• Four Areas of Dyslexia Services

    Four Core Areas of Dyslexia  Screening, Support, Evaluation, Instruction

Plano ISD Dyslexia. Changing the world one phoneme at a time.
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    Vanessa Conatser
    Academic Services

  • Screening

    TEC §38.003 requires:

    • kindergarten students be screened at the end of the school year
    • first grade students screened no later than January 31.  

    Dyslexia screening is a tool for identifying students who are at risk for a reading disability; this means that the screening does not “diagnose” dyslexia. Rather, it identifies “predictor variables” that raise red flags, so parents and teachers can intervene early and effectively.  

  • Instruction

    While the components of instruction for students with dyslexia include good teaching principles for all teachers, the explicitness and intensity of the instruction, fidelity of the program, grouping formats, and training/skill of the teachers are wholly different from core classroom instruction (TEA Dyslexia Handbook, 2018).

    • Phonological awareness is the internal sound structure of words. An important aspect of instruction enables students to detect, segment, blend, and manipulate sounds in spoken language. 
    • Sound-symbol association (phonics) instruction that utilizes the letter-sound plan in which words that carry meaning are made of sounds, and the sounds are written with letters in the correct order. Students with this understanding can blend sounds associated with letters to decode words and can separate words into component sounds to spell and write effectively. 
    • Language structure encompasses syllabication (six syllable types), orthography  (written spelling patterns), morphology (the study of meaningful units of language such as prefixes, suffixes, and roots), semantics (ways that language conveys meaning), syntax (sentence structure), and pragmatics (how to use language in a  particular context). 
    • “Syllabication" must be directly taught in relation to the word structure” (Birsh,  2018. P. 26). 
    • Orthography instruction should be integrated with phonology and sound-symbol knowledge. 
    • Morphology involves learning how morphemes combine to form words. 
    • Syntax includes a set of principles that dictate sequence and function of words in a sentence such as grammar, sentence variation, and mechanics of language  (Birsh, 2018, p. 26).  
    • Reading fluency incorporates directed proficiency in reading patterns of words accurately and with meaning to support comprehension. 
    • Comprehension instruction includes extracting and constructing meaning through the interaction of the reader with the text; process-oriented instruction involves the procedures of appropriate strategies for students to utilize when meaning in text  breaks down.

    While it is necessary that students are provided instruction in the above content, it is also critical that content is delivered with consistent, research-based practices (TEA Dyslexia Handbook, 2018).

    components of dyslexia instruction graphic

  • Evaluation

    The Plano Independent School District follows the policies and procedures outlined in the Texas Education Code §38.003 (a) and assesses students “at appropriate times.”  The appropriate time depends upon multiple factors including the student’s reading performance; reading difficulties, poor response to supplemental scientifically reading instruction; teachers’ input, parent/guardians’ input.

    Evaluation Eligibility

    • the student’s exhibiting characteristics associated with dyslexia (difficulty with accurate or fluent word reading, spelling, decoding) 
    • difficulties result from deficits in phonological processing components
    • the student’s unexpected lack of appropriate academic progress
    • the student’s having adequate intelligence, the ability to learn
    • the student’s receiving conventional instruction
    • the student’s lack of progress not being due to socio-cultural factors such as language differences, inconsistent attendance, and lack of experiential background.

  • Support

    Technology Integration Plan

    The Plano ISD Technology Department has created a tech plan on their website that includes the following:

    • website decluttering
    • extensions, audiobooks
    • text to speech
    • digital annotation
    • oral administration of tests
    • dyslexia-friendly gaming tools

    Progress Monitoring  

    Specialists routinely monitor all students who are currently in the multi-sensory program. After completing the multisensory dyslexia program, campus specialists monitor progress of dyslexia students through eighth grade to ensure student achievement growth and success.  Campus academic specialists continue to conduct progress monitoring for students who are not reading on grade level instructionally and require ongoing accommodations  through high school as needed. 


    Accommodations, provided for both testing and instruction, change the way students access information and demonstrate their knowledge, skills, and abilities; they do not change academic standards or expectations. Accommodations should be matched to the individual student’s educational needs and be incorporated into classroom practice routinely before using in assessment situations (IDA, 2017). 

    Click HERE for more information about accommodations for students with disabilities.

    Types of Accommodations 

    The following are four basic types of accommodations suggested by the International Dyslexia Association to use during instruction and assessment:

    • Presentation
    • Response
    • Setting
    • Timing/Scheduling