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Reading Information: Science of Reading, Structured Literacy, Dyslexia, and General Information

Hudson City School District 

K-3 Reading Instruction, The Science of Reading, Plan for Structured Literacy, and the Dyslexia Support Legislation


What is The Science of Reading?


The National Center on Improving Literacy (link) defines the Science of Reading as a comprehensive and ever evolving body of research from multiple fields of study that informs us how children best learn to read. From this research, five critical domains for teaching reading have emerged: 


Phonemic Awareness - Identifying and manipulating spoken sounds

Phonics - Understanding how letters/groups of letters create sound relationships and spelling patterns

Fluency - Reading words, phrases, sentences, stories, etc. accurately and with adequate speed and expression.

Vocabulary - Knowing the meaning of words and how to use them correctly in context

Comprehension - Understanding what you read


*Ohio Department of Education’s Science of Reading FAQ - LINK


What The Science of Reading is NOT?


The Science of Reading is NOT:


  • an ideology or philosophy, a fad, trend, new idea, or pendulum swing 

  • a political agenda 

  • a one-size-fits-all approach 

  • a program of instruction 

  • a single, specific component of instruction, such as phonics

The Reading League- Science of Reading: Defining Guide


Why has this topic been so prominent in the media recently?


For decades, the pendulum has swung between competing philosophies of teaching reading - phonics, whole language, balanced literacy. In 2019, on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), only a third of U.S. students were proficient in reading.  Since then, increasing focus has been placed on getting the most current research out in public to drive improved instructional approaches. 


In Ohio, recent effort has been placed on identifying and supporting students with dyslexia or dyslexic characteristics. As stated in Ohio’s Dyslexia Guidebook, “The percentage of students with dyslexia ranges from 5%-17%, while the percentage of students experiencing characteristics of dyslexia is reported as high as 15%-20%.” This has led to Ohio’s most recent Dyslexia Support Law which urges the use of structured literacy instructional approaches and requires universal screening for characteristics of dyslexia. Schools are able to indicate when students are showing characteristics of Dyslexia; they are not able to make a formal diagnosis.


What is Structured Literacy?


Structured literacy is an approach to teaching reading. It is an instructional approach that is both explicit and systematic. In this approach, the teacher explicitly teaches the language structures that build both word recognition and language comprehension. Structured literacy instruction sequences and integrates core components - listening, speaking, reading, and writing - to support students in becoming skilled readers and writers. Additionally, this instructional approach includes diagnostic and cumulative assessment practices. 


Structured literacy is NOT one method, program, or curriculum. 


Structured Literacy Resource


How has the Hudson City Schools responded to the recent Ohio Dyslexia Support Law?


Ohio’s Dyslexia Guidebook - link Dyslexia Resource Guide for Families - link


Professional Development: For the 2023-2024 school year, all teachers who teach reading to students in grades K-1 must have completed a minimum of 18 hours of literacy/dyslexia training that is approved by the Ohio Department of Education (ODE). To that end, all of the kindergarten and first grade classroom, reading and special education teachers in Hudson completed the ODE approved training prior to the  start of the 2023-2024 school year. Any "new to" Hudson teacher in grades K and 1 will complete the ODE approved professional development this school year. Second and third grade classroom, reading, English Language, and special education teachers will have the ODE approved literacy/dyslexia professional development during the 2023-2024 school year. Intervention Specialists in grades 4-12 will also have the ODE approved professional development once it has been developed and released by the Ohio Department of Education. 


Dyslexia Screening: For the 2023-2024 school year, schools are required to administer a universal/tier 1 dyslexia screener to all students in grades K-3. Kindergarten students are defined from December of their Kindergarten year until January of their first grade year. We will use the tier 1 dyslexia screener assessment completed during Fall 2024 (first grade) as the dyslexia screener for students entering kindergarten in Fall 2023. Acadience Reading K-6  (Link) (Formerly DIBELS NEXT) will serve as our tier 1 dyslexia screener.


For students identified as at-risk from the tier 1 screener, interventions will be provided and progress will be monitored over a 6 week period.  Teachers at Ellsworth Hill and East Woods Intermediate will administer a tier 2 screener to students that do not show growth after 6 weeks of intervention and progress monitoring. All screening results will be communicated with parents. If a student is identified as having dyslexia tendencies, Hudson staff will provide parents with information about reading development, risk factors for dyslexia, and structured literacy instruction to be provided to their child as supplemental programming, including progress monitoring.


What if I want my student assessed for characteristics of Dyslexia in the  Hudson City Schools?


