(This article was submitted by the Alabama Department of Education)
Montgomery, Ala. – October has been designated as Dyslexia Awareness Month in by the Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE). According to the Dyslexia Advisory Council (DAC), dyslexia impacts between 10 to 20 percent of students in Alabama schools. Reading, writing, and spelling are essential literacy skills for all learning in school and beyond. Students who do not develop these skills early are at risk for school failure and limited life opportunities.
In the on-going effort to prepare all students to graduate college, career, and life ready, the Alabama Reading Initiative (ARI), working collaboratively with the DAC, has established the following goals for Dyslexia Awareness Month:
- Make information available to schools, families, and communities regarding support and resources for students with dyslexia.
- Create awareness of the needs of students with dyslexia at the school, family, and community level.
- Encourage year-round engagement in events to celebrate and embrace students with dyslexia at the school, family, and community level.
In order to meet these goals, the ARI and DAC suggest a timeline of activities and events for schools, families, and communities throughout the month of October. Please consider including these activities in district, school, and community calendar and see them as opportunities to create a culture of understanding, support, encouragement, and learning for dyslexic students.
October 2-6: Dyslexia Awareness Month Kick-off Week for School and Community
- Create awareness in schools and communities in your district with “dyslexia day/night,” social media events, school casts, morning messages, etc. using #SayDyslexiaAL17, the official hashtag for Alabama’s Dyslexia Awareness Month.
- Utilize Multisensory Structured Language Education (MSLE) trained teachers, school reading specialists, coaches, partners, parents, and community experts to host mini- workshops/seminars and open house community events.
- Create awareness of resources by promoting the International Dyslexia Association-Alabama Branch (IDA-AL) and the Alabama Reading Initiative Dyslexia websites.
- Coordinate with local partners and stakeholders to develop community awareness by providing facts, resources, and support to families. Encourage groups to reach out to local experts and develop on-going partnerships to support dyslexia. Work to develop year-round communication, support, and resources for families, schools, and communities in your district.
October 9-13: “Lights, Camera, Action!” Week
Bring technology into the classroom to highlight the many ways in which students with dyslexia can express themselves and communicate by means other than writing. Encourage students to share stories with oral recounting, storytelling, and/or drama activities. Consider a “No Pencil/Pen Day” storytelling competition by utilizing technology solutions such as text to speech, audio and/or video recordings, and recording through pictures so that all students can enjoy expressing themselves.
October 15: The RSA Towers in Montgomery and Mobile will be lit “Dyslexia Red” in recognition of World Dyslexia Day. We encourage all of our schools, districts, and communities to celebrate their 1 in 5 by wearing red to bring about increased awareness of dyslexia. Visit Roundtable Solutions for more information about the #RedeemingRed campaign.
October 16-20: Show Your Support Week
Encourage teachers and students to demonstrate support and awareness for dyslexia by wearing red and offering school/class proclamations. Encourage district communication/media personnel to create public service announcements, local news articles, and district communication posts for local school Websites promoting awareness using #SayDyslexiaAL17, the official hashtag for Alabama’s Dyslexia Awareness Month.
October 23-27: “Famous Dyslexics” Week
Create school and community awareness for the many talents and gifts dyslexic students have by engaging in class projects and school-wide activities that feature famous dyslexic achievers in America and across the globe.
Please join us in promoting Dyslexia Awareness Month in your community during the month of October by supporting an environment of awareness and understanding for dyslexia in your district, schools, and communities. To learn more, contact Mrs. Karen Porter, ARI Program Coordinator by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.