Literacy is a cornerstone of education, serving as a fundamental building block for acquiring knowledge and shaping student success. In 2023, the State Legislature determined that screening students for the risk of reading difficulties—including dyslexia—should be part of a school’s comprehensive instructional strategy. Through California Education Code Section 53008, educators will be required to use screening to inform individualized instruction, measure progress, identify learning needs, and enable parents and educators to discuss student needs in a more informed way.
The 2023 Education Omnibus Budget Trailer Bill (Section 83, Chapter 48) provides funding for the State Board of Education to appoint a panel of independent experts to evaluate and select evidence-based, culturally, linguistically, and developmentally appropriate screening methods that will assess students in kindergarten through second grade for risk of reading difficulties.
One of the experts the State Board of Education appointed this month to the Reading Difficulties Risk Screener Selection Panel (RDRSSP) is Tamara (Tami) Wilson, Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE) Director of Development and Training for the K–12 Curriculum and Instruction Department, and the Project Lead for the California Dyslexia Initiative. Wilson will join eight other experts on the panel, serving a two-year term.
SCOE Literacy Efforts
The Sacramento County Office of Education and its partners are providing tools and training to educators to help them recognize and support students in reaching their reading and literacy milestones. “Literacy is crucial to student success,” said Tami Wilson. “It’s an honor for me to join this panel since SCOE is committed to helping increase the number of students who read at grade level. Statewide, only 47% of students met or exceeded standards in English language arts according to state CAASPP data. Percentages for many student groups fall well below that number. I am excited that, through this work, California will take a preventative approach, using screening in grades K–2 to provide early intervention for our most at-risk students.”
SCOE’s K–12 Curriculum and Instruction Department has been instrumental in leading the California Dyslexia Initiative, an effort to build capacity and resources across California’s educational systems to address the needs of struggling readers at risk for—and with—dyslexia. The initiative has coordinated a variety of statewide community of practice cohorts, expert webinars, professional learning opportunities, informational newsletters, and other useful information for educators.
SCOE has also launched the Sacramento County READS literacy initiative, a transformative approach to literacy and reading success. The mission is to foster a collaborative environment of teaching and learning, underpinned by the science of reading, to ensure every learner thrives. Through partnerships, innovative programs, and supportive services, Sacramento County READS is dedicated to making literacy accessible and achievable for all.