Dyslexia Early Literacy

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Dyslexia and Early Literacy FAQ

Early Literacy Screener

Do you anticipate the screening will happen in person?

If Seattle School District is back to in-person instruction, the screening will be done in-person. If students are in remote learning due to COVID, a plan will need to be developed to prioritize screening students in grades 1 and 2 in the fall.

How is this being funded? Is it equal through SPS?

The tool will be available to all students in K-2 who will participate in screening. The screening tool is being funded by the Learning Assistance Program (LAP).

Will this program start at all elementary schools in SPS next year or only a select few?

The early literacy screening will take place at all elementary and K-8 schools. 

By state law, all districts in the state of Washington will implement an early literacy screener starting in the 2021-22 school year.

What time in the school year will the screener be given?

  • Students in kindergarten will be screened in the winter.
  • 1st and 2nd-grade students will be screened in the fall.

Seattle Public Schools will refer to the recommended Grade Band and Literacy Skills Screening Tools Timeline Matrix developed by OSPI.

Has SPS chosen a screener yet? If not, what is being considered?

Seattle Public Schools has chosen a screener. Once the contract has been finalized, the screener chosen will be shared with schools. The tools that were considered were all tools that were recommended by OSPI.

English Learners

Will English language learners be screened?

Only students that have acquired enough English language measured by the state’s language screener/assessment will take the Early Literacy Screener.  

All 2nd graders receiving English Language services who have not taken the Early Literacy screener will take the screener in the spring of 2nd grade.

Special Education

What if a child already has a diagnosis but has been denied an IEP? Does the Tiered system then provide the help needed?

Yes, the multi-tiered systems of support (MTSS) at school will provide the needed help. This intervention can be used as data if the student does not make adequate progress.  For students to qualify for special education services, they need to have a disability, and it needs to have an adverse impact.

If the school psychologist and team determine there is no adverse impact, the student’s reading level and challenges will be considered to develop a tiered support plan, to meet their needs.

The literacy screener does not provide the basis for an Individualized Education Plan (IEP)? Why?

This is a screener to identify the need for additional foundational reading supports. The screening is not a tool for evaluating students for Special Education services.  Multiple tiers of support will be provided to students to increase their foundational reading skills. If the student does not respond to interventions, the school team will monitor and make recommendations.

The dyslexia screener could/should be used as data for a student’s evaluation for special education, just as progress monitoring data is used, but it cannot be used as the determining factor.

Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS)

What will the intervention be for students who fall below benchmarks, and if there are not K-2 reading interventionists in the building, how can we expect classroom teachers to implement those supports in addition to the Being a Reader (BaR) reading groups that do not support students with needs as they connect to supporting students with dyslexia?

In Spring 2021, all K-2 teachers received professional development in brain research and instructional best practices for early readers. The training supports teachers’ understanding of the screener’s purpose and design and respond to the screener data through classroom instruction.

Some students will receive differentiated supports through their classroom teacher, and others may receive additional supports from the reading specialist/interventionist.

Will interventions be rooted in the science of reading? Can changes be made to the general education classroom curriculum to follow Science of Reading best practices, including explicit phonics instruction, to give kids every advantage before they fall behind?

The English language arts curriculum for Seattle Public Schools, adopted in 2017, responds to the Science of Reading pedagogy for foundational skills in reading. SIPPS (Systematic Instruction in Phonological Awareness, Phonics, and Sight Words) is our reading intervention curriculum that aligns with the core curriculum but provides additional supports in phonological awareness, phonics, sight words, and fluency.