A PARENTAL GUIDE TO SCHOOLS OF CHOICE
in its curriculum. If a school includes those subjects, I'm willing to assume that the foreign language
and music teachers have adequate knowledge of their subjects. The school is not likely to have
hired a teacher of Spanish who can't read Spanish, or a music teacher who doesn't know sharps from flats.
But I will ask some poignant questions about members of the faculty who teach children to read English.
Having spent a half-century in education, I know that not all questions I might raise about reading will
be answered to my satisfaction. But the answers to the questions discussed here will weigh heavily
in my ranking of schools for my child. (NOTE: During my 5 decades in education, I've heard it argued that there
are other subjects just as important as reading in a school's mission. But I never heard that from one who has a
reading-impaired loved one in the family.)
QUESTIONS I'll ASK
(1) Do you have a vigorous screening program to identify students at risk, beginning in grade-one?
(I suggest that you Google Joseph Torgesen, and read his article entitled Catch Them Before They Fall.
If you can't find it contact me
ExWyZeeReading@gmail.com and I'll get
it for you.)
(2) Does each of your special-ed teachers have at least a minor in the teaching of reading?
(3) How many of your regular classroom teachers have at least a minor in the teaching of reading.
(4) Do you have institutional memberships in the the International International Reading Association?
The International Dyslexia Association? In your state reading association? How many of your teachers
(5) Does your school support teachers' attendance at teaching of reading conferences? How many
teachers attended reading conferences last year?
(6) Does your school have a rich inventory of remedial reading software? If so, are your regular and
special education teachers making use of it?
(7) In your special education program is there provision for one-on-one tutorial instruction by a certified
teacher for seriously reading-impaired students, or is most one-on-one tutoring done by paraprofessionals?
(8) How many students in your school are considered to be dyslexic, and for whom dyslexia has been
discussed with their parents?
(9) If the answer to question 8 is zero, is it that,
(a) You screen incoming students, and reject dyslexics,
(b) You accept all comers, but you don't talk about shhh dyslexia with parents.
(10) May I see a couple of your IEPs (with student identities blocked out) to see how detailed they are
about students' reading deficits. (NOTE: I suggest that you Google William V. Catone, and read his
article on Inadequacy of IEPs (Annals of Dyslexia June 05). If you can't find it contact me at
ExWyZeeReading@gmai.com and I'll get it for you.)
(11) If I were to observe remedial reading in your special education program, not knowing I was in a
special-ed room, what routine practices would I see to indicate I was not simply looking at typical
small-group instruction in a regular classroom? In the special education classroom will I see
something remarkably different in the teaching of reading from what I'd see in regular classrooms?
(12) Does your school have a teacher or administrator whose designated full-time or part-time
responsibility is to supervise the teaching of reading in your school.