Hear it, feel it, READ IT

New Curriculum results in improvements
The Republic, Monday, November 23, 2015

It was a leap of faith, but in the end it was a success.

After working with his own son to overcome his struggles with dyslexia, Brian Mormino, executive director of environmental strategy and compliance for Cummins, Inc., collaborated with local education leaders to implement a new kindergarten reading curriculum known as Read by 3 in the Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp.

Read by 3 is a multi-sensory, explicit teaching method that aims to ensure all students are reading on grade level by third grade, when students take the statewide IREAD-3 assessment.


Camp Delafield is coming back to Columbus in 2017!

Date: June 5 – June 30, Monday – Friday,

Time: 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Location: Columbus Youth Camp (CYC)

12454 W Youth Camp Rd, Columbus, IN 47201

*Drop off between 7:30-8:00 a.m. at CYC; pick up at Noon at CYC.

For more information, please visit our events page   or Information: call 317-222-6635 or http://diin.org/how-we-help-you/camp-delafield-columbus/

$20,000 grant available to offset cost of camp for dyslexic youth

The Republic, Matthew Kent, 3/17/2017

Link: http://www.therepublic.com/2017/03/18/20000_grant_available_to_offset_cost_of_camp_for_dyslexic_youth/

The Dyslexia Institute of Indiana will use a $20,000 grant from the Heritage Fund — The Community Foundation of Bartholomew County to expand a summer camp program entering its second year.

The grant will provide financial-need scholarships for dyslexic students through the organization’s signature program, Camp Delafield, in Columbus. The camp is the only formalized camp for individuals with dyslexia in the state.

Camp Delafield was established in 1990 in Indianapolis and provides a rigorous summer academic program using the Orton-Gillingham multi-sensory approach for individuals ages 7 to 12 who have dyslexia. The Orton-Gillingham approach is a theory that combines multi-sensory techniques along with the structure of the English language, according to the Institute for Multi-Sensory Education website.

The camp provides academic remediation and instruction in the areas of phonics, reading, spelling and writing. A focus is also made during the camp on STEM, an acronym for science, technology, engineering and math.

“Our son attended Camp Delafield in Indianapolis in 2012. He gained a year’s worth of reading growth in the 20 sessions delivered by a trained Orton-Gillingham tutor that summer,” said Adrienne Mormino, co-founder of Columbus Indiana R.E.A.D.S., which stands for Recognizing, educating and Advocating for Dyslexic Students.

Bill Herman, CEO of the Dyslexia Institute of Indiana, said the camp provides students with dyslexia the opportunity to not only maintain skills taught during the school year, but to also grow. The organization serves about 40 individuals at its camp in Indianapolis, Herman said.

The Dyslexia Institute of Indiana piloted its first expansion of Camp Delafield in Bartholomew County in 2016. The camp, which also provides one-on-one tutors, was able to serve 11 students last summer and hopes to have 18 participate this year.

“Having a camp presence in Bartholomew County provides residents with an innovative, educational option to address a lack of resources available for individuals with this learning disability,” Herman said.

Herman said the Columbus camp was successful in its first year, providing $19,400 in financial assistance to individuals. Cost is $2,400 per individual.

“The need in the community is great, yet the cost is high for many families. With support from Heritage Fund in 2017, many more families and kids can be helped,” Mormino said.

Financial assistance will be provided this year through the organization’s Camp Delafield Columbus scholarship fund. The amount of financial aid that families receive will be based on financial need and will be evaluated by a third party, Herman said.

He said most families who qualify for assistance likely will receive $500 to $1,000. Funding assistance will remain available as long as there are openings in the camp.

About DII's Camp Delafield:

The Camp Delafield program for dyslexic students will take place 8 a.m. to noon June 5-30 at the Columbus Youth Camp, 12454 W. Youth Camp Road, where individuals can utilize the Youth Camp’s recreational opportunities .

Information: call 317-222-6635 or visit http://diin.org/how-we-help-you/camp-delafield-columbus/

5-week camp coming to city
By Ben Skirvin - The Republic (bskirvin@therepublic.com)
Published: 3/8/16

A local couple who worked for years to find the best possible educational support for their son who has dyslexia are bringing a specialty summer camp to Columbus to help other families.

