Evidence-based literary instruction critical for students with Dyslexia

Dyslexia stream within Special Needs Symposium at National Education Summit in Brisbane to highlight need for skilled teachers to deliver structured literacy for all

Teachers must identify and intervene early on entry to school for students with dyslexia to achieve success, and structured literacy instruction must be provided by teachers with the knowledge and skills to be able to deliver an evidence-based approach to ALL students, according to Bentleigh West Primary School Acting Assistant Principal Sarah Asome.

“In order for the students to achieve success they need to be delivered quality Tier 1 structured literacy instruction including the ‘Big 5’ and evidence-based interventions (tier 2 or 3) delivered with fidelity. These need to be provided by the teachers with the highest level of skills,” Asome said.

She describes the five keys to teaching reading, writing and spelling as oral language, phonics, vocabulary, comprehension and fluency, with a simple phonic screening check being a vital component of any program containing the ‘Big 5’.

Winner of the 2015 Victorian Outstanding Teacher Award, Asome will present within the Special Needs Symposium at the National Education Summit when it opens in Brisbane for the first time at the end of May.

Alongside Felicity Harpley from Personal Best Performance, Asome’s presentation ‘Step into their shoes – Early and evidence based intervention for dyslexia’ will sit in the dedicated dyslexia stream on Friday 31 May.

The pair cite teacher knowledge as the biggest barrier when considering the impact of dyslexia in the classroom, and say that many experienced teachers and those newly qualified do not have the necessary skills and knowledge required in order to teach students with dyslexia effectively. They say the best approach for all students, based on the scientific research on how the brain learns to read, is an evidence-based approach delivered by teachers with the knowledge and skills to be able to deliver this to all students, including those with dyslexia.

“One of the most exciting developments in this space is that we are seeing more and more high-quality professional development offered, including recent free webinars from the Victorian Department of Education and Training by Dr. Tanya Serry and developed in conjunction with Dr. Lorraine Hammond (Edith Cowan University WA), Prof. Pam Snow, Ms Emina McLean and Assistant Professor Jane McCormack from La Trobe University,” Asome

Affecting between 10 and 20 per cent of the population, dyslexia was a word rarely heard in Australia not all that long ago. Asane says this groundswell of awareness is another exciting development.

“Parent advocates have led the way here forming the Code Read Dyslexia Network, advocating for change. Bentleigh West Primary School is a lighthouse school in Victoria implementing best practice for all students through Explicit Direct Instruction (EDI) and a fantastic Response To Intervention (RTI) model using Orton-Gillingham (OG) or Multisensory Structured Language (MSL).”

The National Education Summit’s first Brisbane event will bring a comprehensive professional development program to local teachers, school leaders and principals on Friday 31 May and Saturday 1 June 2019.

Held at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, the Summit offers a full two-day program of innovative, informative and inspiring PD opportunities for educators in the region.

Academics and leading educators will present a range of concurrent sessions and workshop events across four conferences at the Summit: Special Needs Symposium, Digital Classroom Conference, Creativity and Innovation in Learning Conference, Capacity Building School Libraries Conference as well as a free seminar series.

Register at nationaleducationsummit.com.au