Dear Literacy Voices Readers,
Interest in dyslexia has exploded in recent months across Montana. According to Youman and Mather (2018), 42 states nationwide have currently enacted dyslexia laws and in early 2019, Montana became another state with mandated legislation, requiring districts to screen all K-2 grade students across the state. Dyslexia laws are important because they often include additional dimensions of learning not included in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (Sayeski, 2019).
Our goal in this issue of Literacy Voices is to encourage a dialogic conversation about dyslexia in the state of Montana. To clarify, Wergerif assures that Dialogic education takes place through dialogue which means opening up dialogic spaces in which different perspectives can clash or play together and new learning can occur. But dialogic education is not only education through dialogue, it is also education for dialogue, meaning that as a result of dialogic education learners become better at learning together with others through dialogue. (2019, para 1).
In this issue, we explore the benefits of interactive shared reading experiences for all students. These experiences not only enrich the literacy learning environment but further scaffold learning for all students, including those that have dyslexia. As Sharpe states, “as students gain access to a wide range of challenging and complex texts, they are well positioned to become confident and successful learners.”
This issue also discusses dysgraphia, specifically focusing on difficulties that children often experience in learning to write. Stillman’s (2019) focuses both on building a collective understanding of what dysgraphia is as well as provides a framework of stages of typical writing development.
While this issue begins to address dyslexia in Montana, further dialogue and increased understanding of the research guiding legislative decisions is needed in order to truly service children with dyslexia. Our hope is that this issue ignites the fire for continued shared understanding of dyslexia and how we can best meet the needs of children’s reading across Montana.
Drs. Kari Dahle-Huff and Rachael Waller
Wegerif, R. (2019). Dialogic education. In Oxford Research Encyclopedias. Retrieved from https://oxfordre.com/education/view/10.1093/acrefore/9780190264093.001.0001/acrefore-9780190264093-e-396
Sayeski, K., (2019). Dyslexia. Teaching Exceptional Children 51 (3), 170-171.
Youman, M. & Mather, N. (2018). Dyslexia laws in the USA: A 2018 update. Perspectives on Language and Literacy 44 (2), 37-41.
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