Governor signs Sommer bill to create dyslexia handbook for schools

SPRINGFIELD – A bill sponsored by State Representative Keith Sommer (R-Morton) requiring the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) to create and post to its website a handbook providing guidance on the subject of dyslexia was signed into law today by Governor Bruce Rauner.

“Making this information easily available to school personnel, students and their families will help dyslexic students to achieve their full potential,” Sommer said. “The legislation only requires the handbook to be posted on the ISBE website, not to be printed, which will make the information widely available, while keeping costs to taxpayers to a minimum.”

House Bill 4369 is modeled on legislation which passed in Arizona last year. It requires ISBE to put together a handbook which includes guidelines on identifying signs of dyslexia, a description of proven strategies for educators to use to improve academic performance among students with dyslexia and information about available resources to assist students, their families and their teachers. The bill, sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Chuck Weaver (R-Peoria), passed both the House and Senate unanimously this spring.

“All the credit for this bill becoming law should be given to the parents, tutors and advocates for the many dyslexic students in Central Illinois,” Sommer said. “I urge ISBE to include them when asking for input as to what helpful information should be in the handbook.”

“For far too long, public education has come up short in meeting the needs of young people with dyslexia,” Sommer said. “While there remains a great deal to be done, this bill is a small step in that direction. I am most appreciative of the efforts currently being made by parents and teachers. Research shows that dyslexia affects 1 in 5 children, 20% of the population. Hopefully our communities will come together to provide our dyslexic children the full measure of education they deserve.”