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English Learners and Dyslexia Screening: Uncover the Root of Reading Difficulties

Monday, October 31, 2022 @ 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm EDT

English Learners and Dyslexia Screening: Uncover the Root of Reading Difficulties

Presented by Rachel Brown, Ph.D., Senior Research Associate, Illuminate Education, Inc.; and John Bielinski, Ph.D., Senior Director of Research and Development, Illuminate Education, Inc.

Sponsored by Illuminate Education

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Dyslexia affects individuals from all languages and cultures, including students learning English. However, accurate identification of dyslexia in EL students requires a balance between recognizing their emerging English skills alongside proficiency in the first language. It is important not to make assumptions about the source of an EL student’s reading difficulties. Instead, educators need to obtain and analyze the right assessment data so that the correct source of reading difficulties is found, and acquire information about language development in the student’s native language.

Following the popularity of their September 2022 edWebinar, Demystifying Dyslexia: The History, Research, and Best Practices for Supporting All Students, Renaissance Learning experts Drs. John Bielinski and Rachel Brown are back to discuss the intersection of ELs and dyslexia screening. View this edWebinar to deep dive into using science-based screening tools to determine an EL’s risk for reading difficulties like dyslexia and plan effective supports. They discuss:

  • Common misconceptions surrounding ELs and their potential to build reading proficiency and achieve academic success
  • How to use science-based reading screeners and progress-monitoring tools to determine an EL’s risk for dyslexia
  • Reasons to screen in both English and an EL’s native language to uncover underlying reading difficulties like dyslexia
  • The importance of gathering background knowledge and conducting interviews to understand a student’s educational history, exposure to oral and written language, and native language reading proficiency
  • Steps for determining if an EL has a learning disability like dyslexia using high-quality reading instruction practices based on the Science of Reading

This recorded edWebinar is of interest to K-12 teachers, school and district leaders, school counselors and psychologists, and assessment and intervention directors.


Dr. Rachel BrownAbout the Presenters

Dr. Rachel Brown began her career as a middle school social studies teacher. She quickly learned that many of her students could not read well enough to understand assigned texts. This led Dr. Brown to earn certification as a special educator. Having learned that special education was not the answer to all students’ learning challenges, she earned her Ph.D. in school psychology and special education at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2000. She was a faculty member in educational and school psychology at the University of Southern Maine for 16 years and then joined Renaissance Learning where she currently serves as a senior research associate. Dr. Brown now teaches in the Special Education Department at the University of Southern Maine. Her research focuses on effective reading instruction and assessment within a Multi-Tiered System of Support.


John BielinskiDr. John Bielinski is a psychometrician by training and has led development of educational tests and educational research in the industry for 20 years. He began his career in education policy at the National Center on Educational Outcomes and currently works at Renaissance Learning as a senior director of research and development. His expertise is in CBM and modeling growth.


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Illuminate Education

Illuminate Education partners with K-12 educators to equip them with data to serve the whole child and reach new levels of student performance. Our solution brings together holistic data and collaborative tools and puts them in the hands of educators. Illuminate supports over 17 million students and 5200 districts/schools.



Monday, October 31, 2022
2:00 pm - 3:00 pm EDT
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