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Boone County’s Phyllis Sparks invited by Sec. DeVos to speak at D.C. roundtable on dyslexia awareness

NKyTribune staff

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos convened a roundtable of parents and advocates from the disability community in Washington D.C. on October 24, to engage in a dialogue on how the Department can best serve children with disabilities.

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos (center) recently convened a Parent Roundtable to mark National Learning Disabilities and Dyslexia Awareness Month. Phyllis Sparks of Boone County participated in a discussion group and is seated to the Secretary’s immediate right (provided photo). Click to enlarge

The discussion was part of the Department’s recognition of National Learning Disabilities and Dyslexia Awareness Month,

DeVos invited Boone County resident Phyllis Sparks, a parent advocate and president of the Kentucky branch of the International Dyslexia Association, to participate in  a roundtable discussion on dyslexia and related learning disabilities.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to meet and discuss with the Secretary the importance of identifying students with dyslexia and training for preservice teachers in structured literacy instruction.” said Phyllis Sparks.  “Structured Literacy, which prepares students to decode words in an explicit and systematic manner. This approach not only helps students with dyslexia, but there is substantial evidence that it is more effective for all readers.”

Other participants included:

  • U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy
  • Dr. Laura Cassidy
  • Decoding Dyslexia
  • International Dyslexia Association
  • Learning Disabilities Association of America
  • National Center for Learning Disabilities
  • National Center on Improving Literacy
  • The Dyslexia Foundation

DeVos said every child has unique challenges and abilities, and children with dyslexia are no different – they simply learn differently.

“As many as one in five Americans experience a language-based learning disability, and too many of them do not receive the resources they need in our schools,” said Secretary DeVos.  “The Department will continue to work every day to empower families with the supports and services they need in learning environments that best fit their children’s individual educational needs. I’m grateful to Sen. Bill Cassidy and Dr. Laura Cassidy for joining this discussion and for their exceptional work on this issue, and I thank all of today’s participants for the constructive exchange.”

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