IMSE is excited to announce a strategic partnership with Dyslexic Edge, a non-profit leading a movement to develop future STEM leaders by building confidence in students with dyslexia and equipping educators to help them learn. 

Located in Northern Virginia, Dyslexic Edge provides Orton-Gillingham-based reading tutoring and STEM enrichment to elementary-aged students in Title I schools in the Washington, D.C., area. By combining evidence-based language instruction with STEM enrichment, Dyslexic Edges is setting the standard for how students with dyslexia should be educated and inspired. 

The non-profit began in 2016, three years after Krista Gauthier, founder and executive director of Dyslexic Edge, discovered her daughter’s dyslexia diagnosis. Having a background in education, Krista immediately dove in and began learning everything she could about the common learning disability. It wasn’t long until she figured out that so many others out there do not have access to the resources she and her engineer husband were able to provide their daughter in both reading intervention and STEM enrichment.

Krista explains dyslexia as a barbell problem amongst students who show the signs and have difficulty reading, but excel in other subjects that fall within STEM. 

“There was this one thing that stood out to me almost like a superpower, where there are so many people with dyslexia who are gifted in science, technology, engineering, or math. There’s one side, where you have these incredibly successful outcomes. 35% of engineers and scientists and 40% of self-made millionaires have dyslexia, but then, on the flip side, 48% of the prison population has dyslexia.”

“Many people who end up on the positive side of the barbell tend to have someone who was a champion in their corner, or they had financial access to the resources they needed. Unfortunately, not every kid has that luxury, and that is where we want to bring that accessibility piece into play.”

The thing that’s amazing about people with dyslexia is that they tend to actually have above-average intelligence. That is where Dyslexic Edge comes in; Krista created a program that provides access to the reading support these students need and exposes them to STEM fields. 

Tutoring at Dyslexic Edge consists of two 90-minute after-school sessions a week – divided between lessons on reading intervention and STEM sessions that may focus on coding, building rockets, units on space, and even flight simulation. To date, Dyslexic Edge has served over 100 students between the first and fifth grades in the DC area; currently, it serves 38 students between its after-school and tutoring programs. 

“It’s about uniting and creating what I would consider a dyslexic ecosystem,” said Gauthier.

Dyslexic Edge will work with IMSE to train its tutors in Orton-Gillingham and Structured Literacy, which is backed by the Science of Reading. The organization, which currently has 20 trained tutors, will send its first cohort of elementary school teachers to be trained by IMSE in late spring and early summer 2023. Krista will be the first to go through IMSE training. She wants to exponentially increase the number of tutors who are trained in the OG approach and intends to launch after-school programs that use IMSE’s curriculum in the fall of 2023.

“IMSE has so much to offer our organization,” said Gauthier. “Our missions truly dovetail as we both are on a mission to increase access to systematic reading instruction for students,” said Gauthier. “The teacher training aspect is so important; it’s a lightbulb moment for them. IMSE will help us to make our efforts more scalable as teachers become hungry for training that will help all children learn how to read.”

Since it can often take years and even private testing to get an official diagnosis, Gauthier, whose own daughter was not diagnosed with dyslexia until fifth grade, has ensured that students do not need to have an official diagnosis of dyslexia to qualify for the program.

“Those who don’t gain access to resources to overcome disabilities like dyslexia may falter in school,” added Gauthier. “So many of these kids have a superpower in STEM subjects but struggle with learning how to read. We want to help students reach their full potential, not only to help them read fluently but also to play on their existing strengths to get there.”

“We are thrilled to partner with Krista and her team at Dyslexic Edge to give more teachers the tools and training to boost reading proficiency with the students who need it the most, and remove one more obstacle to getting there,” said Jeanne Jeup, co-founder and CEO, IMSE.

Click here to learn more about Dyslexic Edge. 

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