2022: The Year That Was

2022 was busier than ever. The Right to Read report put the spotlight on the lack of support for students with dyslexia in Ontario, and we’ve been busier than ever helping families understand what this means for them as they navigate the school system. Our year in review takes you through the highlights of each month, the trends we noted in 2022, and what to watch for in 2023.

January

A new year and new hope that the Right the Read Inquiry Report will be released.

February – Right to Read Inquiry Report released

February 17, the Ministry of Education announces $15 million for summer learning and $175M to expand access to free publicly funded tutoring in small groups after school, during school, on weekends and over the summer.

February 28, the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s Right to Read Inquiry Report is released with 157 recommendations. Decoding Dyslexia Ontario (DDON) President Lark Barker’s speech is streamed during the announcement. Late in the day February 28, the Minister of Education announced a new language curriculum for 2023-2024.

March

DDON promotes the Right to Read Inquiry Report and disseminates recommendations through our website, Facebook and Twitter (ongoing).

April

Ministry of Education uploads a new evidence-based guide, “Effective early reading instruction: a guide for teachers.

May

With host Kim Lockhart, Decoding Dyslexia Ontario founder Annette Sang coordinates a 4-part book group for parents.

On May 4th, DDON’s Annette Sang and Lark Barker presented at the Ottawa Catholic School Board & SEAC webinar “Decoding Your Child’s Reading Super Power” with Dr. Nadine Gaab (Harvard Graduate School of Education) and Alicia Smith (IDA Ontario).

August

Time Magazine covers the push for timely evidence-based reading instruction and intervention highlighting the advocacy work of all Decoding Dyslexia chapters.

September

DDON encourages parents to use October’s municipal election to question their school board trustee candidates on the Right to Read Inquiry Report and their Board’s response and action.

October – Dyslexia Awareness Month/New tool Kit released

DDON releases its Parent Tool Kit: The tool kit includes an overview of dyslexia, at home support ideas, what to expect each at each grade and advocacy and escalation guidance. To date, more than 1200 people have viewed the tool kit online. Read it here: NEW!! Parent tool kit – Decoding Dyslexia Ontario.

Other activities in Dyslexia Awareness Month include daily Facebook posts of resources that Decoding Dyslexia Ontario “Likes”.

On October 20, the Ministry of Education announces it will extend its $175 million tutoring support program into 2023 and add more funding. In the same Ministry announcement, starting in the 2023-2024 school year, SK to Grade 2 students will be screened for reading using evidence-based tools.

November

The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario Application put forward by an Ontario student, finally, after 6 years, reaches Public Hearing. Three Hearing dates are live-streamed. The Applicant’s witnesses speak and are cross examined. Before the Respondent’s witnesses were called, a settlement was reached (common in 80-90% of Applications). Victoria’s “not so secret diary” provides insight on this family’s experience.

On November 21, DDON shared an online open letter supporting the “Sold a Story” 6-part series podcast and suggested that parents read and then potentially sign. The letter was addressed to the academics and publisher who still defend or promote balanced literacy and other non-evidence aligned practices.

December

Research Lead Natalie Gallimore participated as a panelist on a mentoree panel discussing supports for students with IEPs, both formally identified and non-identified. Gallimore reiterated DDON’s position that modifications should be a last resort and shared that the Ontario Human Rights Commission, in the Right to Read Inquiry Report, supports no modifications until after Tier 3 reading intervention has been provided.

EQAO releases its 2021-2022 assessment results, which show that many students identified as requiring special education support (i.e. they have an IEP) fall behind their peers in reading and math as early as grade 3.

Grade 3 – EQAO assessment results for reading and math

 % of all students who met provincial standard% of special education students who met provincial standard
Reading73%48%
Math59%29%

Grade 6 – EQAO assessment results for reading and math

 % of all students who met provincial standard% of special education students who met provincial standard
Reading85%64%
Math47%21%

Year end review shows our social media presence continues to grow, and in the last year, our Facebook account:

  • Topped 4500 followers
    • Reached 200,000 people around the world

Broad reoccurring themes identified by DDON in 2022

  • Lack of Covid Catch-Up tutoring opportunities for students with dyslexia (particularly those in Grade 4 upwards)
  • Continued streaming in Grade 9 math due to the degree of difficulty/lack of support of new academic-level math
  • Lack of school board knowledge of the Right to Read Report and its recommendations. Many parents solve this challenge by sharing the Report with their teachers, school management, and Board
  • Inability of parents to secure 1) timely evidence-based reading intervention, 2) an IPRC meeting, and
  • Requests for non-disclosure agreements by school boards for services (new) and the continued silencing of families at the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario due to the current settlement practices which require that a confidentiality agreement be signed

Ongoing Activities

  • Participate/contribute to dyslexia/education/human rights/literacy-related organizations/events
    • Lark Barker represents DDON parents on an EQAO committee
  • Share evidence-based information (primarily through social media) to create awareness, build community and empower parents
  • Respond to questions from parents/students through social media, DMs, email and at events
    • Our leadership team contributes to DDON Facebook parent discussion group and main page; Natalie Gallimore maintains the DDON Twitter, while Anne Boys-Hope developed and maintains DDON’s website, blog and Instagram account
  • Continue advocacy efforts – Right to Read outcomes, school board and government policies, etc.

2023 – The Year Ahead

January

DDON will host a webinar, “Advocacy and Escalation,” to help families advocate for supports for their dyslexic children in the Ontario public school system. More details to come.

April

April 14 – 15 – Watch for us at IDA Ontario’s annual “Literacy and Learning Conference 2023” in Toronto.

Watch our social media channels for more information and events throughout the year.


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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