Brownsville, Texas: One Community’s Quest to Turn
    Non-Readers into College-Bound Kids

    Norma Garza’s son, Alec, started having problems learning to read in first grade. By the age of ten, he was still struggling to read in fourth grade. Desperate to get help for her son, Garza, who worked as an accountant, sought a diagnosis and guidance from a pediatric neurologist at the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children in Dallas, Texas. It was the hospital staff who explained to this parent the importance of making education decisions based on scientific-based research as used in the medical field. In spite of taking an analytical approach, reading books on how children best learn to read and consulting with national reading experts, her son’s public school was at a loss on how to remedy the situation and pushed back against Garza’s suggestions and efforts. Garza joined forces with Elsa Cardenas-Hagan, a speech language pathologist who owned a clinic for children with language and learning differences, in their hometown of Brownsville, Texas. They discussed the fact that the school district was only providing a computerized program that did not meet the standards set by the state for a dyslexia intervention program and that students in Brownsville were not being taught with a balanced approach to literacy which would include phonological awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension skills. …

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