K-2 Principal Knowledge (Not Leadership) Matters For Dyslexia Intervention

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Educational Research and Administration




Kindergarten through second-grade elementary schools that best serve students with dyslexia have principals who are knowledgeable about dyslexia and understand the best practices for providing intervention for students with dyslexia. In this study, three styles of leadership were examined to understand the implication that leadership has on intervention for dyslexia: transformational, instructional, and integrated leadership. However, many students in elementary schools have difficulty learning to read despite good leadership by the principal, with 5–20% of students being diagnosed with dyslexia. While these students need phonetic, multisensory intervention to build necessary reading skills, this study found that many principals lack knowledge of this specialized instruction. The purpose of this research was to explore variables that determine the school-based level of appropriate intervention for students with dyslexia. A questionnaire assessing leadership skills, knowledge, and beliefs about dyslexia, preparation in reading disorders and/or dyslexia received from degree programs and professional development, and services provided to students with dyslexia was given to K-2 principals serving in schools across the United States. Results indicated that regardless of leadership style, principals who have greater knowledge and more correct beliefs about dyslexia provide more appropriate school-based services for students with dyslexia. Eight detailed K-2 principal/practitioner recommendations are included based upon this key finding.

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