Taking on Dyslexia

As defined in Section 3635 of the First Step Act: “The term dyslexia means an unexpected difficulty in reading for an individual who has the intelligence to be a much better reader, most commonly caused by a difficulty in the phonological processing (the appreciation of the individual sounds of spoken language), which affects the ability of an individual to speak, read, and spell.”

Dyslexia is an issue that is very important to me, both as a parent of a dyslexic child and as a Senator. According to NIH sponsored research, nearly 20 percent of the U.S. population has dyslexia. Dyslexia is unexpected because these bright children struggle to learn to read and write. We must ensure that our federal education policies provide appropriate screening in kindergarten and first grade and an evidence-based education that will help our students with dyslexia succeed.

We must also recognize the role illiteracy plays in our prison incarceration and recidivism rates. Since dyslexia is the overwhelming reason people are illiterate, The First Step Act, which President Trump signed into law, included my provision to screen inmates for dyslexia so they can receive the assistance they need to learn to read, reenter society and break the cycle of incarceration.