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Kids in Ontario deserve the right to read says the Ontario Human Rights Commission

'The inequitable system which currently leaves thousands of children behind is being exposed'
2022 Dyslexia canada
Dyslexia Canada is supporting a report by the Ontario Human Rights Commission.

A new report by the Ontario Human Rights Commission has gained the support of Dyslexia Canada.

"Learning to read is a basic, essential right that the report clearly states is being denied to a significant number of children in Ontario," says a news release from the group. "We hope that the report will act as the catalyst to make changes to the public education system in Ontario and indeed across the country to ensure all students receive access to a fair and equitable education. Every child deserves to learn to read."

Right to Read includes recommendations to the Ministry of Education, school boards, and faculties of education on how to address systemic issues that affect the right to learn to read, including:

  • Explicitly recognizing the term “dyslexia”

  • Adopting a new Kindergarten Program and Grades 1 to 8 Language curriculum that features direct and systematic instruction in foundational reading skills, and preparing current and future teachers on evidence-based approaches to teaching students to read

  • Screening every student, at least twice a year from Kindergarten to Grade 2, to identify students at risk for reading difficulties, using standardized, evidence-based screening tools

  • Standardizing and providing stable funding for evidence-based reading interventions

  • Making access to interventions equitable for all students

  • Providing and supporting timely and effective accommodation, including greater access to evidence-based software and assistive technology

  • Improving access to professional assessments and ensuring greater consistency and transparency in the assessment process

  • Setting clear and consistent standards for school boards and mandating better data collection, analysis and reporting

  • Improving communication with students and parents

  • Working with experts in the science of reading to implement the OHRC’s recommendations

The report can be found here.

The province says it will end the "three-cueing system" which encourages students to guess or predict words using cues or clues from the context and prior knowledge, and focus on phonics.

It also says it will spend $25-million in evidence-based reading intervention programs, which the commission had called for.

“For parents, caregivers and students with dyslexia, this report is bittersweet," says Christine Staley, Executive Director, Dyslexia Canada. "What we have known and been advocating for years is finally being acknowledged and heard. The right to learn to read is finally being recognized."

Staley says the overwhelming gap between the science of reading and what is actually happening at the school level is being brought to light. 

"The inequitable system which currently leaves thousands of children behind is being exposed.” “But the concrete recommendations being outlined, and the support of the greater community, provide hope and real optimism that our children may finally get the support they need to learn to read.”

Dyslexia is a specific learning disability in reading and writing.

In Canada, approximately two to four children in every classroom struggle with dyslexia. 

“The truth is, the system has failed our children. This report is the first step to acknowledging and addressing this injustice.  But we cannot allow this to only benefit children in Ontario.” says Keith Gray, Chair of Dyslexia Canada.  “Every province and territory must make this their highest priority."

Dyslexia Canada is a national charity committed to ensuring that every child in Canada with dyslexia gets a fair and equitable education. 

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