Rep. O’Brien bill creates ‘Right to Read Act’ to combat youth dyslexia and illiteracy
STATE HOUSE – Rep. William W. O’Brien (D-Dist. 54, North Providence) has introduced legislation (2019-H 5887) that would require licensed elementary level teachers to be proficient in scientific reading instruction.
Scientific reading instruction is the teaching of how sounds relate to letters and words during reading instruction. It is based upon research regarding how the brain works while learning spoken and written language with an emphasis on phonological awareness, alphabetic principle, orthographic awareness, and comprehension strategies.
Currently, many teachers and teaching students are unaware of the research and teaching methods behind scientific reading instruction and the goal of the legislation is to rectify this gap in educational instruction.
“Too many of our children, especially those with dyslexia, cannot read at their grade level and are being left behind in the educational process. This gap in literacy teaching is because outdated methods of teaching literacy are still being taught to our teachers and this bill requires our teachers to learn and to instruct their students with the clinically-tested and scientifically-proven ‘scientific reading instruction’ model,” said Representative O’Brien.
“I want to thank Representative O’Brien for sponsoring this House initiative to work on the dyslexia issue in our public schools. He has been talking to me about dyslexia for years and I want to thank him for his persistence on the issue and the information and research he has provided in order to fix the important problem that our public school system does not adequately address the needs of dyslexic students,” said Speaker of the House Nicholas A. Mattiello (D-Dist. 15, Cranston).
The legislation establishes several benchmarks for when current and future teachers should be prepared to teach literacy with the scientific reading instruction model. The legislation also lays out penalties for schools and teachers who are not proficient with the literacy teaching method within the defined time period.
The bill has been referred to the House Committee on Health, Education and Welfare.
For more information, contact:
Andrew Caruolo, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903