This article was originally published on Education Post on June 12, 2020.
June 30, 2020
A'Lelia Bundles Community Scholar Debbie Meyer works with the Decoding Dyslexia NYC Chapter and is a founding member of the Dyslexia (Plus) in Public Schools Task Force, a small group of community leaders working to help students with dyslexia and related language-based disabilities thrive in their neighborhood schools. As a Bundles Scholar, she examines the intersection of dyslexia and mass incarceration, and the role of universities in changing the trajectory of struggling readers. Below is an excerpt of an article she recently wrote for Education Post about the potential benefits of remote learning for struggling readers.
While we grapple with the COVID-19 health crisis and the many social ills our country is facing, we cannot overlook the fact that one root cause of these problems is a crisis in literacy.Literacy is a widely-recognized social determinant of health. It is also a factor in economic success for both individuals and societies as a whole.
However, 66% of the nation’s 8th graders are not reading proficiently at grade level. While fortunately we no longer have racially-biased literacy tests for voting, the truth remains that struggling readers are effectively disenfranchised, as participation in our democracy requires people to read candidate position statements, ballot initiatives, voter guides and other information to be well-informed voters.
In several studies, we find nearly 50% of prisoners are functionally illiterate or non-readers due to dyslexia with poor literacy instruction and 30% more are under literate. 40% of the homeless population is illiterate due to dyslexia. Since there is no connection between dyslexia and intelligence, “elite” school segregation is a symptom of poor literacy instruction as well.