In response to the growing national attention around dyslexia in both the government and the media, the Literacy Research Association (LRA) has released a report entitled, “An Examination of Dyslexia Research and Instruction.” The report, authored by University of Albany professors Peter Johnston and Donna Scanlon, outlines the current state of dyslexia-related research with a view to helping policymakers and other stakeholders make better informed decisions.
Typically, the word “dyslexic” is used to describe a child who experiences substantial difficulty in achieving literacy. Some researchers have hypothesized that the root cause for such difficulty is neurological in nature and have prescribed intensive phonics instruction as the remedy.
Other experts argue that this rationale does not accurately reflect the full body of dyslexia research and believe that educating policymakers is the appropriate course of action. The LRA published their report as a means to that end.
The report concludes, among other things, that there is no uniform, diagnostically useful definition of dyslexia and that arguments in favor of intensive phonics instruction as a remedy are without merit. It closes with guidance for policymakers and other stakeholders.
“As the premiere literacy research organization, it is LRA’s responsibility to share unbiased research reviews with educational decision-makers, including policy-makers, educators, parents and advocacy groups to help them make informed decisions,” observed LRA President Gwendolyn Thompson McMillon, professor of literacy at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan.