By Mike Kruzman /

A local legislator has introduced a package of bills aimed at improving child literacy.

October is National Dyslexia Awareness Month. Recently, a bipartisan-group of state senators, including Republican Lana Theis of Brighton Township, introduced four bills to address factors currently affecting literacy performance for many children in Michigan. Dyslexia affects anywhere from 108,000 to 217,000 children in Michigan, and while there are proven solutions to treat kids, early intervention is key. The legislation focuses on identifying and intervening to help students suffering from dyslexia by helping ensure that educators are adequately trained to better understand and teach students who struggle with fluent word recognition and poor decoding abilities.

Theis’ bill, Senate Bill 1174, would require teacher preparation institutions to offer instruction on the characteristics and consequences of dyslexia, evidence-based interventions and accommodations for children with dyslexia, and methods to develop a classroom infrastructure that meets the needs of affected students.

Other bills in the package would allow teaching certificates to only be issued to properly instructed educators, would establish an advisory committee tasked with developing a resource guide, and would require school districts to screen children in grades K-3 for reading difficulties and ensure that a support system is provided to help students experiencing decoding difficulties.

Theis said, in a release, that by preparing teacher to understand the characteristics and effects of dyslexia, we can ensure they are better able to help students achieve. She said as someone with a family member who has overcome dyslexia, she knows firsthand the importance of having teachers who are prepared to intervene.