Front-loading funding for early reading interventions can pay off in the long run
- In a recent webinar, Terrie Noland, the national director of educator engagement for Learning Ally, advocated front-loading funding to improve early reading skills and shrink the learning gap at an earlier age, eSchool News reports.
- Schools especially need to invest in early identification of and intervention services for dyslexia including, teacher training in a multi-sensory approach, frequent assessments and progress reports, and assistive technology as these could help mitigate the later hidden costs of increased counseling and special education services for older students and the financial impact of undereducated adults who have to rely on social services, she says.
- Schools can also implement other low-cost strategies for students with learning challenges such as allowing students with reading difficulties to record lectures, type answers, use scratch paper, or hear test questions read to them aloud.
Education leaders are placing more stress than ever on the need to develop strong literacy skills in students at an early age. The Campaign for Grade Level Reading cites research that reading proficiency by 3rd grade is the greatest predictor of high school graduation and career success. However, many students miss this important milestone. Some of these students would fare better with early interventions such as universal screenings for dyslexia and specialized teacher training to aid in the recognition of reading challenges.
The need for training for general education teachers may become even more necessary as special education teachers are becoming harder to find. Some states, such as Indiana, now require teachers to be trained in recognizing dyslexia. School leaders also need to be aware of the growing number of assistive devices available to help with these issues. Technology is advancing in ways that can help with some of these issues and schools need to stay current with what is available. The future cost of failure may be greater than the expense.