This school year (2023-2024), all students in grades K*-5 will be administered the Acadience Reading K-6 (Link) (Formerly DIBELS NEXT) assessment (Link) as our Tier 1 dyslexia screener.  Parents of students in grades K*-5 with questions about their child's fall Acadience results, please contact your child’s teacher or the school principal.


Parents of students in grade 6 wishing to have their child screened for characteristics of dyslexia, please contact the school principal.


Please note that all students who transfer into the district in grades 1-6 will be given a Tier 1 Dyslexia Screener within 30 days of enrollment.   Staff members may also request students to be screened. 


What reading instructional programs and strategies are used by all K-2 students in Hudson City Schools?


Phonemic Awareness: Heggerty (K), FUNdations (K-2) 

Phonics: FUNdations (K-2), Geodes decodable text

Fluency: Heggerty, FUNdations, Geodes decodable texts, poetry 

Vocabulary: FUNdations, Lucy Calkins Revised Units of Study, Fountas & Pinnell Classroom 

Comprehension: FUNdations, Lucy Calkins Revised Units of Study, Fountas & Pinnell Classroom (Interactive Read Aloud-IRA, Guided Reading-GR, and Shared Reading-SR) Fountas and Pinnell Classroom


All of our K-3 teachers have had extensive training in literacy instruction and all have credentials required by Ohio’s Third Grade Reading Guarantee to teach at-risk readers. We have adopted programs and added professional development to support our teachers as they teach reading, but it’s our teachers’ skill and ability to know their students' needs and how best to utilize our resources in meeting those needs.


What reading screening/diagnostic assessments are used with our K-3 students in the Hudson City Schools?


In Hudson, we use reading assessments approved by the Ohio Department of Education to meet the requirements of Ohio Third Grade Reading Guarantee and Ohio’s Dyslexia Support Law. Both our iReady Reading Diagnostic and The Acadience Reading K-6 assessment (Formerly DIBELS NEXT) are the assessments that we administer. 


Acadience Reading K-6  (Link) (Formerly DIBELS NEXT): This assessment is administered to all students in grades K-5 in the fall, winter and spring.  Acadience Reading K-6 has two tiers of screening as required by Ohio’s Dyslexia Support Law. (link)


iReady Reading Diagnostic: This assessment is administered to all students in grades 3-8 fall, winter, and spring with a few exceptions in grade 8. (link)


What reading intervention programs are used with our K-3 students in the Hudson City Schools?


We provide students in grades K-3 with supplemental reading instruction (reading intervention) when deemed necessary, based on their Acadience Reading K-6 (Formerly DIBELS NEXT) and iReady Reading Diagnostic performances - combined with the Ohio State Tests, Benchmark Assessment Link, running records, and their daily authentic work and performance in class.  Programs that currently may be used for supplemental reading instruction are listed below. A student’s identified area(s) and level of need drives the program(s) used for classroom and supplemental reading instruction. 


Leveled Literacy Intervention (LLI

May be used for Tier 2 intervention in grades 1-3 for Fluency, Vocabulary, Comprehension


Heggerty as an Intervention

May be used for Tiers 1, 2 or 3 intervention in kindergarten for phonemic awareness


FUNdations Tiered Intervention 

May be used for Tier 2 intervention in grades K-3 for Phonemic Awareness, 

Phonics, and Fluency


Wilson Reading System

May be used for Tier 3 intervention for Phonics and Fluency


How will you know if your current combination of programming and instruction is effective in promoting student growth and achievement?


In the Hudson City Schools, we use our variety of assessment data to monitor our instructional impact on student learning. We monitor our progress data regularly within our professional learning communities, during our intervention team check-ins, and at the district level. This allows us to follow each class’ growth and achievement while also analyzing the impact of our teams of teachers over time. We have been analyzing data for student growth and progress since 2012 using the iReady assessments, and since 2016 using DIBELS Next/Acadience. Finally, program specific assessments and authentic classroom formative assessments provide ongoing information that helps us evaluate our instruction and meet the needs of the students.


Who should I talk to if I have concerns or questions about my child? 


The first step should be to talk to the teacher. Every Hudson teacher is highly qualified and will know your student’s strengths and areas for growth.  Please involve the school counselor or the building principal to continue these conversations. Each school has effective intervention teams that are designed to support student learning and intervention. All parents are welcome to contact district administration to further the discussion and to support student learning. 


Where can I learn more about the Science of Reading?


The Science of Reading | Ohio Department of Education


Read-Ohio-The Science of Reading


The National Center on Improving Literacy


Where can I learn more about reading development, risk factors for dyslexia, descriptions of evidence-based interventions?


Dyslexia Resource Guide for Ohio Families