EarlyBird Education recently had the opportunity to learn more about systems-based leadership using implementation science in a Lunch and Lead webinar with Ms. Van Fossan, the Superintendent of Sto-Rox School District. The district, located near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, faces severe financial and operational challenges which led to the implementation of a Pennsylvania Department of Education mandated financial recovery plan.
Reading specialists, rightfully so, want it all when it comes to a dyslexia screener. Your team wants an evidence-based, easy to administer, reliable, tool that leads to action; not confusion for teachers. The core tension: over-assessing kids is a quick way to make them fall out of love with learning BUT taking assessment shortcuts could lead to instructional blind spots or a child being overlooked.
We talk to a lot of literacy specialists everyday around the country. Though each local community has its own context and needs; we are noticing the proliferation of an unwieldy presence on many of these educators’ desktops: the crazy spreadsheet. These spreadsheets are filled with multiple tabs, student IDs, year over year cohort comparisons, pivot tables, abbreviations for subtests and broader diagnostic assessments that can be confusing to understand on their own, let alone alongside one another. Sound familiar?
It is estimated that 15-20 percent of the population experiences challenges with reading. This translates to one in five children who may be affected by reading difficulties such as dyslexia and in need of identification and support. As parents, we all want to ensure our children are poised for success in the classroom. How can we know what is developmentally appropriate for our children as early readers and what might actually be a sign pointing to a learning obstacle?
At EarlyBird Education, we use the latest science-based technology to assess our preschool students through game play. This allows us to pinpoint key literacy milestones that are most predictive of later reading success before the child learns how to read.
Kindergarten teachers are Brain Engineers. Yes, it’s true. Cognitive research has proven that in order to turn a pre-reading brain into a literate brain, neural pathways must be formed to connect specific areas of the brain. Let’s think like an engineer and follow the blueprint with these three easy steps.
With remote learning behind us, classroom teachers are still feeling the effects of learning loss. Skill deficits are real and teachers are being asked to teach at instructional levels that are below their normal grade level. EarlyBird assessment offers teachers proven tools to identify skill deficits, as well as the materials needed for targeted intervention. With EarlyBird, teachers can look at individual student scores, adjusting instruction for either whole or small groups to help close the gap from the COVID learning loss.
What if there was a way to reduce special education referrals while improving district reading scores? Or proactively identify the students who are at risk for dyslexia? Or provide instructional support for those students during the most effective intervention window? EarlyBird helps educators reduce special education referrals and improve district reading scores through early literacy screening and detection.
Rapid Automatized Naming (RAN) is the ability to quickly and accurately name objects, pictures, colors, letters or numbers. Measures of RAN offer an inside look at how well a student can retrieve stored data, which can help predict later reading fluency. The predictive quality leads some to think of RAN scores as a direct measure of reading abilities. This is not always the case.
To address the national reading crisis, as well as identify students at risk for dyslexia, the National Reading Panel identified the most effective components in teaching children to read: phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension. Performance in each component is key to a student’s future literacy. Without a comprehensive assessment, teachers often miss deficits, which can lead to students not receiving the help they need.
Without a comprehensive approach to screening for foundational literacy skills, students often get overlooked — until until second grade, or sometimes even later. More complex texts mean they can no longer rely on memorizing words and picture clues. Deficits in decoding begin to surface. We frequently hear teachers say, “How did you get this far without knowing how to read?”
Thirty-nine states now mandate screening for dyslexia. However, finding an appropriate early literacy assessment to screen pre-readers for reading difficulties can be very challenging, and many are not able to screen effectively and provide educators with the data needed to drive instruction. There are a number of factors to consider when evaluating tools for dyslexia and early literacy screening.
The dyslexia paradox is the discrepancy between when we currently diagnose dyslexia and the time research indicates is the most optimal window for early reading intervention. So currently we are diagnosing kids after repeated failure — so we also call it the “wait to fail paradox” or “wait to fail approach” — which is usually at the end of second grade at the earliest, maybe beginning of third grade.
Whether it’s a word problem in math or a vocabulary assignment, reading is the glue that holds the entire educational process together. Yet it’s estimated that up to 20 percent of students have dyslexia or another language-based learning disability that makes decoding letters on a page challenging.
A research team at Boston Children’s Hospital is preparing to release an app that could help identify students at risk for reading disabilities early, putting them on a pathway to reaching their full reading potential, rather than languishing for years without proper support.
Most public schools in Massachusetts don’t screen students for dyslexia. Instead, they wait for students to show signs of trouble with reading and writing. It forces some parents to choose expensive private schools to help their children.