As we end the 2022-2023 school year, we reflect on what we’ve accomplished in our schools. This year brings an additional task that we need to address…the implementation of the new Ohio Dyslexia Support Laws. As we embark into our new school year, I’ve decided to use this article as an opportunity to answer the most urgent needs for implementation. Please reach out with any other areas that are not covered, but are a need for your specific situation.
There are many components to the Ohio Dyslexia Law that will need to be in place for the 2023-2024 school year. Ohio’s Dyslexia Guidebook is truly a resource and guide as you navigate the expectations that this new law brings. I will be referring to it and, in some instances, providing page numbers for many of the questions. You may want to download a copy to your desktop and print a copy for reference.
What are Multidisciplinary Teams and who should be included?
Under ORC 3323.251 districts are tasked with establishing a multidisciplinary team to administer screening and intervention measures and analyze the results of the measures. This team must include trained and certified personnel and a stakeholder with expertise in the identification, intervention and remediation of dyslexia. More detailed information about what constitutes a “stakeholder” may be found on p. 18 of Ohio’s Dyslexia Guide.
What do the 4 sections of Ohio’s Dyslexia Guidebook cover?
- Best Practices in Literacy Instruction
- Methods for Screening, Intervention-Based Assessment and Progress Monitoring
- Methods for Intervention and Remediation
- Certification in Structured Literacy Instruction
What are some decision points for District/School?
- Who will serve on the multidisciplinary teams at the district/school and grade level? When will each team meet? What are the roles and functions of each team?
- How is a structured literacy approach used in the tier 1 reading program? Does the percent of students meeting reading expectations at each grade indicate the need to analyze and improve tier 1 reading instruction?
- What is the tier 2 intervention needed at each grade level?
- What is the tier 2 intervention program for each essential component of reading in each grade? What data will be used to match students to an intervention? What will be used to monitor the effectiveness of the tier 2 intervention system?
- What data and criteria will be used to decide instruction should be changed? What data and criteria will be used to decide when students need tier 3 intensive intervention?
- What data and criteria will be used to suspect a disability?
- Which K-3 staff members currently hold certification in a structured literacy program? Do additional K-3 staff need structured literacy certification? Which staff members teach those with significant reading needs and desire additional training? Which certification pathway(s) will the district recommend?
From Ohio’s Dyslexia Guide
What information should be provided to parents?
Parents should receive the results of the Tier I screener (Tier 2, also if appropriate). Materials with information about reading development, risk factors for dyslexia, descriptions for evidence-based intervention, and a written explanation of the district or school’s structured Literacy Program (if students display markers for dyslexia) should be available upon request/need. The multidisciplinary team is responsible to determine what the district/school’s Structured Literacy Program looks like.
Each district/school is responsible for determining where and how their teachers should receive training to provide Tier 1 Dyslexia instruction. By the beginning of the 2023-2024 school year, teachers (including SPED) who provide instruction for Kindergarten and Grade 1 are required to be trained to provide the Tier 1 instruction. ODE offers modules for training if your district/school chooses to take advantage of this resource. Information can be found at:
Click the above link and it will take you directly to the information.
What is the Certification Process?
There are four steps in The Structured Literacy Instruction Certification Process: Identify and Recruit Certified Educators, Identify Certification Candidates, Train-the trainer or Support External Training; and Retain Certified Educators. Each school will need to determine where in the process they are currently. Detailed information for this may be found on pages 48-49 of Ohio’s Dyslexia Guidebook.
Who needs screened?
For the 2023-2024 school year, all first graders should be screened. All kindergarteners will need to be screened after January 1, 2024, but before January 1, 2025 (yes, you have the leeway to wait until the first semester of their first grade year depending on the amount of academic instruction they’ve received to date). Schools should also be prepared to provide screening to ANY student that is referred by a parent or teacher for screening.
What should Student Services look like?
Tier 1 Dyslexia instruction should be aligned to Core Instruction. This will remove confusion and allow the student to apply what they are learning across intervention and other academic instruction. This will also assist in determining the effectiveness of the instruction. A strong Core program should ensure 80% of students are able to meet grade-level expectations.
Tier 2 Dyslexia intervention is provided in addition to Tier 1 instruction and should be provided in small groups. This intervention should be planned to meet the specific needs of the group to intervene on the specific essential component of reading.
Tier 3 Dyslexia “intensive intervention is individualized structured literacy instruction that is provided in addition to Tier 1 instruction, and in addition to or in place of Tier 2 intervention, depending on the needs of the student. This level of intervention should be provided by an educator with structured literacy instruction or under consultation of an educator with structured literacy instruction certification.” (Ohio’s Dyslexia Guidebook, p. 37) Tier 3 is not synonymous with special education.
As a reminder- In an article of this length, there is no way we could possibly address every nuance of the new Dyslexia law and its expectations. When questions arise—and they will—feel free to reach out. Although I will not have all the answers. I will do my best to track down the information that you require.
Joni Byus, Early Literacy, Accountability and School Improvement Representative
The Dyslexia Guidebook may be accessed here: Ohio’s Dyslexia Guidebook