© 2019 Dyslexia and Literacy Network

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The Dyslexia and Literacy Network is a 501c4 Nonprofit. Contributions support our effective, volunteer-based advocacy and lobbying efforts and are not tax-deductible.

Dyslexia Awareness Day 2019


Meet Ann Marie Detavernier! (part 1) 

3rd in our video series


Meet Aidan McKee!

2nd in our video series #mydyslexiastory 

Meet Jessica McKee! 

The 1st in our video series #mydyslexiastory  

Get involved!


Action Alert Chapter 49 Background



The State Board of Education plays a crucial role in promulgating the regulations that govern Pennsylvania’s educational policies and program standards.  Currently, the State Board is updating and holding hearings on Chapter 49 Certification of Professional Personnel.  These regulations and guidelines provide the Department of Education, Bureau of Higher & Career Education with a framework for teacher certification, which dictates how Pennsylvania colleges of education prepare classroom teachers.


The reading education requirements in Chapter 49 have not been implemented in a consistent and focused manner. Instead the state has allowed future teachers to take courses which may touch on key reading issues, but not focus on them specifically. This needs to change, if Pennsylvania reading education is going to be improved. 


In September 2018 the Learning Policy Institute report prepared for the PA Department of Education had the following recommendations:


Recommendation #1: Improve Clinical Training Improve and extend clinical training experiences so that teachers practice and refine clinical skills by demonstrating improved results for student reading performance.


Recommendation #2: Refine Preparation Standards Refine preparation program standards so that teachers do not come out of programs without the knowledge and clinical skills to improve reading results.


Recommendation #3: Address Shortages Address teacher shortages in specific content areas and geographic locations so that teachers have the skills to implement reading science.


Recommendation #4: Revise Testing Requirements so that the knowledge of reading science is addressed.


Recommendation #5: Use Data to Guide Improvement so that student reading proficiency has improved in the state assessment.


Recommendation #6: Support Beginning Teacher Induction so that results in reading performance are addressed.


**Examining Educator Certification in Pennsylvania: Research and Recommendations for Chapter 49



Therefore, DLN will be asking for the following changes to Chapter 49:


Pre-service teacher programs: Require 9 hours of course work that cannot be relaxed or combined into general competencies

  • Two 3-credit hour courses: one focused on k-2 and the other focused on grades 3-4, that stand alone, in scientifically-researched and evidence-based reading instructional strategies that improve reading performance for all students, including in the use of explicit, systematic, and sequential approaches to reading instruction, developing phonemic awareness, and implementing multisensory/structured literacy intervention strategies.

  • One, 3-credit courses in the assessment of reading skills in children K through grade 6 based on evidenced based screening and assessment procedures in the area of literacy to include: oral language development, phonemic awareness, phonics-word study, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. 


In-service teacher programs: Require 2 college credits or equivalent in-service hours

  • Minimum of two college credits or the equivalent in-service hours in the use of explicit, systematic, and sequential approaches to reading instruction, developing phonemic awareness, and implementing multisensory intervention/structured literacy strategies is required for renewal of a professional certificate in any area of certification that includes reading instruction or intervention for any students in kindergarten through grade 6, including elementary, middle, special education, and ESL teachers, speech/language clinicians/pathologists, reading specialist and reading coach with a beginning validity date of July 1, 2020, or thereafter.  Such training may be provided by teacher preparation programs or Act 48 approved providers as part of the professional development plan.


Please join us and testify or submit testimony in support of this effort to provide better training for our teachers!  The teachers and students deserve better!


The final hearing is June 14, 2019, 10am to 12:30pm

Allegheny Intermediate Unit #3

Sullivan Room 475 E. Waterfront Drive, Homestead, PA 15120. 


If you want to testify:  You must register by calling or emailing the State Board.   

Email: ra-stateboardofed@pa.gov. Phone: (717) 787-3787 Monday-Friday 8:30am- 4:00pm 

Registration deadline is June 11 by noon. 


You must submit via email your name, affiliation, phone number, email address, and the date and location of the hearing in which you would like to participate. Those registered to testify must provide 25 copies of their written testimony at the hearing.


Can’t make the hearing submit your written testimony directly to the Board on or before June 14, 2019 & send to: State Board of Education, 333 Market Street, 1st Floor, Harrisburg, PA 17126 Or email to:  ra-stateboardofed@pa.gov

Reading: A Case for Change


“Current difficulties in reading largely originate from rising demands for literacy, not from declining absolute levels of literacy. In a technological society, the demands for higher literacy are ever increasing, creating more grievous consequences for those who fall short.”

Preventing Reading Difficulties in Young Children, Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education  1998


  • Fourth grade is important:  Until the end of third grade, most children are learning to read.  Beginning in fourth grade however they are reading to learn.*


  • Three quarters of the student who are poor readers in third grade will remain poor reader in high school according to researchers at Yale University. *

PSSA English Language Arts Results 2017 


4th Grade
8th Grade
Below Basic
Total Basic & Below
Total Proficient
& Advanced



It is not just about poverty: A large proportion of all 4th graders who take the NEAP reading test fail to reach proficient level, including 55% of all students from moderate to high income families regardless of race or ethnicity. *

Close 60% of Pennsylvania 4th graders scored at Basic or Below Basic in Reading on the 2017 NEAP (National Assessment of Educational Progress). 


*Anne B Casey Foundation Report of Early Warning! Why Reading by the End of Third Grade Matters. 2010


Scoring Below Basic/Basic on the PSSA means a student failed.



Scientific Research: How we learn to read

“Mark Seidenberg cites over and over again is this: The way kids are taught to read in school is disconnected from the latest research, namely how language and speech actually develop in a child's brain.”



Scientific Research: The link between hearing and reading

Researchers discovered that in children who could not read (dyslexics) the phonological system in language, that is, the ability to hear--to discriminate the smallest sounds called phonemes in words--is a fundamental necessity in learning to read and that the inability to hear is a fundamental source of why some children can’t learn to read.   

Maryanne Wolf, Children of the Code:  https://childrenofthecode.org/interviews/wolf.htm

Scarborough, H. S. (2001). Connecting early language and literacy to later reading (dis)abilities: Evidence, theory, and practice. In S. Neuman & D. Dickinson (Eds.), Handbook for research in early literacy (pp. 97–110) . New York, NY: Guilford Press