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READ Act Passes House of Representatives, Expands Research in Dyslexia

Written October 27, 2015

“We need to enable those with dyslexia to achieve their maximum potential. The READ Act will help accomplish this.”       – Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX), Chairman, House Science Space, Technology Committee

 

As ADHD, Dyslexia and Learning Disabilities Awareness Month comes to a close, leaders in the House of Representatives have been furiously working to pass the Research Excellence and Advancements for Dyslexia Act.

Last night, these efforts paid off:  the House of Representatives passed the READ Act, taking the bill one step closer to becoming law.  (Watch the debate here!)

What is the READ Act?

The READ Act is bi-partisan legislation introduced by Congressman Lamar Smith and Congresswoman Julia Brownley (D-CA), who also co-chair the House Dyslexia Caucus.  Driven by their personal connections to dyslexia, Smith and Brownley have made it a priority to create a national conversation about dyslexia and learning disabilities.

Specifically, the READ Act:

  • Requires the President’s annual budget request to Congress to include a line item for the Research in Disabilities Education program of the National Science Foundation (NSF).
  • Requires the NSF to devote at least $5 million annually to dyslexia research, which would focus on best practices in the following areas:
  • Early identification of children and students with dyslexia
  • Professional development about dyslexia for teachers and administrators
  • Curricula development and evidence-based educational tools for children with dyslexia

Importantly, the research supported by the READ Act could help drive better literacy instruction and interventions for the millions of students who struggle in reading for a variety of reasons, including dyslexia and other types of learning disabilities.

What Have Members of Congress Said About the READ Act?

The READ Act has been moving quickly through the House of Representatives, thanks to Reps. Smith, Brownley and others.  You can watch Members of Congress talk about the READ Act during the floor debate, mark-up, and hearing, which have all occurred over the last few months.

What’s Next?

On October 26th, the READ Act passed the House of Representatives. Before it can become law, the Senate must also introduce and pass its own version of the READ Act. While the path forward may take some time to complete, passing the House is a crucial step forward in this process.

How Can You Help Advance the READ Act?

Once the READ Act is introduced in the Senate it will be important to tell your Senators to co-sponsor the bill to show broad, bi-partisan support.  NCLD will be sure to alert you when the Senate bill is introduced so you can reach out to your Senators.

In the Meantime…

Please spread the word about the READ Act by sharing this information with your friends and colleagues!

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