I am writing in response to the editorial on Friday regarding expanding readers in Louisiana. This issue is important because reading is part of the foundation to reaching one’s full potential in life. We know from Louisiana’s NAEP (nation’s report card) scores in reading in the fourth and eighth grade that too many of our children are reading below basic. Many of those children have never been identified as dyslexic and have not been given the evidence-based reading program they need. We also know that 48 percent of our incarcerated prisoners are dyslexic and most were never identified as dyslexic.
Dyslexia is defined as a difficulty in matching the sounds of the alphabet with the spoken word and usually presents as a difficulty in learning to read in a person expected to be a much better reader. Science has taught us much about dyslexia during the past decade, but various laws have not allowed our educational delivery to stay current with science. This disconnect results in the data outlined in the first paragraph along with the real consequences of a society where many of the 1 in 5 children with dyslexia are neither identified nor taught to read.
Louisiana Key Academy is a public charter school that serves children in Baton Rouge and the surrounding areas and is in its third year dedicated to identifying and educating these children. We also hope to help the community understand dyslexia, which comprises 80 percent of learning disabilities, as well as offer solutions to parents, teachers and schools.
Laura Cassidy, M.D.
Louisiana Key Academy board chair