Brian and Adrienne Mormino discovered a five-week summer program in Indianapolis called Camp Delafield, which their son Max attended. By the time camp ended, Max’s reading level had improved by an entire grade level, Adrienne Mormino said. More importantly, Max now enjoyed reading, an activity which frustrated him in the past.

While the camp was extremely helpful, the commute from Columbus to Indianapolis for Max to attend was pretty inconvenient, she said. In fact, nearly all dyslexia services in the state were difficult for people in Columbus to obtain, she said. So, along with parents in a local dyslexia support club called READS, the couple is bringing Camp Delafield to Columbus this year so all families seeking help have a local option this summer. The Columbus incarnation of the summer program will be at Columbus Youth Camp in mid-June.

Max, now in fifth grade, has dyslexia, a code-deciphering condition which prevents him from easily translating letters into words. For kids like Max, it’s not as simple as letters appearing backwards, said Nichole Freije, CEO of the Dyslexia Institute of Indiana.

To understand this condition, she suggests imagining a world in which the only font is a constantly changing variation of Microsoft’s symbol lettering Wingdings and where all people are required to write backward in this script with their off hand. The Mormino’s created a dyslexia support club called READS and worked with local schools on new dyslexia programs based on a system called the Orton-Gillingham Approach, which focuses on teaching reading by engaging all of a student’s senses.

For example, a typical flash card used under the program might include an image of the letter F, a picture of a fruit and a small patch of fur, said Adrienne Mormino.

To help Max, every day for more than a month, Adrienne made the 6 a.m. drive from Columbus to Indianapolis last summer to the camp so that Max could attend the sessions, which combined traditional summer camp activities with intensive one-on-one Orton-Gillingham tutoring with licensed teachers. Max’s personal tutor lived in Seymour. Camp Delafield was in Indianapolis. Other than the schools, there was very little programming available locally. So, the local READS group started brainstorming ways to localize these services, Adrienne Mormino said. During one of the club’s regular meetings in September, discussion turned to the idea of creating a dyslexia summer camp in Columbus, she added.

As part of the statewide Dyslexia Institute of Indiana network, meeting minutes from that session were sent to Freije in Indianapolis, which started the process to bring the camp to Columbus.

One sticking point for many potential participants is the camp’s hefty $3,500 price tag, Freije said. Even after a $500 scholarship from Lee Supply Corp. for all students, many parents might not be able to afford paying $3,000 for a five-week summer camp, organizers said. Most other summer camps in the area, such as those sponsored through the Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts, cost about $200 a week.

“This is certainly an investment,” Freije said of Camp Delafield. But, the dyslexia program involves more than just traditional camp activities like swimming and crafts, she added. Students participating in the program will receive intensive, individual tutoring with a trained, licensed teacher, Freije said. Other camps simply don’t provide that kind of service, she added. The price also is a little deceiving, Freije said. Many families who have participated in the past now make regular contributions to a scholarship fund to help future campers, she said. “Please apply (to camp), even if you don’t think you can afford it,” Freije said. “We can’t help if we don’t know about your situation.”

Adrienne Mormino said the camp features a rotating roster of adults who speak with the campers about how they have successfully navigated their dyslexia. During Max’s time at Delafield, he connected with an aircraft engineer, who became a mentor.

Those who struggle with dyslexia have their entire educational experience affected, and are far less confident in their ability to learn, even though dyslexia has nothing to do with ability to learn, Adrienne Mormino said. That’s where a program like Camp Delafield really works, she said. The tutoring and reading supports are vital, but that kind of programming is available in other formats like the schools. The camp offer kids a chance to see past their dyslexia by surrounding them with adults and peers who have faced the condition and found a way through, she said.

