New bill package focuses on identifying, intervening to help Michigan students with dyslexia

Posted at 3:41 PM, Oct 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-06 15:41:20-04

A bipartisan group of state senators introduced legislation aimed at improving child literacy in Michigan.

Four bills, introduced by Sens. Jeff Irwin, Dayna Polehanki, Jim Runestad and Lana Theis, address factors that currently impact literacy performance for many Michigan children.

The legislation will specifically focus on identifying and intervening to help students with dyslexia. The bills will help ensure that educators are adequately trained to understand dyslexia, to identify students early on who are struggling with learning the code and to teach the students to break the code.

“Despite the importance of literacy and the prevalence of dyslexia, Michigan has no statewide strategy to screen and treat the most common language-based learning disability in existence: dyslexia," Irwin said in a press release.

The bill package includes:

  • Senate Bill 1172, that would establish a five-member advisory committee tasked with developing a dyslexia resource guide.
  • Senate Bill 1173, that would require school districts to screen children during Kindergarten, 1st grade, 2nd grade and 3rd grade for reading difficulties using a universal screening assessment. If the assessment indicates that a child is experiencing difficulty learning to decode, the school district shall ensure that a multi-tiered system of support (MTSS) is provided.
  • Senate Bill 1174, that would require teacher preparation institutions to offer instruction on the characteristics of dyslexia, the consequences of dyslexia, evidence-based interventions and accommodations for children with dyslexia, and methods to develop a classroom infrastructure that meets the needs of students with an MTSS in place.
  • Senate Bill 1175, that would only allow new teaching certificates to be issued to individuals who have received instruction on the five areas outlined in SB 1174.