serving the dyslexic community
in Maine, NH, and Vermont

Fall 2018 Newsletter --   Edited by J. Beaton, D. Vincent, S. Lurgio
President's Message

The New Hampshire Branch of the International Dyslexia Association (NHIDA) welcomes you back after a delightful summer break! It’s hard to believe that it has already been two years since Governor Maggie Hassan signed HB1644 (August, 2016), which provided that children must be screened and provided reading remediation, when needed, when entering kindergarten or first grade, and at appropriate times thereafter, to monitor progress. The screening was required to begin no later than January 1, 2018. 

This past April, NHIDA followed up with a presentation entitled, “NH’s Dyslexia Law: One Year Later” as part of Nashua Community College's Lecture Series. Panelists Beth McClure, Heidi Zollman, and Paul Lynch discussed the law’s provisions, resources available to school districts and the experience of one NH School District who committed themselves to training teachers in the evidence-based Orton-Gillingham approach. 

As we do each summer, NHIDA cosponsored Wilson Language Training Workshops for several days in July and August. Special thanks to the following volunteers: Lilli Anna Henderson, Kristyn Riley, and board members Sue Lurgio and Shannon Dixon-Yandow.

In August, NHIDA participated in an event created by Kristen Ferullo, School Liaison Officer for The Portsmouth Navy Shipyard. This Back 2 School Bash on Jamaica Island was for the deserving military kids in ME, NH, VT & MA!

Would you like to experience a Dyslexia Simulation ? On September 13 th , as part of the Children's Dyslexia Center-Seacoast Learning Center's Grand Re-Opening in Rochester, NH, NHIDA will provide a guided simulation of what learning can be like for someone with dyslexia. The Grand Re-Opening will begin with a ribbon-cutting at 4 p.m. followed by an open house until 7 p.m. More information on this event and others can be found in this newsletter. If you would like to learn more about hosting a simulation, please contact us at info.nh@dyslexiaIDA.org .

We are so excited as we prepare for the new school year and the return of Ron Yoshimoto for our first Annual Conference to take place in two locations – just days apart, September 19th - Lake Morey Resort, Fairlee, Vermont and the 21st – The Puritan Conference Center, Manchester, NH! As past-experience has taught us, the New Hampshire location sold out quickly and as of this writing we have only a few spots open in Vermont! This year’s workshop, “It’s All Greek to Me” will discuss the layers of the English language, procedures for introducing morphemes, card drills and integration activities. Ron will demonstrate, participants will do!

Did you know this year’s Annual International Conference for IDA is within driving distance? Since it is at Foxwoods Resort in Mashantucket, Connecticut, we hope you are able to attend. The 2018 Reading, Literacy & Learning Conference, for both professionals and families, is October 24-27th. For more information, visit https://dyslexiaida.org/conference .

If you are an IDA member, our heartfelt thanks for your support! If not, please consider becoming a member. The New Hampshire branch works tirelessly toward its mission of increasing awareness of dyslexia in VT, ME and NH. We offer educational conferences, newsletters, workshops, legislation updates, resources, technology, as well as parent and teacher support. Through our membership we continue to spread our mission, and work to provide the many parent and teacher resources needed and valued in NH. We value your input, your work, and the support that you provide every day to children and families. For more information or to join, visit  https://dyslexiaida.org/membership-account/membership-levels .

 My best to you,

Audrey Burke

President -New Hampshire Branch

NHIDA's Fall Conference
is almost here.

We are nearing capacity in Vermont.
Registration will close soon.

"It’s All Greek to Me"
Morphology for
the Primary Grades
Ron Yoshimoto, M.Ed.,
M.S.W., Fellow/AOGPE
Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2018

8:15 AM - 3:00 PM
Lake Morey Resort
Fairlee, Vermont


sold out
8:15 AM - 3:00 PM
Friday, September 22, 2017
Puritan Conference Center
245 Hooksett Road 
Manchester, NH
(just off I-93 Exit 9S)

The national flag of the State of New Hampshire Concord - United States
Reading Specialist is encouraged by educators' response to new law

by Dale Vincent

CONCORD--Natasha Kolehmainen is well suited to her job as a consultant with the New Hampshire Department of Education, helping school districts address the demands of the new state law requiring testing of children for dyslexia and related disorders involving reading.

Not only has Kolehmainen been in the trenches as a teacher and curriculum consultant, but also she is dyslexic and so is her daughter. And so is her daughter’s father. The neurobiological learning disability and related issues run in families.

