In The Classroom: She’s pioneering Summit’s first program for dyslexia 

Today we are IN THE CLASSROOM learning about a new and promising approach to dyslexia at Summit School District, where Stacia Slaughter, the literary resource teacher at Breckenridge Elementary School, has a person connection to her work. 

“My twins have dyslexia,” she says. “Both of my children found out during COVID and that’s what started me on this journey, was just finding a solution for them.” 

About one in five people across the globe have dyslexia. It sits on a spectrum, like other disorders, and it can be treated.  

But first, Mrs. Slaughters says, it helps to know what dyslexia is. 

“Dyslexia is a neurobiological issue,” she explains. “It’s a learning difference. It basically means that the brain is wired differently for reading.” 

It also helps to know what dyslexia is not. 

“Dyslexic kids, it doesn’t affect their IQ,” she says. “It does affect the way that their brain processes information.” 

Inspired by her children, Mrs. Slaughter brought specialized dyslexia curriculum to Breck El. This school year she worked with 65 students in every grade – just about equal to the global rate of one in five. 

“Gradually over time, with this very structured, very intensive remediation, they have worked so hard and they’re on grade level,” she says. “Sometimes I’m the first layer of intervention. There can be additional learning disabilities as well, so getting that identification and figuring out how to support their learning, that can go to our special ed teacher too. These kids just needed a little bit more. We can close this gap. It’s not a life sentence.” 

She gives the example of other COVID kids, like her twins, who fell behind with virtual learning at a critical time for young students. 

“It’s a matter of changing and shifting our perspectives,” she says, “and teaching to make it more equitable across the board for a disability that really you can’t see.” 

The work she is doing now at Breck El is the first of its kind of at Summit School District. 

But she hopes it is just the beginning. 

“I’ve been really advocating for more people to be trained in this way, and so many teachers want to do that,” she says. “There is a way to remediate this. We can close this gap and kids can learn to read. It is not a life sentence if you have this struggle.” 

IN THE CLASSROOM is proudly presented by Heavenly Times Hot Tubs and Billiards and the Summit Foundation Bright Futures Fund