Dyslexia warning signs: The Dyslexia Institute of Indiana list the following warning signs that a child maybe experiencing dyslexia. Signs include difficulty in:

» Learning letters, numbers or the days of the week
» Pronouncing words correctly
» Rhyming words
» Naming people or objects
» Repeating what has been said
» Learning to speak
» Understanding instructions
» Naming letters
» Learning to read at grade level
» Distinguishing between similar letters or words
» Learning new vocabulary
» Keeping their place while reading
» Matching and blending letter sounds while speaking
» Showing confidence or interest in reading
» Associating letters with sounds
» Learning to write at grade level
» Writing letters, numbers and symbols in correct order
» Spelling words correctly
» Proofreading and correcting written work
» Understanding spacial directions (left and right)

An old wom an dakeb some gin gerdreab. She hab some bough left ov er, so she mabe the sha be of a little man. She mape eyes, anoseand a smil ing mouth andpl aceq curra ntsbown his front to look like du ttons. Thenshe laib hi mon a qak ingtray and put himint he oven. After a while, som ething rattlebat theo ven boor. She ope nedit and out ju mped the littlegin gerdreab man. She triep to catch him duthes lippeb dast her, ca llingas he ran, “Run, run, as fast as you can. You can’t catch me, I’m the gingerdreab man!” 


Dyslexia diagnosis rewritten: Parents form nonprofit
Story By Michelle Sokol msokol@therepublic.com

Published in: The Republic

Date: May 27, 2014

The mix-ups were cute at first. “Bisghetti” instead of spaghetti. “Aminal” for animal. “Hekalopter” rather than helicopter. But when Max Mormino, now a third-grader at Columbus Signature Academy Lincoln Campus, had trouble learning to read, what was once cute turned into concern.
Parents Adrienne and Brian Mormino later learned Max was switching the sounds and syllables in long words because he has dyslexia. Dyslexia is a lifelong learning challenge that people are born with. It is a language-processing disorder that can hinder reading, writing, spelling and sometimes speaking. It is not a sign of low intelligence.

Max passed his IREAD-3 exam this year — which means he is reading on grade level — but his parents do not think that would have been possible without a month long camp in Carmel and weekly tutoring sessions in Seymour.

Their child is hardly alone. One in five people struggle with dyslexia, according to The Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity, and 40 percent of those cases are severe. So what happens to families who do not have the resources to drive the distance or pay the price so their child can get assistance?

The Morminos are trying to help them.

With individuals at Cummins and others in the community getting involved, the couple have formed a nonprofit organization to help children with dyslexia realize their full potential.

R.E.A.D.S., which stands for Recognizing, Educating and Advocating for Dyslexic Students, formed about a month ago and will mark the launch with a movie screening today. “The Big Picture: Rethinking Dyslexia” will be screened at YES Cinema at 11:30a.m. and 4:30p.m., with a question-and-answer session following each showing.

The event will give R.E.A.D.S. a good idea of community interest and will be a springboard for future efforts. “It’s the most common learning challenge yet the most publicly misunderstood,” Adrienne Mormino said. “We are trying to get people’s attention.”

The diagnosis

The news of their son’s diagnosis, which came when Max was in first grade, was hard for the Morminos to fathom at first.

Brian Mormino is executive director of worldwide environmental strategy and compliance for Cummins. Adrienne Mormino, currently a stay-at-home mom, has a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education. The parents read to Max every night when he was younger, and they took him on educational trips to help him learn, such as visiting the Smithsonian museums when the family lived in Washington.

Why was their bright and vivacious little boy getting so frustrated by words?

I trained teachers in D.C. to observe children,” said Adrienne Mormino, who provided early childhood professional development to other teachers in her area. “But here I am, a teacher aware of my kid, and I’m seeing things I’m not quite sure about.”

Brian Mormino remembers Max trying to read stories and having difficulty sounding out words his father had just read aloud several times. Sometimes Max would even mess up the character’s main name, his father said. “I had no understanding whatsoever. I would just think that doesn’t make sense,” he said. “There’s a feeling of guilt (as a parent) associated with it.”

Max continued to struggle through kindergarten when the family moved to Columbus, and that is when his parents decided to dig deeper.

Adrienne Mormino was out with a friend who was talking about her own son with dyslexia, and she said red flags went up. After spending some time on the Internet looking for more answers, the Morminos took Max to the Dyslexia Institute of Indiana on the north side of Indianapolis to be tested. But that did not solve everything.