The law, supported by Decoding Dyslexia of NH and the NHIDA, requires the evaluation of kindergarten or first grade students by Nov. 30 each year.

The required screening took effect in 2017 and no later than Jan. 1, 2018, school districts were to be to be providing age-appropriate, evidence-based intervention strategies for the students identified as dyslexic or with related disorders, including dysgraphia.

In 2017, Beth McClure, principal of Strong Foundations charter school in Pembroke, an Orton-Gillingham fellow and trainer, and Colleen Sliva, principal and special education director at the Spaulding Youth Center, recorded webinars and presented live events for teachers and administrators.

The webinars and transcriptions can be accessed via the state education department website by clicking this link.

Starting in February 2018, Kolehmainen began holding trainings for districts throughout the state. By the end of June, she had held five regional trainings, working with educators at all levels, and has more trainings scheduled before her contract ends in October.

“My job is to provide best practices,” she said. To do that, she said, she has worked with superintendents to paraprofessionals, “everybody who is interested.” (link to continue)
One New Hampshire school district was well prepared for the new dyslexia law

by Dale Vincent

ROCHESTER,NH -- Not to brag, but the Rochester School District is ahead of the curve in complying with the state’s new dyslexia law requiring youngsters to be evaluated for reading issues in kindergarten or first grade by Nov. 30 and then provided with systematic help.

The first group of youngsters who benefited from Rochester’s commitment to provide multisensory Orton-Gillingham training to dyslexic children and those with reading issues is now entering middle school, said Heidi Zollman, who is in charge of curriculum, instruction and assessment in the elementary schools.

Supported by Decoding Dyslexia of NH and the New Hampshire IDA, the law now requires kindergarten or first grade students to be evaluated by Nov. 30 for reading issues and a remediation program begun.

The state also provides a resource guide for testing materials and remediation programs. Each district can choose the method or methods it prefers for remediation. Link to NH DOE's updated Dyslexia Resources and Training Modules

Assistant Superintendent Kyle Repucci said: “We’re not trying to change a lot.” He said the district has been proactive in assessing students’ reading difficulties for years and addressing them. He said what Rochester is doing for youngsters with reading issues is benefitting students without those issues.

Zollman said: “Some things we’ve done for 10 years.” That includes the use of DIBELS, (Dynamic Indicators of Basic Literacy Skills). Zollman said the district has been proactive in assessing preschool early literacy indicators, starting at age 3, and meeting with parents when indicated.

The assessments continued in kindergarten, mostly need-based, said Repucci, and continue as youngsters progress in school. “All our decisions are data informed,” he said.

A variety of evidence-based strategies have been used to help dyslexic children learn to read, but a major focus in recent years (link to continuation of article)


The technology recommendation of a professional writer with dyslexia

Are you familiar with Grammerly? A professional writer with dyslexia discusses her fascination with this free cloud-based software extension as it has been the best spellchecker she has used in her career.

Story of twin boys with dyslexia from the state of Washington

Twin boys with dyslexia finally receive help by leaving their public school district to attend a private school that provides specialized instruction for students with dyslexia.

David Kilpatrick
Save the Date!

NHIDA Annual Conference - September 20, 2019
Featuring David A. Kilpatrick

Puritan Conference Center
245 Hooksett Road 
Manchester, NH
(just off I-93 Exit 9S)

stay tuned for registration info

David A. Kilpatrick, PhD is a professor of psychology for the State
University of New York, College at Cortland. He is a New York State
certified school psychologist with 28 years experience in schools. He has
been teaching courses in learning disabilities and educational psychology
since 1994. David is a reading researcher and the author of two
books on reading, Essentials of Assessing, Preventing, and Overcoming
Reading Difficulties, and Equipped for Reading Success.

close up of a page of a calendar

Orton-Gillingham – Tune-Up Series

Presented by the Children’s Dyslexia Centers – Seacoast Learning Center
What: Bimonthly (every other month) informational sessions for Orton-Gillingham practitioners. Each session will feature a different topic relevant to Orton-Gillingham and dyslexia.

When: The second Thursday every other month starting October 11, 2018 at 6:30

Where: Seacoast Learning Center (Upstairs meeting room) located at 29 Hanson Street, Rochester, NH 03867
Who: Anyone with Orton-Gillingham or Multisensory Structural Language Education training or anyone who is interested in reading and dyslexia. Limited to the first 100 attendees.
COST - FREE with suggested donation of $20

For more information contact the Children’s Dyslexia Centers – Seacoast Learning Center at (603)335-6779.

