By Hal Malchow, President, IDA
As 2014 draws to a close, I want to report on an amazing year for the International Dyslexia Association.
IDA is an organization on the move. In the last twelve months, our membership has grown by 17%. Our revenues are growing, and for the first time in years, we finished our fiscal year with a six-figure surplus. We have strengthened our organization by expanding our board to include businesspeople, marketers, and fundraisers who bring new skills to our boardroom. And we have recently developed new policies that we expect to result in more IDA branches in the near future.
On January 19th, IDA will officially launch its new website. This website has been designed and built under the direction of John Mayo Smith, a member of the IDA Board and a nationally recognized marketer. His clients have included Google, Facebook, NIKE, and AARP. This new site will transform IDA’s web presence, do a much better job of serving our members, and demonstrate our continuing progress in building a stronger and more effective IDA.
Changing Reading Instruction
We all know the number one problem facing students with dyslexia. The problem is that most schools do not teach reading in a way that is effective for children with dyslexia. Parents with children in these schools must seek out private academic language therapists, educational therapists, or tutors—if they can afford them. If they can’t, many of these children never achieve competency in a skill that is foundational to all academic success.
The good news is that the approach to reading instruction most effective for students who learn differently is also the approach that works best for most struggling readers — so IDA has launched a campaign to bring evidence-based reading instruction to our classrooms.
We began by defining evidence-based reading instruction in our Knowledge and Practice Standards. We have begun accrediting universities that prepare their graduates to bring what we call “Structured Literacy” to the classroom. We have accredited sixteen programs so far. In April of this year, our board appropriated $250,000 to build a certification exam that will provide credentials to teachers trained to deliver Structured Literacy.
Now we are assembling the research to demonstrate to educators the effectiveness of Structured Literacy instruction. We are collecting success stories that demonstrate how Structured Literacy can improve reading scores in our schools. We are building a coalition of organizations that support evidence-based reading instruction not just for children who learn differently but for all struggling readers.Through this coalition, we can speak to these issues with one voice on behalf of all children who are learning to read.
We are excited about our progress in building this coalition and preparing the campaign to come. IDA’s Board is completely united in focusing on this important and difficult mission. We look forward to bringing better reading instruction to classrooms across America.
So we enter 2015 larger in membership, stronger financially, and armed with a clear and singular focus on the most important mission our organization has ever undertaken. I thank all of our members for their support in making this progress possible and look forward to an even more successful year in 2015.
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