MUSCATINE, Iowa—In an effort to help Iowa students with dyslexia, a learning disability characterized by difficulties with reading and associated skills, the Iowa Senate began work on a bill designed to provide them with additional support. Muscatine Senator Mark Lofgren worked on the subcommittee that drafted the bill and eventually presented it to the Senate education committee. On Feb. 19, the education committee, which Lofgren also serves on, passed the bill, moving it one step closer to passage in the senate. To celebrate the bill’s early success, Lofgren met with the Muscatine Area Dyslexia Support Group on Feb. 20.
Members of the group felt excited by the bill’s potential, if passed. As a part of the bill, all teachers in Iowa will have to complete the Iowa Reading Research Center Dyslexia Overview Module as part of their ongoing professional development. Alison Hosmer, a founding member of the support group, feels this requirement will help teachers truly understand dyslexia and what accommodations they can make to help students with this learning disability succeed. “I think the training for the teachers is going to help a lot,” she stated. “I think there are a lot of misconceptions, and if we can get everyone on the same page, it’ll make a big difference.”
Denise Wiseman, another co-founder, also valued that the bill makes provisions for a dyslexia specialist endorsement for teachers and other school professionals. This, in turn, will provide a source of expert knowledge for all teachers to access, helping them better support students with dyslexia.
In working with the Muscatine Area Dyslexia Support Group and other supporters of the bill, Lofgren feels proud of the progress he and others have made on bringing this bill to the senate floor and hopes to get it signed into law this legislative season. As a parent, Lofgren acknowledged that, “it’s tougher to have your child struggle than yourself,” and he believes this bill can help ease the struggles of many children with dyslexia.
As Senate File 2356, continues to make its way through the legislature, the Muscatine Area Dyslexia Support Group encourages anyone interested in helping their children with dyslexia or any other learning difficulty to join them at their meetings the first Friday of each month at 7 p.m. in the Hy-Vee Second Avenue Market Grille.
Senate File 2356, the Student Dyslexia Bill, passed the senate 49-0 and will move on to the house of representatives.