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The Nourished Reader

A space dedicated to providing information, ideas, tips, and support ​for those working with young readers.

Hi There, I'm Jessica

I hold a Ph.D. in Education with a specialization in ​reading and literacy and have spent the past 20 ​years training reading teachers at the university ​level. I am passionate about supporting children ​with reading difficulties and working with their ​parents. To further this mission, I created this ​website, which serves as a resource for parents of​ struggling readers, providing valuable information an​d support in one convenient location.



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“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.”

-International Dyslexia Association, 2022

Dyslexia Facts:

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Between 15-20%

Perhaps as many as 15–20% of the population as a whole—have some of the symptoms of dyslexia, including slow or inaccurate reading, poor spelling, poor writing, or mixing up similar words.

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Runs In Families

Dyslexia runs in families; parents with dyslexia are very likely to have children with dyslexia.

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Does Not Discriminate

Dyslexia occurs in people of all backgrounds, genders, and intellectual levels.

Signs of dyslexia include problems:

Learning to speak

Reading quickly enough to comprehend

Learning letters and their sounds

Persisting with and comprehending longer reading assignments

Organizing written and spoken language


Memorizing number facts

Learning a foreign language

Correctly doing math operations

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Next Steps:

Individual Education Plan (Texas - ARD):

US schools help dyslexic students by creating an Individualized Education Plan. Talk to your child's teacher to make a plan for success.

Early Intervention:

Effective intervention for dyslexia involves the implementation of targeted educational methods and strategies. The sooner this intervention is initiated, the greater the success.

Read With Your Child:

Set aside daily time to read together, encourage your child to read on their own, and have them read aloud to you.

Work With A Specialist/Specialized Tutor:

For children with dyslexia, tutoring sessions with a reading specialist can be very beneficial. In cases where the reading disability is severe, tutoring may be required more often, and progress may be slower.

Free Course Available Through Yale University


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Check out this AWESOME free course about dyslexia:

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The Struggling Reader

A child who has difficulty learning to read is considered a struggling reader. These children find reading challenging and frustrating for various reasons, including difficulties with phonological processing, reading comprehension, and fluency.

It's essential to note that struggling readers are not necessarily dyslexic readers. Dyslexia is a specific learning difference that has a neurobiological origin, affecting not only reading but also information processing, memory, and organizational skills.

Facts About Struggling Readers:

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Instruction Matters!

Kids who struggle usually have problems sounding out words. Most reading difficulties stem from challenges in decoding and word recognition.

Phonemic Awareness - Phonics Instruciton Matter!

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Intervention Is Key!

More than 88 percent of children who have difficulty reading at the end of first grade display similar difficulties at the end of fourth grade.

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Reading Makes A big Difference!

It’s important to cultivate phonemic awareness, phonics skills, and reading comprehension in children from an early age. A great way to do this is by reading to your child, encouraging them to read to you, and being consistent with the practice throughout schooling.

The PTA's Role in ​Advocating for ​Exceptional Students ​and Families Through ​the Exceptional ​Student Education ​Committee (ESEC)

(Special Ed, Dyslexia, Gifted, Speech/​Language, and 504)

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What is Special Education

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Special Education is a term used to describe the assistance provided to students with disabilities. These students often require tailored educational programs that may include modifications and accommodations or other adjustments to cater to the specific needs, abilities, and limitations of a learner.

Does Your PTA Need A ESEC/Special Education Committee?

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If your school serves children with special needs, it would be beneficial to initiate a ESEC.

Detecting disabilities in children can be ​difficult as they may not display any ​apparent distinctions.

The term "Special Needs" encompasses ​a variety of diagnoses, including children ​with a wide range of conditions and ​disabilities.

It is estimated that one in ten children ​have a disability.

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ESEC/SPED Committee Goals:

  • Supporting parents of children with special needs by providing information and assistance to help their children reach their full potential.
  • Collaborating with schools to help staff support children with special needs more effectively.
  • Educating parents and members of the community about children with special needs to promote understanding and support for all children.
  • Encouraging all children to appreciate and understand the challenges faced by those with special needs.
  • Advocating for adequate laws and funding to support children with special needs.
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5 Goals For Successful PTA ESEC/SPED Committees

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Welcome Families

Collaborate & Communicate







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Families of students with disabilities may feel disconnected and left out due to barriers that may not be obvious to others. By simply asking these families what they need to feel welcome, you can advocate for their needs and foster a stronger sense of belonging.

Collaborating with schools to help staff support children with special needs more effectively.

Ask about how the PTA can support exceptional children's needs. Even simply acknowledging that you are unsure about what to ask can be a positive first step.

Communicate & Collaborate

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Educating parents, teachers, students, and members of the community about children with special needs to promote understanding and support for all children.

Consider: activities, presentations, speakers, and information.


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When additional voices join parents in advocating for their needs, it fosters solidarity and provides much-needed support.


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Encouraging all children to appreciate and understand the challenges faced by those with special needs.


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Supporting special needs students and their families is crucial for creating a strong community that values inclusion and representation.

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Pointing Parents In the Right Direction

Support Ideas:

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