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Literacy Network

Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) Directed Initiatives
Dyslexia Advisors

Divisions who employ reading specialists will have advisors that support conversations around literacy and dyslexia within the division. The Dyslexia Advisors in Regions Two and Three meet quarterly to discuss topics related to dyslexia and reading instruction.

The Code of Virginia § 22.1-253.13:2(G) (Standard Two of the Standards of Quality) requires,

One reading specialist employed by each local school board that employs a reading specialist shall have training in the identification of and the appropriate interventions, accommodations, and teaching techniques for students with dyslexia or a related disorder and shall serve as an advisor on dyslexia and related disorders. Such reading specialist shall have an understanding of the definition of dyslexia and a working knowledge of (i) techniques to help a student on the continuum of skills with dyslexia; (ii) dyslexia characteristics that may manifest at different ages and grade levels; (iii) the basic foundation of the keys to reading, including multisensory, explicit, systemic, and structured reading instruction; and (iv) appropriate interventions, accommodations, and assistive technology supports for students with dyslexia.

Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling (LETRS)

LETRS is professional development for teachers and administrators that explains the why of literacy instruction according to the most recent research around those constructs.

The Strategic Instruction Model™ (SIM)

The Strategic Instruction Model™ is an integrated model of research-validated practices that addresses the needs of diverse learners, primarily adolescents, through the use of Content Enhancement Routines and Learning Strategies.  In 2015, the What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) identified the SIM™ Learning Strategies as having  potentially positive effects on reading achievement according to their research review process.  (Link to the WWC report)

Multisensory Structured Language Intervention Initiative (MSLI) with the Orton-Gillingham Methodology

The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) provides training to address the needs of students struggling with the foundational skills of reading. The VDOE training through the MSLI initiative consists of 30+ hours of professional development and participants are trained to implement this structured, direct reading instruction using the Orton-Gillingham approach. It is designed to address the needs of struggling readers who have difficulty with reading, spelling, and writing including those with a specific learning disability such as dyslexia.

T/TAC W&M Directed Initiatives

T/TAC W&M provides professional development to teachers, school level administrators, division-level stakeholders, and parents that supports students with disabilities through explicit systematic literacy instruction (Berninger & Swanson, 2014), or structured literacy.  Structured literacy promotes the use of explicit instruction in all five areas of reading as identified by the National Reading Panel – phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension. 

TTAC W&M specialists provide on-going professional development and support via training sessions and courses, coaching, book studies (synchronous and asynchronous), and communities of practice that support the VDOE and T/TAC W&M initiatives (i.e., MSLI, LETRS, and SIM™).

If you have questions regarding reading concerns, contact the following specialists:

Reading Specialists: Elizabeth Auguste, LaShauna BrittCathy Buyrn, Donni Davis-Perry, Shelley LittletonChristine Peterson, and Mary Stowe

Berninger, V. W., & Swanson, H. L. (2014). Diagnosing and treating specific learning disabilities in reference to the   brain’s working memory system.  In H. L. Swanson, K. R. Harris, & S. Graham (Eds.), Handbook of learning disabilities (2nd ed.) (pp. 307-325) The Guilford Press.