If the persistent achievement gap between dyslexic and typical readers is to be narrowed or even closed, reading interventions must be implemented early, when children are still developing the basic foundation for reading acquisition. The persistent achievement gap poses serious consequences for dyslexic readers, including lower rates of high school graduation, higher levels of unemployment, and lower earnings because of lowered college attainment. Implementing effective reading programs early, even in preschool and kindergarten, offers the potential to reduce and perhaps even close the achievement gap between dyslexic and typical readers and bring their trajectories closer over time. —Ferrer, et al., Achievement Gap in Reading Is Present as Early as First Grade and Persists through Adolescence, 2015
The importance of early interventions for students with reading difficulties cannot be overstated. In order for early interventions to be provided, a student must first be identified as at risk for dyslexia or another reading difficulty. The requirement in TEC §38.003 that all kindergarten and first-grade students be screened for dyslexia and related disorders is aligned with this shift to identify students at risk for dyslexia and reading difficulties when they are just beginning their formal education. Universal screeners generally measure reading or literacy-related skills such as sound-symbol recognition, letter knowledge, phonological awareness, and other skills.