabilities.
  • Highly trained teachers using evidence-based interventions with fidelity will lead to literacy for all.
  • Use a dyslexia symptoms checklist as part of the RTI (Response to Intervention) referral Process. RTI remediation strategies often lead to a "wait to fail" reality for dyslexic students. If teachers understood dyslexia and the symptoms, effective Tier 2 & 3 interventions can be easier to implement (intensive systematic multi-sensory intervention). If a child is placed on a Personal Literacy Plan (PLP) they should be screened for phonemic awareness and phonological weaknesses before trying any intervention! Guided reading interventions do not address the core deficit for dyslexic children.
  • Review Child's developmental history.
  • Consider family history of struggling students. Dyslexia runs in families.
  • Use the recommended diagnostic tests to identify dyslexia (Note: there is no single dyslexic test! Evaluations should include testing, classroom observations, and curriculum based class work. They all play an important part in identifying a dyslexic student).
  • Evaluations for Dyslexia should include: intelligence, oral language skills, word identification, decoding, spelling/encoding, phonological processing, automaticity/fluency skills, reading comprehension, vocabulary (reading and listening task). (Source: IDA)
  • Teachers can work with literacy interventionists and instructional coaches to meet the needs of their dyslexic students.