Information Regarding Dyslexia | Penn-Harris-Madison School Corporation Skip to main content

Information Regarding Dyslexia

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With the passage of IC 20-35.5, et seq., as created by SEA 217 (2018) in April 2018, Indiana school corporations and charter school’s reading plans must now include screening for dyslexia risk factors and indicators. If a student is determined to be at-risk for dyslexia, the school will administer an additional dyslexia screener, which will identify whether or not the student needs to be referred for further testing. It also requires schools to use specific response to intervention processes if screeners indicate certain characteristics of dyslexia are present.


Dyslexia as defined by IC 20-18-2-3.5 is a specific learning disability that:

(1) is neurological in origin and characterized by:

(A) difficulties with accurate or fluent word recognition; and

(B) poor spelling and decoding abilities;

(2) typically results from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction;

(3) may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede the growth of vocabulary and background knowledge; and

(4) may require the provision of special education services after an eligibility determination is made in accordance with 511 IAC 7-40.



In accordance with IC-20-35.5-6-2, Penn-Harris-Madison now has an authorized reading specialist trained in dyslexia. Betsy Alwine is P-H-M’s Dyslexia Specialist.


In accordance with the law, each school corporation and charter school shall report on the school corporation or charter school's website the following information:


What intervention programs are used to assist students with characteristics of dyslexia?
Dyslexia intervention programs must have explicit direction and instruction that is systematic, sequential, and cumulative. Instruction that follows a logical plan of presenting the alphabetic principle that targets the specific needs of the student without presuming prior skills or knowledge of the student. It must use meaning based instruction that is directed at purposeful reading and writing. Instruction that incorporates the simultaneous use of two (2) or more sensory pathways during the presentation of instruction and student practice. It is also important to keep in mind that the dyslexia program should be research based and be offered in a setting that also teaches the five (5) components of literacy.


The Wilson Fundations program is P-H-M’s mandatory phonics and spelling curriculum in grades K-2 that meets these requirements. Every K-2 classroom does 30 minutes of Fundations daily. 


In the 2020-2021 school year, all 2,357 kindergarten through second grade P-H-M students receive this Tier 1 intervention in their classrooms daily (including virtual students). This systematic, sequential, and cumulative intervention is also used in small group instruction in tier 2 and tier 3 small groups as needed, along with the HearBuilder and MVRC (Mindplay Virtual Reading Coach) computer based interventions.



How many students received dyslexia interventions during the 2021-2022 school year?

In the 2021-2022 school year, P-H-M had 471 students working in small groups with Reading Specialists, interventionist or a certified teacher, for an intense focus on phonological awareness and phonics through the Heggerty and Fundations curriculum. 


Other RtI interventions used to help support students with characteristics of dyslexia, along with students with other learning needs, were the intensive phonics computer programs HearBuilder (grades K-2) and MVRC, (grades 2-5). In the 2021-2022 school year two hundred fifty (250) 2nd-5th grade students received extra phonics support through MVRC and three hundred fifty-five (355) K-2nd grade students received extra phonological awareness support through HearBuilder. 




How many students were identified with dyslexia during the 2021-2022 school year?

School systems will not be diagnosing dyslexia, but will focus on finding and supporting students with characteristics of dyslexia. Required screeners, teacher training, and intervention programs will continue to maximize learning in Penn-Harris-Madison schools.


During the 2021-2022 school year 2,386 students across K-12th grade were administered the Universal Screener (DIBELS 8th) screener, and 130 students were administered the Level 1 diagnostic screener (Mindplay Screener for Kindergarten and NWEA Skills Checklist for 1st-12th).



Please contact Betsy Alwine at with any questions you may have.


Click here to visit the ​IDOE website for more information on the Indiana dyslexia law.