The International Dyslexia Association defines "dyslexia" as a specific learning disability that is neurological in origin. It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. These difficulties typically result 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. Secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede growth of vocabulary and background knowledge. (Adopted by the International Dyslexia Association Board of Directors, November 12, 2002)
Students identified as having dyslexia typically experience primary difficulties in phonological awareness, including phonemic awareness and manipulation, single-word reading, reading fluency, and spelling. Consequences may include difficulties in reading comprehension and/or written expression. These difficulties in phonological awareness are unexpected for the student’s age and educational level and are not primarily the result of language difference factors. Additionally, there is often a family history of similar difficulties.
RISD provides intensive, specialized support to students who have been identified as dyslexic. The interventions are delivered though a set of lessons that efficiently teaches the foundational skills that lead to strong decoding and fluent reading. The lessons systematically teach the essential phonics structures that unlock the English code in both simple and complex words. While the focus of program is word study (phonics and phonemic awareness), there is a high rate of transfer to students’ skills in other areas of reading, such as fluency and comprehension.