With Kentucky facing “untold numbers” of students going undiagnosed with dyslexia, we’re encouraged by new legislation that would require local school boards and teacher-training programs to respond. If enacted, Bill Request 326, which was recently pre-filed by state Rep. John “Bam” Carney, R-Campbellsville, would ultimately mean fewer students falling through the cracks. That’s because the proposed legislation would require local school boards to implement policies requiring a program to identify and support dyslexic students between kindergarten and third grade. Additionally, the state’s teacher-training programs would have to include instruction on dyslexia by the 2020-21 academic year. The legislation would also mean districts would have to use a state reporting tool each year to track those students and how much the district is doing to support them. Dyslexia is common, affecting up to 20 percent of the population and representing 80 to 90 percent of people with learning disabilities, according to the Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity. According to the center, dyslexic children and adults struggle to read fluently, spell words correctly and learn a second language, among other difficulties. It’s important to note that these difficulties have no connection to their overall intelligence, and, in fact, people with dyslexia are often quick and creative thinkers. While it cannot be “cured,” people with dyslexia can become accomplished students and adults. They simply need the appropriate support. With dyslexia being so ubiquitous, this is why it’s so vital that our teachers have the proper training to support these students. Individual school districts or teachers’ colleges may already be ahead of the curve on this issue, but there needs to be a standard that the entire state adopts. This legislation is a step in the right direction and builds on the reforms enacted by House Bill 187, which was passed last year with sponsorship by now retired state Rep. Addia Wuchner. That legislation, among many other provisions, required the Kentucky Department of Education to develop a dyslexia toolkit for educators in local districts across the state. The toolkit recently released by the department offers information on common characteristics and research-informed instructional practices educators can follow. When it was formally announced in a webinar Friday, Kentucky Education Commissioner Wayne Lewis called the toolkit “an incredibly important beginning.” “It’s not the end-all-be-all by any stretch of the imagination,” Lewis said, calling improvements to teacher training programs the “next frontier.” We believe lawmakers should endorse this legislation and work to pass it. Kentucky’s students cannot wait. If you agree, contact your state representatives and make your voice heard.