Calendar of Topics for 2018-2019

Thursday October 11 from 6:30-9:00 - Featuring a video from the ALTA Conference 2017 with Marcia Henry as she presents the history of Orton-Gillingham – When Anna Met Sam – Legend, Lore, and Legacy – facilitated by Brenda Peters

Thursday December 13 from 6:30-8:30 – Visual and Blending Drill with Phoneme Cards at Each Level – Karyn Hubbard
Thursday February 14, 2019 from 6:30-8:30 – History of English – Ingrid Porter
Thursday April 8, 2019 from 6:30-8:30 – Phonemic Awareness – Susan Hourihan
Thursday June 13, 2019 from 6:30-8:30 – GRASP A Grammar and Sentence Punctuation Resource for OG Lessons – Aileen Cormier
Thursday August 8, 2019from 6:30-8:30 – Grapheme Choice Sentences - Lynn MacFarlane

Experience Dyslexia – A Learning Disabilities Simulation

Presented by the New Hampshire International Dyslexia Association in conjunction with the Children’s Dyslexia Centers – Seacoast Learning Center
What: Experience Dyslexia – A Learning Disabilities Simulation is a hands-on experience that is designed to increase awareness of the difficulties and frustrations that people with dyslexia (specific learning disability) encounter daily. It is hoped that this experience will lead to greater empathy and understanding and provide insight into working more effectively with these individuals.

When: Thursday, January 10, 2019 and Thursday, May 9, 2019 from 6:30-8:30

Where: Seacoast Learning Center (Upstairs meeting room) located at 29 Hanson Street, Rochester, NH 03867
Who: Parents, educators, dyslexia specialists, and anyone with an interest in understanding dyslexia experientially. Limited to the first 60 attendees.

Registration is required - Register by calling (603)335-6779.

For more information contact the Children’s Dyslexia Centers – Seacoast Learning Center at (603)335-6779.

Stern Center Professional Learning

South Burlington High School

Monday, 10/01/2018: Fundations Level K
Stern Center for Language and Learning
Williston, Vermont

02/18/2019-02/20/2019: Wilson Reading System Introductory Workshop
Stern Center for Language and Learning
Williston, Vermont

Friday, 04/12/2019: Orton-Gillingham: Beyond the Basics
Stern Center for Language and Learning
Williston, Vermont

Thursday, 04/18/2019: Orton-Gillingham: Advanced Morphology
Stern Center for Language and Learning
Williston, Vermont

Friday, 05/17/2019: Orton-Gillingham: Robust Vocabulary
Stern Center for Language and Learning
Williston, Vermont
Curious about what goes on in a child's brain when you read them a story?
A recently published study of 27 preschool children provides some understanding of how the format of a story (audio, illustrated, animated) affects the activation of brain networks supporting language, visual imagery, and learning.

Study shows physical changes in the brains of students with dyslexia after intensive specialized tutoring

University of Washington reports on a new study where MRI measurements show that the brain’s white matter or neural connections are strengthened, in just eight weeks, by using intense specialized reading instruction. Read how these results have tremendous implications for struggling readers and students with dyslexia.


Most states don't test new teachers on their literacy knowledge or ensure their teacher preparation programs include scientifically based teaching methods.

Recent data released by The National Council of Teacher Quality, reveals that only 11 states require both new elementary and special education teachers to demonstrate their knowledge on the science of reading. Although New Hampshire requires elementary teachers to demonstrate their literacy knowledge by passing the Foundations of Reading test, new special education teachers are not required to take the test to attain a teaching license. Since research demonstrates that 80% of students identified for special education
services are identified based on reading difficulties, the report recommends that all states should require both elementary and special education teachers to be educated and assessed on "the science of reading." The NCTQ report also estimates that only 37 percent of teacher preparation programs actually provide instruction in scientifically based teaching methods:phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension.

Brute strength: inspiring story from a star female college basketball player with dyslexia

A’ja Wilson, acclaimed basketball player at the University of South Carolina, tells of her struggles with dyslexia and how she tried to cover up her difficulties with reading comprehension by playing basketball and convincing her high school team to go to Chick-fil-A, after every game, because she could only order off of that menu. Read how coach Dawn Staley at USC, helped A’Ja realize it was okay to have a learning disability, and to let people know that she had trouble reading. Find out how reading scriptures, mandated by her coach, opened up a whole new world for A’Ja Wilson.

