Helen Blitvich 0

Iowa colleges and universities must teach about dyslexia!

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Note: To be eligible to sign this petition, you must 1) Have an education degree from an Iowa college or university and 2) Have a Reading Endorsement from the State of Iowa.

To: The Iowa Board of Educational Examiners & The Iowa Department of Education

I am an educator who received my training right here in Iowa. I also hold a Reading Endorsement from the State of Iowa. Through my experience, it has become clear that my training did not prepare me to work with students with reading disabilities, such as dyslexia. In fact, I did not have a single course which explained dyslexia, its signs and symptoms as well as its strengths, and how to best help dyslexic students.

The lack of course work on dyslexia at Iowa colleges and universities is harming Iowa students. Without the knowledge of how to spot dyslexia in the classroom, teachers miss the warning signs and the crucial opportunity to intervene early, before students fail. My training also did not teach me how to provide the systematic, structured, explicit and multi-sensory instruction that students with dyslexia need. Because of this, I and other teachers like me have been forced to pursue additional training at my own expense to help these students. I am disturbed that the Iowa institution I trusted to prepare me left out such critical information.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (2009) states that dyslexia accounts for 80% of all specific learning disabilities. Because of this, and the fact that dyslexia is now recognized in the State of Iowa’s education code, I urge the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners and the Iowa Department of Education to require specific coursework on dyslexia for all teacher education candidates. Teacher preparation programs should cover how to recognize, remediate and accommodate dyslexic learners AND be aligned with the International Dyslexia Association’s Knowledge and Practice Standards for reading teachers.

Iowa students deserve our best, and Iowa colleges and universities must do better in preparing teachers to provide effective instruction for all students, including those with dyslexia!

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