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Join Us! Vermont Action for Structured Literacy! 

By Brittany Lovejoy, IDA-NNEA Board Member

Vermonters are ramping up to organize and promote recommendations for structured literacy and dyslexia screening at the local and state levels. Momentum for positive change has skyrocketed since the October 2023 publication of Alison Novak’s article in Seven Days, “Reading Reckoning: Too Many Vermont Kids Struggle to Read. What Went Wrong — and Can Educators Reverse a Yearslong Slide in Literacy?”

Since Novak’s article, IDA-NNEA members have met weekly to draft recommendations to address her call to significantly improve student reading proficiency in Vermont and strategize ways to advocate for the introduction of recommendations into the Vermont State Legislature for passage by June 2024. The drafted bill includes five major components: 

I. State leadership and accountability

II. Systematic assessment of reading proficiency: student screening and progress monitoring, including response to instruction

III. Curriculum and instruction

IV. Educator training

V. Preservice training

We need your help! This is the time to make a real difference! Here’s how you can get involved! 

Take Action Now!

  • Share your own experience highlighting the need for improved literacy in Vermont by emailing Vermont State Representative Tesha Buss, a strong advocate for passing a bill that will lead to thousands more children learning to read! Her email address is: [email protected]
  • Contact [email protected] to receive email updates on the bill’s progress and next action steps, to get support with advocacy, or to join our planning meetings.
  • Discover and share resources:
  • Alison Novak’s Seven Days article Reading Reckoning
  • Sarah Carr’s powerful new report in Scientific American that features a Vermont story, A Flawed Way of Diagnosing Dyslexia Leaves Thousands of Kids without Help
  • Emily Hanford’s podcast, Sold a Story or an abridged version on Reveal
  • Write or call your state senators and representatives to express your support for the bill, and, if you choose, offer to testify and share your perspective on the reading crisis and how we can teach nearly every Vermont student to read. 
  • Contact your local school board representatives and superintendent’s office to ask about literacy curriculum, instruction, and assessment and teacher training in your district.
  • Write letters to the editor of local and state papers and other media outlets and post your support on social media sites. 
  • Educate family, friends, and neighbors about how children learn to read and what our state needs to improve.

Over the years I have supported many parents with children who have dyslexia. Without a screening or structured-language law, parents have found themselves needing to heavily advocate for their children to be tested and remediated. At times they search for support blindly – their children’s schools refuse to acknowledge the problem or don’t know how to remediate dyslexia. Their stories can break your heart and financial costs can be enormous. Some students have fallen so far behind their peers, that they experience low self-esteem and social anxiety. 

When schools do not provide early, effective instruction, and wait for students to fail, parents find themselves desperate. I am frequently contacted by parents looking for tutors, seeking support in their request for an educational evaluation, or help navigating the special-education system. I find that I need to teach them, not only about the evaluation and special-education eligibility process and politics within the process, but also the learning needs of children with dyslexia and the importance of a well-trained literacy specialist to provide that instruction. 

Thank you so much for your support. We need a strong structured literacy bill to protect educators and the children and families of Vermont. The vitality of our state’s future depends on it.

Science of Reading: Helpful Resources

You’ve heard the words, Science of Reading, but may be wondering, where do I find the most current research and evidence based information? Check out some of these sites to begin or continue your learning journey.

“The science of reading is a vast, interdisciplinary body of scientifically-based research about reading and issues related to reading and writing.” The Reading League has developed The Science of Reading: Defining Guide. It’s available as a free resource for download or as a hard copy for purchase. 

Print Based

Reading Rockets


Amplify. Science of Reading is for Everyone webinar series.

Voyager Sopris

What is the Science of Reading? with Holly Lane, PhD

Lexia. The Science of Reading

The Science of Reading: Why Didn’t We Learn What We Needed to Know in College? by Donna Hejtmanek


Science of Reading Podcast Index from The Measured Mom

Melissa and Lori Love Literacy

The Reading League Podcasts

EdView 360


Amplify. Science of Reading podcasts

Iowa Reading Research Center

Sources/Blogs to Follow

The Right to Read Project

National Center on Improving Literacy

The Literacy Nest




RISE Arkansas

EdWeb Webinars

Professional Organizations to Follow


The Reading League

National Center on Improving Literacy

Florida Center for Reading Research

International Dyslexia Association

2023 IDA-NNEA Annual Conference a Great Success!

Over 335 attendees from 19 states, Canada, and New Zealand attended our fall 2023 online conference, Unraveling the Strands: Digging Deeper Into the Science of Reading. Attendees joined for one or both days or viewed the posted videos, and had the option of registering for the conference during the two weeks afterwards in order to view the videos.

