Michigan lawmakers propose dyslexia bills

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(The Center Square) – A new bill aims to help Michigan students with dyslexia learn to read and write.

Rep. Kathy Schmaltz, R-Jackson, introduced the plan.

House Bill 5135 aims to ensure all Michigan school districts have at least one teacher trained in the Orton-Gillingham method, a well-established and effective approach to teaching students with dyslexia that breaks reading and spelling down into smaller skills involving letters and sounds, according to supporters.

“I want to make sure all children have an opportunity to succeed in school, regardless of any learning differences they may have,” Schmaltz said in a statement. “By ensuring that teachers in every community are trained in the Orton-Gillingham method, we will take a significant step toward creating an inclusive and supportive learning environment for all of our students with dyslexia.”

Dyslexia is a hereditary learning disability that affects how individuals read, write, and spell. Research from the National Institutes of Health has shown about 20% of the U.S. population is affected by dyslexia.

HB 5135 was designed with the collaboration of education experts and has bipartisan support, with 20 co-sponsors as of last week.

“People with dyslexia are intelligent and creative,” Schmaltz said. “They just process language and the written word differently. Research has shown how to teach young people with dyslexia successfully. It’s time we finally implement this method in our schools.”

Schmaltz’s plan was referred to the House Education Committee for consideration.

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