Dyslexia Information

The mission of Winona Independent School District Dyslexia Department is to:

Provide all eligible students with dyslexia with the multi-sensory and phonological awareness skills necessary to compensate for deficiencies in the areas of reading, writing, and spelling, in order to nurture a strong self-esteem and to provide opportunities for them to develop their talents.


  • Becoming a competent reader and writer is an essential foundation, for education and for life. Building this foundation and establishing the assurance that all students will be reading on or above grade level is a priority for the Winona ISD..
    Children learn to read, write and spell in different ways. A balanced reading program should meet the needs of most students. Students who do not learn to read, write and spell in spite of a broad, balanced reading program are offered a variety of alternative strategies and support. If these instructional strategies and additional support are not successful, the school may consider evaluation in the area of dyslexia or other related disorders. Students who show signs of dyslexia may need intervention to be successful in school. Winona ISD offers programs and services at each campus to those students who meet program qualifications.

What is Dyslexia?

  • The student who struggles with reading and spelling often puzzles teachers and parents.  The student displays average ability to learn in the absence of print and receives the same classroom instruction that benefits most children; however, the student continues to struggle with some or all of the many facets of reading and spelling.  This student may be a student with dyslexia.

  1. Texas Education Code (TEC) §38.003 defines dyslexia and related disorders in the following way: “Dyslexia” means a disorder of constitutional origin manifested by a difficulty in learning to read, write, or spell, despite conventional instruction, adequate intelligence, and sociocultural opportunity

  2. . “Related disorders” include disorders similar to or related to dyslexia, such as developmental auditory imperception, dysphasia, specific developmental dyslexia, developmental dysgraphia, and developmental spelling disability. TEC §38.003(d)(1)-(2) (1995) http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/ED/htm/ED.38.htm#38.003 

  3. The International Dyslexia Association defines “dyslexia” in the following way: Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurobiological in origin. It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction. Secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede growth of vocabulary and background knowledge.

Adopted by the International Dyslexia Association Board of Directors, November 12, 2002

Common Risk Factors Associated with Dyslexia

If the following behaviors are unexpected for an individual’s age, educational level, or cognitive abilities, they may be risk factors associated with dyslexia. A student with dyslexia usually exhibits several of these behaviors that persist over time and interfere with his/her learning. A family history of dyslexia may be present; in fact, recent studies reveal that the whole spectrum of reading disabilities is strongly determined by genetic predispositions (inherited aptitudes) (Olson, Keenan, Byrne, & Samuelsson, 2014). 

The following characteristics identify risk factors associated with dyslexia at different stages or grade levels. 


 • Delay in learning to talk

 • Difficulty with rhyming 

 • Difficulty pronouncing words (e.g., “pusgetti” for “spaghetti,” “mawn lower” for “lawn   


 • Poor auditory memory for nursery rhymes and chants

 • Difficulty adding new vocabulary words

 • Inability to recall the right word (word retrieval)

 • Trouble learning and naming letters and numbers and remembering the letters in his/ her 


• Aversion to print (e.g., doesn’t enjoy following along if a book is read aloud) 

Kindergarten and First Grade 

• Difficulty breaking words into smaller parts, or syllables (e.g., “baseball” can be pulled apart 

    into “base” “ball” or “napkin” can be pulled apart into “nap” “kin”)

 • Difficulty identifying and manipulating sounds in syllables (e.g., “man” sounded out as /m/ 

   /ă/ /n/)

 • Difficulty remembering the names of letters and recalling their corresponding sounds 

• Difficulty decoding single words (reading single words in isolation) • Difficulty spelling words 

  the way they sound (phonetically) or remembering letter sequences in very common words 

  seen often in print (e.g., “sed” for “said”) 

Second Grade and Third Grade 

Many of the previously described behaviors remain problematic along with the following:

 • Difficulty recognizing common sight words (e.g., “to,” “said,” “been”)

 • Difficulty decoding single words 

• Difficulty recalling the correct sounds for letters and letter patterns in reading

 • Difficulty connecting speech sounds with appropriate letter or letter combinations and 

   omitting letters in words for spelling (e.g., “after” spelled “eftr”)

 • Difficulty reading fluently (e.g., reading is slow, inaccurate, and/or without expression)

 • Difficulty decoding unfamiliar words in sentences using knowledge of phonics 

• Reliance on picture clues, story theme, or guessing at words

 • Difficulty with written expression

Fourth Grade through Sixth Grade 

Many of the previously described behaviors remain problematic along with the following: 

• Difficulty reading aloud (e.g., fear of reading aloud in front of classmates) 

• Avoidance of reading (particularly for pleasure) • Difficulty reading fluently (e.g., reading is   

  slow, inaccurate, and/or without expression) 

• Difficulty decoding unfamiliar words in sentences using knowledge of phonics 

• Acquisition of less vocabulary due to reduced independent reading 

• Use of less complicated words in writing that are easier to spell than more appropriate 

  words (e.g., “big” instead of “enormous”) 

• Reliance on listening rather than reading for comprehension 

Middle School and High School 

Many of the previously described behaviors remain problematic along with the following: 

• Difficulty with the volume of reading and written work 

• Frustration with the amount of time required and energy expended for reading 

• Difficulty reading fluently (e.g., reading isslow, inaccurate, and/or without expression)

 • Difficulty decoding unfamiliar words in sentences using knowledge of phonics

 • Difficulty with written assignments 

• Tendency to avoid reading (particularly for pleasure) 

• Difficulty learning a foreign language 


Some students will not be identified as having dyslexia prior to entering college. The early years of reading difficulties evolve into slow, labored reading fluency. Many students will experience extreme frustration and fatigue due to the increasing demands of reading as the result of dyslexia. In making a diagnosis for dyslexia, a student’s reading history, familial/genetic predisposition, and assessment history are critical. Many of the previously described behaviors may remain problematic along with the following: 

• Difficulty pronouncing names of people and places or parts of words 

• Difficulty remembering names of people and places 

• Difficulty with word retrieval • Difficulty with spoken vocabulary

 • Difficulty completing the reading demands for multiple course requirements 

• Difficulty with notetaking • Difficulty with written production

 • Difficulty remembering sequences (e.g., mathematical and/or scientific formulas) 

Appendix H, Students with Disabilities Preparing for Postsecondary Education: Know Your Rights and Responsibilities has been included for additional information. Since dyslexia is a neurobiological, language-based disability that persists over time and interferes with an individual’s learning, it is critical that identification and intervention occur as early as possible. 

Dyslexia Handbook Link

The Dyslexia Handbook—2018 Update: Procedures Concerning Dyslexia and Related Disorders (PDF)

Winona ISD Dyslexia Contacts

Aliscia Long, CALT Kristin Tillman

District Dyslexia Coordinator Elementary Counselor/504 Coordinator

(903) 939-4868 (903) 939-4806

along@winonaisd.org Ktillman@winonaisd.org

Kelly Wilkes Carmen Henderson

Middle School Counselor/504 Coordinator    High School 504 Coordinator

(903) 939-4043 (903) 939-4104

kwilkes@winonaisd.org chenderson@winonaisd.org

Angela Adams

District Special Education Director

(903) 939- 4881





Region 7 Dyslexia Contact

Angela Venters

Dyslexia Specialist

Region 7 Education Service Center

1909 North Longview Street

Kilgore, TX 75662

Phone: (903) 988-6788

Other Web Resources about Dyslexia