You are here

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.

For the latest news join the Colorado Dyslexia Stakeholder email list. To sign-up email

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.”

Dyslexia Fact Sheet

CDE's Literacy Office in partnership with the CO Dyslexia Focus Group have 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

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.


Dyslexia Working Group 

June 2019 

CDE has opened the application process to participate in the Dyslexia Working Group.  Applications will be accepted through Friday, August 9, 2019.  As a part of the online application, all applicants will be asked to upload a letter of interest.  Applicants applying to fill a professional role will be asked to upload a current resume.  Click here to apply.

Dyslexia Working Group 

May 2019 

CDE is creating a Dyslexia Working Group as directed under House Bill 19-1134 which will be appointed by the Commissioner of Education.  The purpose of the working group is to analyze state and national data and practices concerning identification and support of students with dyslexia, recommend screening tools and processes, develop a statewide plan for identifying and supporting students with dyslexia, and recommend educator training.  All recommendations will be reported to the State Board of Education and the education committees of the Colorado legislature.

The department will contract with a facilitator to manage the working group and is currently seeking proposals from potential facilitators.  CDE anticipates announcing the application process for participation in the working group by mid-June and will provide the Commissioner with recommendations for the working group based on the membership categories specified in HB 19-1134.

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.

2018 READ Conference

The Literacy Office along with the Exceptional Student Services Unit at CDE hosted the fourth annual READing Conference on Sept. 27 and 28, 2018.
  • The conference supports the implementation of evidence-based reading instruction.
  • The target audience is K-3 educators including general education teachers, special education specialists, reading coaches, reading interventionists, English Language Development specialists, principals, and school leadership teams.
  • The focus of the conference will be on direct and explicit instruction for all students including English Learners, emerging readers, and struggling readers.
To access the conference program, session description and handouts for the session go to our READ Conference Webpage.

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.