You Asked! – Question 27

Is your school teaching phonics effectively? This month the International Literacy Association (ILA) issued a brief on “Meeting the Challenges of Early Literacy Phonics Instruction” stating the need for systematic and explicit instruction in phonics as one critical component in overall reading instruction. While all students benefit from systematic and explicit instruction in phonics, students with dyslexia likely won’t achieve literacy without it.

ILA is a large organization with over 300,000 members and its most recent position on the phonics debate most closely aligns with the CA Education Code, the CA Dyslexia Guidelines and the International Dyslexia Association’s definition of Structured Literacy (with respect to phonics instruction). As more and more organizations are in agreement on the most effective way to teach phonics, we must determine if our schools are adhering to these practices.  Sadly, many “balanced literacy” programs used in our California classrooms do not teach systematic and explicit phonics that will benefit all students, particularly our students with dyslexia.

To learn more, please read our latest “You Asked Q27

In Defense of the Truth: A Reply to 57 Reading Voices on the Issue of Dyslexia, by Dr. Dykstra

Dyslexia is real and relevant.  Thanks to Steven P. Dykstra, PhD for providing the following guidance to the Decoding Dyslexia State Chapters.Decoding Dyslexia CA

You may or may not be aware of a letter from 57 backers of balanced literacy sent to officials of the Public Broadcasting System, taking issue with the way PBS covered “What Parents of Dyslexic Children are Teaching Schools about Literacy”.  The letter is now in wide distribution and is being promoted by Reading Recovery as well as the ILA and its state organizations.  If it hasn’t come to your state or been sent to your legislators, it will be.  

Attached you will find a well-written, point-by-point response from Dr. Steven P. Dykstra, including the letter to PBS and other documents.  Please share this widely so we can dispel some of the erroneous information surrounding dyslexia that is being circulated.