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Dyslexia Identification Bill Receives Unanimous Approval From Arizona House

Legislation to zero-in on dyslexia early in a student’s career received unanimous approval from the state House of Representatives on Monday.

Senate Bill 1318would require every school to have at least one kindergarten through third grade teacher who's been trained to spot dyslexia.

Studies have found that a young student identified early as dyslexic is much more likely to become a skilled reader than those diagnosed later in life.

“This is a great opportunity to make sure that when students are struggling with reading we can catch it early before they get a couple of years behind and I think that’s a really important time to intervene,” said Rep. Michelle Udall from Mesa.

The bill does not provide any funding to cover the training or salaries of these teachers and specialists, which drew ire from some Democrats.

“What we do know currently in the state of Arizona: there is very little funding,” said Rep. Isela Blanc from Tempe. “We have large classroom sizes and so this is a vast concern for all children who are unable to read at grade-level.”

The bill now goes to the Arizona Senate for a vote.

Claire Caulfield was a reporter and Morning Edition producer at KJZZ from 2015 to 2019.