Lindamood-Bell Partners with Center for Literacy Innovation in Pinellas, Florida
With over 13,500 students in special education, Pinellas County Schools needed to rethink its model of instruction for struggling readers and students with dyslexia. In 2019, it piloted a new Center for Literacy Innovation. The goal was to target specific reading skills and provide intervention in evidence-based programs to accelerate learning.
Special education and Speech/Language staff were trained in Lindamood-Bell to meet these needs. The Center designed a model to provide more instruction time in the appropriate learning environment. Students in grades 1-4 received small group instruction (3 to 5 students in a group). The district implemented a screening process to determine special education students with characteristics of dyslexia. These students were then provided the opportunity to attend the ‘dyslexia magnet’ school and receive Lindamood-Bell instruction. Students with similar learning profiles and needs were grouped together to best differentiate instruction. Groups received instruction four days a week for 45-55 minutes per day.
Instruction was targeted to address the essential skills of reading. These include phonemic awareness, phonics (word attack), symbol imagery, and comprehension. The Center for Literacy continues to show that struggling readers are closing the gap! Students at Midtown Academy made significant growth in these essential skills. For example, the 54-point percentile increase in phonemic awareness and 25-point percentile increase in symbol imagery put these students within the normal range (25th-75th percentile). This growth in the parts of reading led to students’ reading comprehension also moving into the normal range. Their pre- to posttest results were statistically significant on all measures. The results of this study illustrate that Lindamood-Bell instruction in the Seeing Stars program leads to improved reading, which is essential to achieving success with school curricula.
The Center for Literacy Innovation has recently expanded to additional sites. And Lindamood-Bell training is incorporated throughout the entire Exceptional Student Education (ESE) division. Key factors for the program’s success has been a commitment to fidelity and a focus on quality instruction. Each staff member has access to follow-up professional development courses and receives weekly coaching from Lindamood-Bell instruction experts.
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