It's hard to understand what somebody with dyslexia sees on the page. Here's a simulation.

Read By 3 background

Columbus Beginnings: Read by 3 was originally piloted in the Indianapolis Public School system by the M.A. Rooney Foundation. Brian Mormino, who leads the READS — Recognizing, Educating and Advocating for Dyslexic Students — group in Columbus approached the Rooney Foundation to learn how the program could be applied to local schools.

How it works: The program follows a systematic, explicit, multisensory instruction model. The systematic element means teachers follow the same schedule in the Read by 3 lesson every day. Explicit means each step in the learning process is directly explained so that learning outcomes are predictable. Multi-sensory means students are using all of their senses to learn, allowing each student to find a learning method that works best for them.

How it’s used: Right now, kindergarten classrooms at Taylorsville and Columbus Signature Academy – Lincoln and first-grade classes at Taylorsville use the Read by 3 program. There is a 45-minute lesson every day. Prior to the beginning of the school year, teachers are trained to use the curriculum.

Community Partners Announce Expansion of "Read by 3 Columbus" After Successful Pilot Results

Program to Improve Reading and Learning in Bartholomew County

COLUMBUS, Indiana – Bartholomew Consolidated School Corporation (BCSC), with support from R.E.A.D.S., the M.A. Rooney Foundation, Heritage Fund – The Community Foundation of Bartholomew County, the PNC Foundation, and representatives of Cummins Inc. (NYSE: CMI), today announced an expansion of “Read by 3 Columbus” following impressive results in the program’s first year.

Read by 3 Columbus is modeled after a pilot launched in the 2011-2012 school year in five of the Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) by the M.A. Rooney Foundation. It consists of systematic and explicit, multi-sensory teaching for phonics instruction. The teaching methodology is based on extensive research and has shown tremendous success in the IPS schools.

In BCSC schools during the 2014-15 school year, the pilot year of the program, 89 percent of the 140 participating kindergarteners were reading at grade level by the end of the school year, compared to 81 percent of kindergartners at the identified schools reading at grade level by the end of the 2013-2014 school year.

The program was implemented at the start of the 2014-2015 school year and was piloted in six kindergarten classrooms at Taylorsville Elementary and Columbus Signature Academy-Lincoln Campus. For the 2015-2016 school year, the program will expand to include first grade classrooms at Taylorsville Elementary. A dedicated full-time coach administers the program and works with teachers at each of the schools. Teachers and aides received training in the methodology over the summer.

The impetus for launching the pilot in Columbus came from a parent created grassroots organization called R.E.A.D.S., (Recognizing Educating and Advocating for Dyslexic Students) who helped highlight the need to help dyslexic children in the community.

Dyslexia is a disability that inhibits the ability to read and affects one in five people. The affected children, of normal intelligence and capabilities, often need intervention to learn to read at grade level. Studies have shown that children who are not reading at grade level by third grade are four times as likely not to graduate as children who read at grade level.

“After working with so many wonderful partners to bring this program to Columbus, we are thrilled with its initial success,” said Brian Mormino, an Executive Director at Cummins who is the father of a dyslexic child in BCSC and leads the R.E.A.D.S. organization. “We are working diligently to continue those strong results with the expansion of Read by 3 Columbus and hope to serve many more children.”

“We knew this program had the potential as an option for both BCSC teachers and students,” said Laura Hack, Director of Elementary Education at BCSC. “Phonemic awareness skills improved greatly among the participating students, and participating teachers have had very positive reactions to the program. As always, we will continue to research best practices in literacy skills and examine how this program will support stronger readers and thinkers.”

The Rooney Foundation is the author of the lesson plans being used in the BCSC program. In addition, they supplied the teacher training and materials and are providing overall support for the program.

“Though we have seen positive results in IPS, it is affirming to see such positive results from students and teachers in BCSC who are new to the program,” said Therese Rooney, President of the M.A. Rooney Foundation. “Partners like BCSC and dedicated teachers help us achieve our mission: to ensure that all kids are reading at grade level.”

"It’s important to not only fund programming for our students, but lend support for teacher training in order to prepare our youngest students for educational success. The dual investment ultimately helps build a solid foundation for the future workforce of this region,” said Connie Bond Stuart, PNC regional president for central Indiana.

