AUSTIN, Texas — October is Dyslexia Awareness Month, and Round Rock ISD is making big strides to help their students with the learning disability.
According to Kimberly Berry-Corie, director of dyslexia support services at Round Rock ISD, the district is now one of two districts in the Lone Star State with an in-house, Wilson Credentialed Trainer who provides teachers with local access to training.
Dyslexia is a learning disorder where a person has problems identifying speech sounds and how they relate to letters and words. According to the Mayo Clinic, this causes difficulty with reading.
Katie Bryan, the district dyslexia specialist and Wilson in-district teacher trainer, went through three years worth of training to earn this certification.
Bryan said the program is effective because it is diagnostic and allows teachers to react to learning difficulties, as opposed to following a scripted plan.
"When a student makes an error, you are looking at that error and incorporating that skill into that next lesson plan. So, we are always reacting to how a student is performing on a day-to-day basis," Bryan said.
According to the district's press release, Wilson Reading System is used in schools and districts as an intensive intervention for students with dyslexia and other language-based learning disabilities. It is based on the Orton-Gillingham method of instruction and is accredited by the International Dyslexia Association.
“My goal is to ensure that every teacher in our district can look straight into the eyes of their students with dyslexia and say with confidence, ‘I know how to help you,’” Bryan said.
Since becoming a certified instructor, Bryan has trained 39 teachers in the three-day Wilson overview course, and another 18 are going through her year-long training to become certified in the Wilson Reading System.
In a district with more than 50,000 students and 55 schools, Berry-Corie said having more accessibility to training is important for the growth of all their students.
"Four campuses have a need right now to provide more direct dyslexia services to students," Berry-Corie said. "So rather than have to wait to bring a trainer in or wait on a service provider in another area to hold the training, we were able to say 'great, we can provide that next week.'"
The only other district in the state with a Wilson-certified in-district trainer is in El Paso, according to Berry-Corie.
The district also provides instruction in Wilson Just Words, a highly explicit multi-sensory program for students in grades four through 12, according to Maritza Gallaga, the associate director for communications and community relations.
"Wanda McMillian, a certified Just Words Facilitator, recently earned certification as a Just Words Presenter, which prepared her to provide workshops and training in this program to district colleagues. McMillan is also WRS Level I and Level II certified," the press release said.
The program said that they also target students with mild to moderate gaps in reading spelling skills.
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