Thursday, October 8, 2015

READ Act Prioritizes Investments in Dyslexia Research at NSF

The House Science, Space, and Technology Committee held a hearing on Sept. 30 to review the Research Excellence and Advancements for Dyslexia (READ) Act, H.R. 3033, which prioritizes investments in dyslexia research at the National Science Foundation. The bill calls for a line item in the annual congressional budget request to require NSF to devote at least $5 million a year to "merit-reviewed, competitively-awarded dyslexia research projects," said Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas, in opening remarks. Such research, conducted by the Research in Disabilities Education Program at NSF, would focus on the areas of early identification; professional development for teachers and administrators; and curricula development and educational tools for struggling readers.

READ Act H.R. 3033
COPAA is supportive of the bill because if this legislation actually serves its intended purpose, it will benefit and serve all struggling readers  -- including students in other disability categories, such as autism and intellectual disabilities. Indeed, the research is very clear that struggling readers across the board  -- including students not identified with disabilities, students identified with non-reading-related disabilities, English language learners, and students from impoverished backgrounds -- benefit dramatically from the sort of direct, explicit, systematic reading instruction that children who are dyslexic require. 
Too often, however, teachers are not being trained in how to provide evidenced based instruction. This bill would be a small step toward providing programs that would benefit the literacy of all students who struggle to read. 

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