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Reading in Connecticut's Schools
Where We Live - with John Dankosky
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In this episode:

The state has taken steps to improve reading in schools, but it's also taken away funding


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52:00 minutes (24.96 MB)
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Elaine Zimmerman, Executive Director of Connecticut Commission on Children: Photo by Catie TalarskiElaine Zimmerman, Executive Director of Connecticut Commission on Children: Photo by Catie TalarskiA new plan by Connecticut education officials will require teachers to prove they know how to teach reading, as part of their certification process. The idea stems from a "reading summit" held by the education department last year.

It comes at a time when reading scores in Connecticut are stagnating.

Meanwhile, a program targeted at the state's most disadvantaged students didn't get funded in the second year of the the biennial budget leaving some 15 school districts hoping to get the program renewed.

Today we'll talk to educators about these mixed signals. What's the best way to promote literacy in schools? We'll talk about Connecticut's in-house reading research lab to learn about the science of teaching reading.

Join the conversation! Add your suggestions, questions or comments below.


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I am listening to this program with great interest since I think that one of the most fundamental components of reading is assessing the visual system. We talk about "lifting words off the page" and we need our eyes to do this for us.
A set of basic vision skills needs to be in place in order to do this and yet, we do not routinely assess the vision system as part of our intervention protocol.
Many children actually have reading problems and carry diagnoses, and they have an undiagnosed vision problem.
The analogy that I like to use is a lawnmower...if you see that the grass is not being cut, do you go out and buy new accessories or bend down and look at what the blades are doing.
The eyes are like the blades..one needs to ensure that one knows where to look to gather the information (fixation), that one can sustain the focus across a line of print (a pursuit)
that the two eyes are working well together (binocularity) or the print may blur or appear to be moving on the page.
So, before we bring in all these interventions we should be checking the children's eyes to ensure that their equipment is in good form to be able to complete the task.
I believe that we could save ourselves millions in training, resources and individual eduational programs if we assessed and addressed.
I currently work with Occupational Therapists who are working in a public school system in CT and now that they are assessing the vision system more directly and building their therapy on building these fundamental visual skills, their results are greater and quicker.

Why is vision so totally overlooked?

Sharon Mann
Vision Educator
Connecticut Representative for
"Reading Plus"
an on-;line Silent reading fluency development program

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Schools already have resident experts in language-based communication disorders. What you have been saying is known to me and all other Speech-language pathologists.
I have not heard anyone mention the role of the SLP in the plan to improve reading teaching.
Unfortunately, school SLPs already have a very full plate. The cause of reading will be well served by training more SLPs and providing incentives to get them into schools.
May is Better Hearing and Speech Month. Find out what a Speech-language pathologist can do for you.

Dr. Joel Etra, SLP.D
Speech-Language Pathologist

Reading issue

Dr. Etra,
I agree that SLPs are an under-utilized resource in our schools. We frequently partner with these language experts and welcome their involvement in our teacher-training efforts. Thanks for making an important point!