As with the first pilot year, the progress of the students will be monitored regularly. The vision is to expand the program in the coming years as an option to include all kindergarten, first and second grade students at BCSC schools.

“Heritage Fund was excited to join the local partners in piloting this educational innovation, Read by 3 Columbus, said Tracy Souza, President & CEO of the Heritage Fund – The Community Foundation of Bartholomew County. “We want to give a high five to the parents who discovered a reading program that would not only help their child but all children achieve reading success. BCSC administration and teachers were receptive to trying the new curriculum as were a group of local funding partners who provided funding for the pilot. This project demonstrates the very best of community collaboration and the power of philanthropy.”

About BCSC
Bartholomew Consolidated School Corporation, BCSC, is a public school district serving grades PK-12 in Bartholomew County, Indiana. The reported enrollment of BCSC is 11,770. The superintendent is Dr. John Quick. BCSC demonstrates a community commitment to deeper learning for one… and all. More information on BCSC can be found on the Web at www.bcsc.k12.in.us.

About Cummins Inc.
Cummins is a global power leader that designs, manufactures, sells and services diesel engines and related technology around the world. Headquartered in Columbus, Indiana (USA) Cummins currently employs approximately 54,600 people worldwide and serves customers in approximately 190 countries and territories through a network of approximately 600 company-owned and independent distributor locations and approximately 6,500 dealer locations. Cummins earned 1.67 billion on sales of 19.2 billion in 2014. Press releases can be found on the Web at www.cummins.com. Follow Cummins on Twitter at @Cummins and on YouTube at CumminsInc.

About Heritage Fund – The Community Foundation of Bartholomew County
Heritage Fund, the Community Foundation of Bartholomew County was formed as a community foundation in 1976 with the purpose of continuing a legacy of giving by providing an opportunity for all citizens to make gifts and establish charitable funds to benefit the local community. It was created primarily to: provide responsible stewardship of gifts donated for broad charitable purposes; promote leadership to address community issues; serve as a catalyst for positive change in partnership with others; and promote philanthropy broadly within the community.

About M. A. Rooney Foundation
Founded in 1969, the M. A. Rooney Foundation is dedicated to educational initiatives, particularly aiding educators achieve early childhood literacy (Read by 3 – 3rd Grade). Through partnerships with schools, community organizations and the Indiana Department of Education, the Rooney Foundation is providing educators with professional learning, strategic planning and data tools to foster student achievement. Committed to all children reading by 3rd Grade, the Foundation operates in the spirit of “Teach a man to fish…” The organization’s website is www.marooneyfoundation.org.

About The PNC Foundation
The PNC Foundation, which receives its principal funding from The PNC Financial Services Group (NYSE: PNC), actively supports organizations that provide services for the benefit of communities in which it has a significant presence. The foundation focuses its philanthropic mission on early childhood education and community and economic development, which includes the arts and culture. Through Grow Up Great, its signature cause that began in 2004, PNC has created a $350 million, multi-year initiative to help prepare children from birth to age 5 for success in school and life.

About R.E.A.D.S
R.E.A.D.S (Recognizing, Educating, and Advocating for Dyslexic Students) is a non-profit organiation serving Columbus, IN and surrounding area. R.E.A.D.S. operates under the fiduciary of The Arc of Bartholomew County. Founded in 1955, The Arc of Barholomew County is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization that provides advocacy and resources to individuals and their families in Bartholomew County. The organization’s website is www.columbusinreads.org.

About Read by 3 Columbus
Read by 3 Columbus is a pilot reading program that brings 45-minute, systematic reading lessons to six classrooms of kindergartners in Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. The lessons are multisensory, meaning they incorporate auditory, kinesthetic and visual learning pathways. The program was implemented at the start of this school year at Taylorsville Elementary School and Columbus Signature Academy Lincoln Campus. BCSC launched the program with support from the M.A. Rooney Foundation, Cummins Inc. and Recognizing, Educating and Advocating for Dyslexic Students (READS).

