All Ohio students grade 3 and below being tested for dyslexia next year under new law

Under a state law that goes into effect next year, schools across Ohio will administer a one-time dyslexia screening for all students in kindergarten through grade three.

After that, all kindergarten students are going to be screened each school year, as well as as transfer students who haven’t been previously screened for dyslexia. Any student between first and sixth grade can be evaluated for dyslexia at the request of a parent or teacher.

The state passed the law in 2021 but implementation was delayed a year before going into effect.

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Dyslexia is a general term for disorders that affect how a student reads and interprets sounds, letters and words.

The hope is that an emphasis on dyslexia will help address elementary school reading proficiency scores that saw a statewide drop during the pandemic.

Because of the new law, districts across Ohio are required to send their teachers through heavy training in new standards around dyslexia. The new development standards can entirely change the way the district approaches reading. It also means teachers have new standards to learn, which has been a burden for some districts.

Montgomery County Education Services Center superintendent Shannon Cox said students who aren’t proficient readers and face hurdles like dyslexia can face challenges in the rest of school, when subjects like science and history require a lot of reading. Those students may need more support than their peers to get to where they need to be, she said.

“We know we’re always going to have some kids that are just wired a different way,” Cox said. “But that shouldn’t be the norm. We should still be doing something on their behalf or for them, which is where this dyslexia law kind of came into play.”

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