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Colorado Dyslexia

The Colorado Department of Education (CDE) is committed to building upon the current framework of early literacy policy in Colorado, the Reading To Ensure Academic Development Act (READ Act), to support students in both general and special education to meet important reading outcomes.

CDE is committed to:

  • Bringing together stakeholders interested in supporting students who struggle with reading including those with dyslexia.
  • Educating stakeholders on reading difficulties including dyslexia.
  • Strengthening relationships with and among stakeholders interested in early literacy.

What's New

Dyslexia Handbook

The online Colorado Department of Education Dyslexia Handbook is currently under development. A PDF of the Colorado Dyslexia Handbook is available now! 

Dyslexia Handbook

What is dyslexia?

The International Dyslexia Association (IDA) along with the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) adopted the following definition of dyslexia. 

“Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurobiological in origin. It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction. Secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede growth of vocabulary and background knowledge.” 

In May 2019, Colorado adopted the definition above per HB 19-1134. 

Dyslexia Fact Sheet

CDE's Literacy Office in partnership with the CO Dyslexia Focus Group has created a Dyslexia Fact Sheet that provides an overview of dyslexia for Colorado educators and parents focusing on what dyslexia is, how it impacts students and what to look for.
View Dyslexia Fact Sheet

Understanding Dyslexia Toolkit 

The National Center for Improving Literacy has created a toolkit to help parents and educators learn about dyslexia and how to support the literacy development of students with dyslexia.

View Understanding Dyslexia Toolkit

This toolkit includes:

  • An Online Tutorial
  • Supporting Materials
  • Expert Advice
  • Dyslexia Resources

Dyslexia Forum Presentations


The Science of Reading: Evidence-Based Reading Instruction for Students with Dyslexia

The Science of Reading Presentation Handout (PDF)

In December 2018, the department hosted the second forum with Margie Gillis, Ed.D. Dr. Gillis is President of Literacy How, Inc. and a Research Affiliate, Haskins Laboratories at Yale. Her presentation focused on effective intervention of reading difficulties including dyslexia.


A Scientific Approach to Reading and Reading Disabilities

Keynote presentation handout – (PDF)

In March of 2017, the department hosted a forum with Jack M. Fletcher, Ph.D. from the Department of Psychology University of Houston. His presentation is the foundation of messaging and work in educating stakeholders on reading difficulties including dyslexia.



CO Dyslexia Handbook 

February 2020

The online Colorado Department of Education Dyslexia Handbook is currently under development. A PDF of the Colorado Dyslexia Handbook is available now!

Dyslexia Handbook


Dyslexia Working Group 

December 2010

Dyslexia Working Group submitted progress report to the Commissioner of Education to view,  please visit the Dyslexia Working Group webpage.

August 2019 

CDE has announced the Dyslexia Working Group membership. The first meeting will be on September 20th. All meetings of the Dyslexia Working Group will be open to the public; however, only working group members will have an active role in the meeting.  All meeting agendas and summaries will be publicly available on the Dyslexia Working Group webpage. 

For more information, please visit the Dyslexia Working Group webpage.

House Bill 19-1134 - new CO dyslexia legislation 

May 2019 

House Bill 19-1134, Identification And Interventions For Students With Dyslexia, was signed into law May 31st by Governor Jared Polis. 

New Online Modules Released - Assessing, Preventing and Overcoming Reading Difficulties

Assessing, Preventing, and Overcoming Reading Difficulties is an on-demand eLearning series that was developed by David Kilpatrick, Ph.D., in collaboration with the Specific Learning Disability Specialist in the Exceptional Student Services Unit of the Colorado Department of Education. Content of the webinar series was originally included in the book Essentials of Assessing, Preventing, and Overcoming Reading Difficulties by Dr. David Kilpatrick.

Additional Resources

The following are resources sorted by topic to assist educators and families in support of students with reading difficulties including dyslexia.

For Parents

Screening for Risk:

Legislation for at-risk readers, including those with dyslexia

State Legislation

Colorado passed House Bill 19-1134 (PDF), Identification And Interventions For Students With Dyslexia, was signed into law May 31, 2019 by Governor Jared Polis. 

Colorado passed House Bill 08-1223 (PDF) (C.R.S.22-2-133) Concerning the Provision of Technical Assistance Pertaining to Colorado Public School Students with Literacy Challenges that Include Dyslexia, which encourages the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) to provide support and training to educators in literacy. Specifically, the statute promotes technical assistance and training in the assessment and scientifically based interventions for students with literacy challenges, including dyslexia.

The Department of Education provides an annual report to the education committees of the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Colorado passed House Bill 12-1238, The READ Act. The Colorado Reading To Ensure Academic Development Act (Colorado READ Act) was passed by the Colorado Legislature during the 2012 legislative session. The READ Act repeals the Colorado Basic Literacy Act (CBLA) as of July 1, 2013, keeping many of the elements of CBLA such as a focus on K-3 literacy, assessment and individual plans for students reading below grade level. The READ Act differs from CBLA by focusing on students identified as having a significant reading deficiency, delineating requirements for parent communication and providing funding to support intervention. Other components of the Colorado READ Act include a competitive Early Literacy Grant and a resource bank of assessments, instructional programming, and professional development.

Federal Legislation

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) guarantees all children with identified educational disabilities access to a free and appropriate public education.

The Exceptional Children’s Educational Act (ECEA) (PDF) provides Colorado more detail and added rights and protections to IDEA.