Welcome to Friends of the
Pennsylvania Dyslexia and Early Literacy Intervention Pilot Program website!
This website is sponsored and maintained by the Literacy Coalition and is NOT the official site for the pilot program. You can find the official Pennsylvania Department of Education page devoted to the Pilot program here.
In these pages, supporters wanted to share the story of the pilot, news articles, and provide resources used in the implementation of the pilot program.
We hope you will find this site informative, and please feel free to contact us if you have any questions.
Thank you for your interest in the Pennsylvania Dyslexia and Early Literacy Intervention Pilot Program!
What is the Dyslexia and Early Literacy Intervention Pilot Program?
In June 2013 Rep. Ed Neilson(D) from Philadelphia introduced HB 198 the Dyslexia and Early Literacy Intervention Pilot Program. With the support of parents and educators, the pilot was signed into law in June of 2014. The Department of Education, Bureau of Special Education oversaw the implementation of the pilot. The original bill called for 3 school districts for 3 years. An additional five school districts were added for a total of eight districts. Each participating district had a parent liaison. The Bureau of Special Education created an Advisory Committee that included several of the parents that worked for the passage of the legislation, educators and researchers. Implementation began meeting in July of 2014.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE BILL
As required by legislation (PA Act 69, 2014):
- The program will operate in at least 3 school districts for 3 full school years. Participating districts must provide full-day kindergarten.
- All Kindergarten students in participating districts will be screened for risk factors associated with future reading difficulties.
- The program will provide a tiered support system, using evidence-based intervention services for students with risk factors for early reading difficulties and dyslexia, such as low phonemic awareness, low letter and symbol naming and inability to remember sequences.
- Teachers and other support personnel will be trained to use multi-sensory structured language programs as part of regular classroom instruction for students scoring below the benchmark and will provide timely targeted instruction and strategic re-teaching and intensive intervention in identified areas.
- Following implementation and evaluation, the state Secretary of Education will submit an evaluation of the pilot program to the General Assembly, with recommendations to continue, expand or make changes to the program.
- The Pennsylvania Department of Education would also determine whether programs of this type have the potential to reduce future special education costs in the state.
As implemented (2015-2018):
- The program operated in 8 school districts for three full school years (2015-16, 2016-17, 2017-18), all of which provided full-day kindergarten. In combination, these districts served more than 1500 kindergarten students each year.
- In each year of the program, incoming kindergarten students were screened for risk of reading difficulties using a standard assessment tool.
- The program provided a tiered support system for all students, using evidence based multi-sensory instructional programs targeting phonemic awareness and systematic synthetic phonics in grades K through 2.
- Teachers and other support personnel were trained to use multi-sensory structured language programs as part of regular classroom instruction, in combination with additional small-group instruction for students identified as being at risk of reading difficulties.
- After each year of the project, AIR (https://www.air.org) provided an annual report of the project's progress. The year 2 annual report can be downloaded here: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED582923 . The final report, of the project has not yet been made available to the public (as of April, 2019).