Dyslexia Program: Virtual Victories

Zoom Session with the students

This year has brought plenty of adversity, but each challenge has only offered us an opportunity to show our adaptability. The dyslexia program has operated for decades in-person, but Coronavirus changed everything. Our dyslexia program had to transform quickly to meet the needs of children with dyslexia in this new virtual world.

Hannah Ritchey named Outstanding student for her successes during the summer program.

Nonetheless, the Dyslexia program hit the ground running with a virtual version of the typical dyslexia program. We went into the online sphere with a lot of apprehensions, but our uneasiness was met with excellence. With the diligence of our dyslexia program staff and the flexibility of the students’ parents, we were able to achieve far more than we ever had in the past. Through our virtual program, we experienced reading mastery test gains of 6 months for group 1, reading gains of 1 year for group 2, and reading gains of 2 years and 3 months for group 3. Subsequently, this means that students that were academically behind made phenomenal progress that helped them read at their respective grade levels.

As the summer program came to an end, another wrench was thrown in our plans with the closing of Kentucky schools. For many of the schools we were serving, the opening dates seemed to change daily; it felt like we were trying to hit a moving target while blindfolded. Regardless, we persevered, hiring 17 new tutors amid a pandemic. Each of whom was ready to make the best difference they could in these challenging times. The tutors were sent out to every school in Knott County and several in Perry County to make our program more obtainable to children in Eastern Kentucky. 

ReadingCorps Tutors recruited from across the country.

After the dust settled, we now serve more than 70 students virtually in Knott and Perry County during the in-school dyslexia program. In addition to our in-school program, we currently serve almost 40 students in the after-school dyslexia program. However, when in-person school resumes, we will be able to serve over 330 students. Nevertheless, our aspirations have grown to reach all of the counties surrounding Knott County. During the upcoming months, we plan to expand our program to schools in the following counties: Breathitt County, Floyd County, Leslie County, Letcher County, and Pike County. We are expanding our program because we believe our work does not end until we can serve every kid we can, regardless of where they live. 

The dyslexia program has drastically changed within the past couple of months, yet our mission remains the same: We will continue growing this program until we help every child with dyslexic characteristics learn strategies to overcome their learning differences, virus or not.