Education leaders around the state have taken notice of the district’s efforts to improve students’ reading skills.

Representatives from the Rooney Foundation, as well state Sen. Rod Bray, who has identified education as one of the main causes he wants to advocate for in the state legislature, visited Taylorsville to observe the kindergarten lessons.

Based on what he observed, Bray hopes to develop new ideas he can bring to lawmakers to improve education across the state.

Because of the success of the first year, Taylorsville Elementary School expanded the Read by 3 program to its first-grade classrooms to test its effectiveness at a higher grade level.

Like in kindergarten, Taylorsville teachers will test students at the beginning, middle and end of the year to determine if Read by 3 is improving their literary skills.

If the first-grade results show signs of improvement, the program could be expanded into second grade, as well as into other BCSC schools.

“We want to grow broadly across the district,” Mormino said.

More than ABC's - Kindergarten learning program showing progress

The Republic, November 14, 2014

Published in: The Republic, Columbus Indiana Edition, Pages A1 & A4

SIT. Quit. Pit. Bit. After the kindergartners sounded out the words with their teacher at Taylorsville Elementary School, they raised their “airplanes,” or fingers, and spelled them out in the air. A few minutes later, they sat at their desks and practiced writing them in crayon. “They’re using multiple pathways in the brain to make these connections,” said Therese Haas, a reading coach with Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. “Repetition is a big part that helps the kids, having things presented in different ways.” The lesson, or some variation of it, is repeated daily in six kindergarten classrooms at Taylorsville and Columbus Signature Academy Lincoln Campus It is part of a pilot program, called Read by 3 Columbus, that aims to develop stronger reading skills among young children by offering multisensory reading and writing lessons. Teresa Heiny, director of elementary education for the district, said it is important for students to read at grade level in primary grades, as that ability is directly tied to on-time high school graduation. A partnership between the school district, the M.A. Rooney Foundation, Cummins Inc. and Recognizing, Educating and Advocating for Dyslexic Students (READS), the pilot already is seeing success. “We’ve seen improvements in almost every child,” Haas said. “As a former kindergarten teacher, I’m already celebrating because I’m seeing a difference in the speed of which they’re catching on to the skill.”

Columbus READS

READS, a grassroots organization formed last spring, was the driving force in starting the pilot; and it all started with a little boy who was struggling to read. Although his parents read to him every night and took him on educational trips to help him learn, Max Mormino still mixed up sounds and syllables and grew increasingly frustrated with words. Brian and Adrienne Mormino soon learned those cute mix-ups — like saying “bisghetti” instead of spaghetti — were a warning sign of dyslexia. Max was diagnosed with the lifelong learning challenge, which is a language processing disorder that can hinder reading, writing, spelling and sometimes speaking. It is not a sign of low intelligence. Although the school district provided great help to Max, Adrienne Mormino said, his parents knew he needed more attention. “We’ve had so much great help,” she said. “But we just know, based on the severity of his dyslexia, he would not progress nearly as much if he did not have the one-on-one.” So the Morminos sent Max to a monthlong camp in Carmel and found a private tutor in Seymour who taught using the Orton-Gillingham method, which is what the Read by 3 pilot is based on. The reading program incorporates three learning pathways: auditory, kinesthetic and visual. Max passed his IREAD-3 exam last year, which meant he was reading on grade level; but his parents do not think that would have been possible without private tutoring. Brian Mormino said he realizes not all families have enough time or money. With one in five individuals affected by dyslexia, he said that is a lot of students currently underserved. “It is personal for me,” he said. “I know the sacrifices that we made as a family to get our son the extra reading assistance that he needed.”

A proven method

Soon after READS formed, Brian Mormino started a campaign to bring the multisensory reading program to local schools. “It helps students with dyslexia, but it helps all students,” he said. The district already offered Orton-Gillingham training to teachers, but it was not mandatory. A few schools, such as Columbus Signature Academy Lincoln Campus, offered small-group lessons using the method. Principal Chad Phillips said his evidence was only anecdotal, but the method has so far shown to be successful in increasing reading scores of students in both special and general education classes. But the Read by 3 program brings the approach to all children, providing educators with a controlled way to assess progress. It also brought Haas into the picture as a part-time reading coach to facilitate among the classes. The Rooney Foundation provided overall support for the program through lesson plans, teacher training and materials. The organization will continue to provide professional development for the teachers as the pilot progresses. BCSC signed on when Heiny saw results coming out of Indianapolis Public Schools. The state’s largest public district had launched its own Read by 3 program in a low-income school that focused on 45-minute daily and systematic lessons. “When the group of parents and community partners brought forward the idea of extending the pilot to BCSC, we were struck by the strong results at IPS,” Heiny said.

