NORTH CHESTERFIELD, Va. –– Dyslexia awareness will take center stage as Riverside School administrators, students, teachers, and parents visit the State Capitol on Tuesday, Jan. 29. as a part of Decoding Dyslexia Virginia (DDVA) Advocacy Day 2019. The aim is to provide information and lobby on behalf of the oft-misunderstood learning challenge called dyslexia, a mission that is at Riverside’s core.
Riverside, an independent, private day school, is dedicated to providing a teaching approach designed to meet the educational needs of students with dyslexia and similar language-based differences in kindergarten through eighth grade.
The goal is for members of the Riverside community and citizens alike to visit legislators in their offices at the Pocahontas Building and educate them on dyslexia and its effects. The day will include story sharing and information distribution in order to direct public servants’ attention to the almost one in five Virginians that are affected by dyslexia. Timing-wise, the visit is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., but attendees are not required to be present the entire time.
Please note: For this event, parents take their students out of school for the morning and accompany them to the State Capitol, where they meet with legislators.
For Riverside parents interested in accompanying their child to Decoding Dyslexia Virginia Advocacy Day, there will be a special meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 23 at 2:30 p.m. at Riverside to discuss logistics, planning, and messaging in advance of the trip to the State Capitol. Interested attendees should contact Riverside Associate Head of School Debra Mitchell via e-mail at: [email protected] and / or Cynthia Vukmer, Parent Coordinator for the event via e-mail: [email protected].
In addition to being on hand to provide materials and share student success stories with state representatives, the goal is to ask legislators in decision-making roles to co-sponsor bills in support of education efforts that will affect dyslexic kids, including support of Senate Bill 1718 (aka: SB 1718), which requires a rapid automatized naming component in a reading diagnostic test for grades K-3..
(For those unsure of their representative’s name, please visit:
School officials and citizens as a whole, particularly those affected by dyslexia in some way, are being encouraged to set up a time with their respective legislator to discuss the issue. One of the ultimate goals is to enable schools throughout the commonwealth to supply resources, as well as active, continuing education to teachers, and support to students who are dyslexic.
Contacting a legislator who has prior knowledge of dyslexia is important, but not a requirement. A presence and willingness to share insights about dyslexia, as well as clearing up any misconceptions about kids dealing with the learning challenge, is always helpful.
The formal Dyslexia Advocacy Day is now in its sixth year in Virginia. All told, the visit to the State Capitol represents a win-win for everyone involved, though there is undoubtedly strength in numbers at the gathering.
“Having been a presence at the State Capitol in the past, our kids learn valuable lessons about how government works,” says Hal Waller, the Head of School at Riverside. “At the same time, as we share research and put a name and face with dyslexia, the impact on legislators is a real eye-opener for some of them. We’ve certainly found that there is value in being a presence in front of decision-makers.”
In addition to Riverside, other school officials that are focused on helping dyslexic kids learn and grow will be on hand. Further, teachers, administrators and parents will be present to share some suggestions on areas to focus on moving forward.
Please see the image below to learn more about Riverside’s presence at Decoding Dyslexia Virginia Advocacy Day.