The most popular streams have been:

  • Why I Love This Language: In Celebration of English Orthography with Dr. Louisa Moats
  • Keynote address on current reading research findings with Dr. Linnea Ehri 
  • Keynote address on teaching structured literacy with Dr. Carol Tolman

We sincerely thank our sponsors for their support of children and families affected by dyslexia and their support of teachers and leaders who are advancing structured literacy.

Gold Sponsors: Amplify and Wilson Language Training

Silver Sponsors: Hand2Mind, Credentials Unlimited, Literacy Learning Solutions, LLC, Stern Center for Language and Learning, and Keys to Literacy

Special Sponsor for the film and panel presentation of Blame It on Gutenberg: Lexia.

College Corner

By Elaine Miskinis, IDA-NNEA Board Member

High school seniors around the country are now putting the final touches on college essays, filling out college applications, and settling in for the long wait to find out where their educational journey will lead them next. Being accepted into a college is an important milestone and finding the right place for higher education is crucial. When prospective students who have dyslexia ask the right questions, they can gain valuable insight into the nature of each school and the supports and accommodations offered. 

Here is a wide range of questions to ask representatives of a prospective college, university, or other postsecondary institution during the application process:


  • Is a foreign language required for graduation and, if so, are accommodations, waivers, or alternative courses offered to dyslexic students?

Support Services:

  • What academic support services are available for students with dyslexia, and how can students access these on a regular basis?
  • Are there specialized tutoring programs or resources available? If yes, what is offered and how do students access these?
Read More

New Voices...

In this feature, IDA-NNEA Board Member Dorinne Dorfman, Ed. S., Ed. D., Orton-Gillingham Associate Level, interviews a young adult as well as adults working on their behalf. Sharing such stories offers inspiration and hope to the wider community as well as empowers the interviewees in the journey to address challenges and achieve goals.

Spaulding Twins

New Voices IDA-NNEA Nov/Dec 2023 Newsletter

photo: Daria Bishop Rita and Julia Spaulding are identical twins who have lived in Vermont their whole lives. They have begun their senior year of high school dually enrolled as full-time students at the Community College of Vermont. Dorinne Dorfman, Ed. S., Ed. D.

Read More

Voices in Reading Research IDA-NNEA Nov/Dec 2023 Newsletter

Voices in Reading Research: Interview with Dr. Jeremy Miciak, Department of Psychology, University of Houston In this new feature, IDA-NNEA Board Member Dorinne Dorfman, Ed. S. , Ed. D. , Orton-Gillingham Associate Level, interviews reading researchers and other professionals devoted to all people learning to read well.

Read More

Professional Development Opportunities

IDA-NNEA is happy to continue a program we began in December 2020 called READ for Parents. READ stands for Research, Education, and Advocacy on Dyslexia.

We host free 60-90 minutes virtual webinars for parents and educators every other month focusing on a topic from the IDA Dyslexia Fact Sheets.

If you're not familiar with the fact sheets, be sure to check them out; they are current, relevant, and full of great information.


In addition to our board member panelists, each session includes a guest speaker with deep knowledge of the topic. See below to register for our free June Zoom webinar.

Upcoming READ for Parents


IDA-NNEA & ALTA NH present





Register Here

Come Join Your Colleagues

Come Join your colleagues, professionals, and those interested in literacy. Are you a service provider or organization? Special Rates are available.

Join IDA



IDA-NNEA's Board of Directors consists of up to 17 individuals who serve on a volunteer basis for 2- or 3-year terms. Many previous Board Directors now serve on our Advisory Board providing guidance and assistance.

2023 Board Officers:

President: Susan Hourihan, ME

Immediate Past President: Brenda Peters, NH

Vice President: Kristine Reilly, NH

Treasurer: Karyn Hubbard, ME

Secretary: Jennifer Cyr, ME

2023 Members at Large:

Dorinne Dorfman, VT

Nancy Kring-Burns, NH

Brittany Lovejoy, VT

Elaine Miskinis, NH

Amy Phalon, ME

Andrea Pollock, NH

Abby Roy, VT

Brenda Warren, VT

Heidi Zollman, NH

Rachel Brown-Chidsey, ME

Marcia Davis, VT

Advisory Board:

Jayne Beaton, NH

Bebe Casey, NH

Aileen Cormier, NH

Anne Eaton, NH

Anne Ehret, VT

Beth McClure, NH

Caryl Patten, MA

Michael Patten, MA

Melissa Farrall, VT

Claudia Golda-Dominguez, NH

Renee LeCain, Sandown, NH

Susan Morbey, NH

Shannon Dixon-Yandow, VT

Michelle Stinson, NH

Dale Vincent, NH

Jacqui Kelleher, VT

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