Behavioral benefits

One semester of whole class instruction there resulted in an increase in reading scores in kindergarten and first-grade classrooms. And the same thing seems to be happening in BCSC schools. Callie Strickland, a kindergarten teacher at Taylorsville Elementary School, said she has already seen significant growth since lessons started on the second day of school this semester. “Our students have already become very comfortable with the structure and know what to expect each day.” Haas said the routine has behavioral benefits in addition to academic ones. Although she has seen individual growth come from the pilot, she said it is too early to judge the success of the entire program. Brian Mormino said he expects the pilot to be considered successful. If that is the case, the intent is to expand Read by 3 Columbus to include first- and second-grade students and additional schools. “We’re all optimistic, given how teachers have responded so positively in terms of implementation of the program and even the early results from the kids,” Brian Mormino said. “But at the same time, this is new. We’re still learning along the way.”

About Read by 3 Columbus

Read by 3 Columbus is a pilot reading program that brings 45-minute, systematic reading lessons to six classrooms of kindergartners in Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. The lessons are multisensory, meaning they incorporate auditory, kinesthetic and visual learning pathways. The program was implemented at the start of this school year at Taylorsville Elementary School and Columbus Signature Academy Lincoln Campus. BCSC launched the program with support from the M.A. Rooney Foundation, Cummins Inc. and Recognizing, Educating and Advocating for Dyslexic Students (READS).

What do

Kindergarten students at Taylorsville Elementary School and Columbus Signature Academy — Lincoln campus learn a new letter every day starting with the second day of school, said Therese Haas, the BCSC Read by 3 coach. As the year progresses, they also learn a new word every two days. The students are divided into reading groups based on their skill levels.

Students write out letters, speak sounds, tap word syllables on their arms and use other learning methods that tap into each of their sense, Haas said. Every student learns differently, she said, so a multi-sensory curriculum is the best method to ensure every child can connect with the lessons.

“People say they learn things really fast, but they review everything,” Haas said.

Although kindergarten teachers at the two schools were trained in the Read by 3 method just days before the start of the 2014-15 school year, there was marked improvement in the students’ performance after the program was implemented.

While only 81 percent of kindergartners at the two schools were reading on grade level at the end of the 2013-14 school year, that number was up to 89 percent of the 140 students included in the Read by 3 pilot program by May.

At Taylorsville specifically, the number of kindergartners reading on grade level rose from 48 percent to 82 percent — a 70 percent increase.

Even students who already were reading on grade level before beginning Read by 3 showed signed of improvement because of the new program.

At CSA – Lincoln, 60 percent of kindergarten students ended the year performing at a “well above benchmark” level at the end of the 2014-15 school year, compared to only 44 percent the previous year.

“We didn’t screw anything up,” Mormino said with a sigh of relief

Students’ progress through the Read by 3 program was measured through DIBLES, which is the literacy skills assessment BCSC administers three times a year to its kindergarten students

Recognizing, educating, and advocating for dyslexic students

While they discovered the kind of learning disorder Max had, his parents felt he needed more attention than what Columbus’ public schools could offer. “We’ve had so much great help, and I think the school is doing everything they can do for him,” Adrienne said. “But we just know, based on the severity of his dyslexia, he would not progress nearly as much if he did not have the one-on-one.” The Morminos found that individualized attention with a private tutor in Seymour.

A proven method

Max came up to his mother one day this year and told her: “Mom, I’m not frustrated anymore.”

Adrienne Mormino said that is because he has been learning to read using the Orton-Gillingham method.

