West River Student Services granted $50,000 for dyslexia identification
Three school organizations have been awarded almost $230,000 in grants to explore the best ways to identify and serve young North Dakota students who have dyslexia. The groups represent 19 school districts.
Dyslexia affects parts of the brain that process and interpret language. It influences a person’s ability to speak, read and spell. Experts say early recognition of dyslexia is important to help students adjust and live up to their potential as adults.
Earlier this year, the North Dakota Legislature set aside up to $250,000 to provide grants for school districts to conduct dyslexia screening programs. State Superintendent Kirsten Baesler announced grants to the Kindred Consortium ($92,010), the Grand Forks school district ($87,390), and West River Student Services of Dickinson ($50,000).
“Research indicates that as many as one in five students have dyslexia, and it is important that we identify who they are early in their young lives,” Baesler said. “With the right supports, students with dyslexia can adjust and thrive.
“It is important to note that although dyslexia affects a person’s ability to read, there is no link between dyslexia and general intelligence,” Baesler said. “Individuals with dyslexia are often creative and quick thinkers with strong reasoning skills.”
Each of the three organizations that are receiving grants will be establishing early screenings for students under age 7, as well as providing reading assistance and regular progress monitoring for students who are found to have dyslexia.
They will report annually to Baesler about the results of their programs. The superintendent is required to brief the Legislature about the projects’ effectiveness by July 2021.
“Our school districts will be testing out and determining which procedures and instructional practices, and which screening procedures, are best and most suitable for our students in North Dakota,” Baesler said.
The Kindred Consortium is made up of the Kindred, Northern Cass, Lisbon and Enderlin school districts, the Rural Cass and South Valley special education units, and the South East Education Cooperative, which is based in Fargo. West River Student Services is a special education unit that serves 14 rural school districts in southwestern North Dakota.