FCPS Knows Reading Program Isn’t Appropriate for All Students who have Dyslexia

Warning: This is another “Just Words” article.

If you’re new to my articles, I’ve spent a fair amount of time writing about “Just Words” in response to Fairfax County Public School’s inappropriate use of the program for students who have Dyslexia. My articles aren’t a criticism of the program, but of the administration and implementation of a program that 1) the publisher does not endorse for students with Dyslexia and 2) that two Virginia hearing officers have ruled to be inappropriate for students with Dyslexia.

Today I was provided access to the Dyslexia participant slide deck for the 2.12.19 FCPS Secondary Literacy Intervention Teachers “Resource Bonanza”.

On the slide titled “Specialized Learning Programs”, there are three programs listed: “Just Words”, “Corrective Reading”, and “Language Live”. Next to “Just Words” is a link to the publisher’s site and the following comment:

Considered the better dyslexia intervention, but still may not be appropriate for all students.

Why does this matter?

This presentation is for literacy intervention teachers. Of all the teachers who should be the best trained on Dyslexia, it should be literacy intervention teachers, and yet . . . This presentation indicated that “Just Words” is “the better dyslexia intervention”, even though it is not endorsed as such by Wilson.

The link to Wilson’s page goes to a generic page about Dyslexia, not about “Just Words”. If you navigate off that page and onto the “programs” page of Wilson’s site, it is clear that the “Wilson Reading System” is the program that Wilson endorses for students with Dyslexia.

Then there’s the last half of the line about “Just Words”, in which FCPS acknowledges that it “still may not be appropriate for all students.

However, if you talk to the parent of a student who has Dyslexia and who is enrolled in FCPS, you’d find “Just Words” to be a common link, no matter if your child is in 3rd grade or 11th grade, no matter if he has had extensive tutoring or no tutoring at all. How can that be if “Just Words” “may not be appropriate for all students”?

A theory on how this happens: teachers follow the leader, without knowing why.

About three years ago, I was in a meeting with FCPS’ Michael Bloom. He suggested the program “Just Words” for my son, who has Dyslexia. He said it would “close the gap”. When I asked, “What gap?” Michael didn’t know. He said he’d get back to me to let me know.

I stopped waiting for his answer after the second Virginia hearing officer ruled “Just Words” to be inappropriate for a student with Dyslexia. Even Michael should know that a program that is not endorsed by its own publisher for students with Dyslexia, will be hard pressed to close any gap.

Slide Deck

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