Right to Read: DDON response

For release:  February 28, 2022

“It is time for change.”

Today, the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) released the findings of their ground-breaking, two-year Right to Read inquiry into the systemic discrimination facing students with dyslexia in Ontario public schools.

As parents of dyslexic children, and volunteers working with thousands of families across the province, we are thankful that the OHRC took the time to listen to our children and the parent community we represent, when no one else would.

The Right to Read inquiry report accurately identifies the barriers and harm that our children experience in Ontario schools. It calls for early identification and effective interventions for students with reading disabilities, of which dyslexia is the most common.

Key Findings

We agree with a key finding of the report: “that by not using evidence-based approaches to teach students to read, Ontario’s public education system is failing students with reading disabilities such as dyslexia, and other students.

Further, we applaud the equity lens applied by the OHRC. It rendered visible what we hear everyday from parents that because of marginalization and structural inequality, specific groups of children are at increased risk for reading difficulties: Black and other racialized students, First Nations, Métis and Inuit students, multilingual students, or students from low-income backgrounds. This means that the most vulnerable are also those who can not afford to pay for diagnosis or reading instruction.

The OHRC concludes that “students with dyslexia can no longer be excluded from an education in Ontario when we know how to effectively teach reading to all students.”

Key recommendatons

The report offers hope with sound recommendations for significant change.

It calls for “critical changes to Ontario’s approach to early reading, in areas such as curriculum and instruction, screening, reading interventions, accommodations and professional assessments.”

There are two that strike us as having an immediate impact on our dyslexic children:

1. Use the term dyslexia: The OHRC recommends the Ministry of Education, Faculties of Education and School Boards explicitly recognize the term ‘dyslexia’. As the Commission states, “the term dyslexia provides substantially more clarity than the currently used term learning disabilities.” Using the term “dyslexia” in Ontario will help countless parents and children get to diagnosis and to crucial interventions faster, leading to better school and life outcomes.

2. Change the reading curriculum: The Ministry of Education must expedite a revised Ontario Kindergarten Program, language curriculum and related instruction guides based on the Science of Reading, and align teacher instructional approaches accordingly. Students with dyslexia can no longer be excluded from an education in Ontario when we know how to effectively teach reading to all students.

The OHRC has delivered the evidence-based report and recommendations that Ontario needs to kick-start and guide the significant and necessary change across our public education system. We hope it will lead to real and positive change in the lives of the thousands of children with dyslexia and their families, with social and economic outcomes that will benefit all Ontarians.

We agree with the OHRC’s call to action – “it’s time for change” – and with the roadmap they have laid out to create that change. 

We call on the Ministry of Education, faculties of education, school boards and unions to acknowledge, endorse and implement the recommendations outlined in this report.

We hope that parents can use this report, and the listed recommendations, to ensure that their child receive the supports they not only need, but deserve, and are entitled to in Ontario classrooms.

Finally, we will work to ensure that the recommendations of this report are understood by parents and implemented in every classroom across Ontario so that all children learn to read.


👉The OHRC Right to Read report

👉🏼The OHRC Right to Read press release

👉🏼Speech by DDON President Lark Barker at report release, Feb. 28, 2022

👉🏽Read DDON’s submission to the Right to Read inquiry


“Thank you for listening, investigating through your equity lens, and for protecting all Ontario children’s right to read,” Lark Barker, parent, advocate, teacher, President, DDON.

“Students are not just being denied an equal right to read – their future, and the generations that follow, could be impacted. Learning to read is critical in building a life-long sense of personal empowerment. It fundamentally shapes how we learn, work and socialize; builds self-confidence; improves employment opportunities; and enhances physical, emotional, and mental well-being,” OHRC Chief Commissioner Patricia DeGuire

Published by decodingdyslexiaon

Decoding Dyslexia Ontario (DDON) is a voluntary, parent-led movement driven by families who are concerned with the limited access to interventions for children with dyslexia in Ontario public schools.

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