Dyslexia found in high numbers in prisoners but help may be on the way

A recent study found that 80% of inmates in the Huntsville, Texas state prison, were functionally illiterate and that 48% of those were dyslexic. Read how actor-producer Ameer Baraka, himself dyslexic and a former prisoner, together with US Senator Bill Cassidy and his wife Laura, are working tirelessly to pass a bill in Congress where it would be mandated that inmates are screened for dyslexia and are given proper instruction when needed. As stated by Senator Cassidy, “We need to make this work, for the individual, for their family, for society. We're all better off if people are earning a paycheck, paying taxes, than committing crime and going back to jail."

Texas wrongly places students with dyslexia on 504 plans rather than IEP's

Federal education officials slammed Texas for its handling of dyslexic students, many of whom were put on 504 accommodation plans, rather than getting special education services under IDEA. Perhaps not a surprise in a state that claimed the number of students needing special education services decreased as the total number of enrolled students increased dramatically.

Federal judge dismisses Detroit lawsuit: access to literacy not a constitutional right

Detroit’s underperforming schools, which serve mostly black students, lack teachers, books, supplies and a reasonably comfortable physical environment. But a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit against the state, saying “access to literacy” isn’t a constitutional right and there was no evidence of overt racial discrimination.

Federal judges allows California lawsuit to move forward: access to literacy is a constitutional right.

The lawsuit, brought by the same law firm as the above Michigan case, seeks recognition of a constitutional right to literacy.

The difficulties of being dyslexic in Australia

Imagine living someplace where dyslexia isn’t legally recognized as a learning disability and appropriate services offered in schools. A mother in Australia writes about not only what that means in terms of getting an adequate education for her dyslexic daughter, but also about celebrating the upside of dyslexia.

Foxwoods Resort
2018 IDA National Conference 

Foxwoods Resort

Mashantucket, Connecticut

October 24-27th, 2018

   Orton Oak status is conferred upon
 individuals who have been IDA members
for 25 years or longer. 

  NHIDA is grateful to its  Orton Oaks and to these other long-term members for their steadfast commitment to the organization .

   Are you a teacher, parent, individual with dyslexia, professional, school, or other organization?

Become a member of IDA today!  

The benefits of membership vary
according to membership level,
Are you a service provider? 
Become a member at the professional level and have your name/business included in NHIDA's provider list. 
Are you a runner? Would you like to train to be a runner? Join International Dyslexia Association's endurance training and fundraising program to help adults and more than 10 million children struggling with dyslexia.

Not a runner? There is a way to join and raise funds to educate teachers on the Structured Literacy Approach to reading.

If you would like to turn your running into a way to educate people about dyslexia and raise funds for IDA, email us at contact.nh@dyslexiaida.org .  

You can find information on upcoming running events, as well as joining the movement to raise funds to educate teachers on the Structured Literacy Approach to reading by clicking here


NHIDA's Board of Directors consists of up to 15 individuals who serve on a volunteer basis for 2 or 3 year terms. Members of the Board are guided and assisted in their work by former Directors who serve on the Advisory Board .
2018 Board Officers:

President : Audrey Burke, Bow, NH
Past President : Anne Eaton, Concord, NH
Vice President : Michelle Stinson, Hanover, NH
Secretary : Rebecca Nelson-Avery, Manchester, NH
Treasurer : Anne Eaton, Concord, NH

2018 Members at Large:

Jayne Beaton, Amherst, NH
Leslie Benton-Norris, Manchester, NH
Shannon Dixon-Yandow, Essex Junction, VT
Anne Ehret, Arlington, VT
Kara Garvey-Knapp, East Dummerston, VT
Jill Hartmann, Chester, NH
Sue Lurgio, Dunbarton, NH

Advisory Board:

Aileen Cormier, Amherst, NH
Valerie Leuchter, Barnstead, NH
Melissa Farrall, St. Albans, VT
Claudia Golda-Dominguez, Hudson, NH
Renee LeCain, Sandown, NH
Beth McClure, Canterbury, NH
Sue Morbey, Amherst, NH
E. Bette Nelson, Manchester, NH
Caryl Patten, Bedford, NH
Michael Patten, Westfield, MA
P.O. Box 3724, Concord, NH 03302-3724
(603) 229-7355 (to leave a message)