FCPS Prepares Structured Literacy Specialists; Teachers Train to Address Dyslexia

FCPS Prepares Structured Literacy Specialists; Teachers Train to Address Dyslexia

Frederick County Public Schools is a state leader in preparing reading teachers to deliver structured literacy intervention to struggling readers in every school. In the rigorous 10-month training-and-supervision practicum, the first group of 41 teachers is one exam away from national recognition as dually certified academic language and dyslexia practitioners. 

Board of Education President Brad W. Young, Vice President Joy Schaefer, and member Karen Yoho attended the recent FCPS Language Foundations Celebration to recognize the teachers’ work and acknowledge those involved in the structured literacy specialist preparation. The FCPS initiative aims to train more than 120 teachers in the Orton-Gillingham based reading-intervention methods.

Just one year into the program, teachers are reporting significant gains in their students’ reading performance: “One day we were doing a reading benchmark assessment, and one of the students crushed it! The other students in the group started cheering, and we had such a celebration! The student then looked at me and said, ‘Thank you for teaching my brain how to read. Maybe I am smart.’ That student is reading every night at home. He is the biggest cheerleader for peers, willing to do whatever it takes to reach his reading goals.”

A parent shared her child’s success story: “For the first time in his school career he is asking to go pick out books at the library. Every night he comes home from school and goes straight to his room to read. He has never done that before. Thank you so much for believing in my child!”

FCPS has upgraded and expanded reading-intervention offerings, incorporated a new evidence-based reading screener, and hired dyslexia therapists to provide the most intensive support available for students struggling to read. The school system continues to evaluate and improve the elementary language arts program.

Staff from the Atlantic Seaboard Dyslexia Education Center are helping deliver the accredited professional development and to supervise preparation of teachers for national certification. FCPS staff instrumental in program planning and delivery are Dr. Jamie Aliveto, Jennifer Bingman and Margaret Hawk.