The reading program uses a multisensory approach that incorporates three learning pathways: auditory, kinesthetic and visual. At his tutoring sessions in Seymour with teacher Martha Bloch, Max uses all three.

On the flashcards were words such as “deceitful,” “catsup” and “subtle.”

Max read most of them off to Bloch without a problem, but he got caught up on “drawers.” He pronounced it like the people who draw pictures, but he quickly corrected himself. He used an iPad app to drag around letters to spell the word “responsible” and then “responsibility.” 

Then his tutor pulled out a whiteboard and asked him to write some words with a dry-erase marker. Using that learning method, Max increased his reading level by a year and a half in 20 sessions. Reports from other schools in the state show similar success — and not just for students with dyslexia.

In Indianapolis Public Schools, a daily whole-class application of Orton-Gillingham in one semester resulted in an increase in reading scores in kindergarten and first-grade classrooms.

The Dyslexia Institute of Indiana found one-on-one tutoring sessions resulted in a 20 percent increase in reading and spelling skills through the Wells Outreach Educational Program.

George Van Horn, director of special education for Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp., said the district offers optional Orton-Gillingham training for teachers, but it’s not mandatory.

At CSA Lincoln, where Max attends, one teacher has attended several training sessions and offers Orton-Gillingham instruction to many students in the classroom setting and in pull-out groups.

Principal Chad Phillips said he only has anecdotal evidence, but that method has so far shown to be successful in increasing reading scores of students with special needs and students in general education.

But the Orton-Gillingham method is based on one-on-one or small-group instruction. When there are more than 700 students in some elementary schools, individualized attention is not always possible.

Van Horn said he would like to see more resources from the state or federal level for Orton-Gillingham instruction or other dyslexia support, but funding is competitive.

What is the proportion of families that are able to drive to Seymour every day (for tutoring) or pay for camp if it’s not offered in their classrooms?” Brian Mormino asked.

Discussing dyslexia

Some of the brightest and most successful people have dealt with dyslexia — movie maker Steven Spielberg, computer expert Steve Jobs, automobile innovator Henry Ford and financial investment business owner Charles Schwab among them.

Still, Brian said a misconception persists that dyslexia is a sign of low intelligence. “Dyslexia is really in the way the brain is wired,” he said. “Outside of that, kids with dyslexia have the capacity to do incredible things.”

So when a student is excelling in most areas in the classroom, how does a teacher know to address dyslexia as a possibility? They might not, Brian Mormino said. He said that is particularly concerning when considering the IREAD-3 exam, which students are generally required to pass to move onto the fourth-grade reading lessons.

He agrees that it is important for elementary students to learn to read at grade level before getting too far in school. "At some point, students need to stop learning to read and start reading to learn," he said.

But he does not believe retaining a child is the right answer. “Isn’t that the definition of insanity?” he
asked. “To try the same thing over and over and expect different results?
” So R.E.A.D.S. — starting with today’s movie screenings — is launching an awareness campaign so educators, students and families can understand dyslexia and how to identify the disability early.

They want the community to understand the struggles families of students with dyslexia face — such as the gap in policy.
In Indiana, dyslexia is not an eligible category for special education. It is a specific learning disability, and schools determine what interventions students need on a case-by-case basis. They also want the community to know what is available in the schools for students with dyslexia.

Phillips said it all goes back to Universal Design for Learning (UDL), a set of principles that give all individuals equal opportunities to learn and that is embraced by the district.

Our teachers provide the services that are needed to each kid in their classroom, and that includes interventions,” he said. “We’ll do everything we can within the constraints to make every possible
accommodation for each kid. UDL really allows for teachers to meet the needs of each student, regardless of if they’re identified (with a learning disability) or not

MORE INFO: Visit columbusinreads.org

One student’s dyslexia changed how a community viewed learning

PBS September 3, 2014 at 6:31 PM EDT

Published in: PBS.ORG > Newshour > Education

Date: September 3, 2014

Link: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/one-students-dyslexia-changed-community-viewed-learning/

When Liz Woody’s son Mason was in third grade, he struggled to read basic words. After Woody moved Mason to a specialized school, she set out to transform techniques to reach struggling readers. John Tulenko of Learning Matters has the story.