From: Jen Kajma
To: David Lifferth,
Subject: Make funding SB 117 a priority
Date: Mon Apr 06 21:25:32 MDT 2015

Dear Utah State Representative – District 002 Lifferth,

Education is a key driver of Utah’s economic opportunity and future prosperity. One of the key principles within Prosperity through Education, a 5-year plan to place Utah in the top 10 among states in education is helping children read confidently by 3rd grade. I urge you to prioritize funding SB 117 Interventions for Reading Difficulties Pilot Program this session to ensure positive educational outcomes for young children. Reading is fundamental to a child’s academic success. SB 117 provides teachers with the training to be able to recognize and help children with reading difficulties (like dyslexia).

My daughter Katyelyn is dyslexic. She is in the 5th grade reading at a 2nd grade reading level. I noticed as early as pre-school that she wasn't learning the same as her older brother had. By the end of kindergarten (Logan District) she was asked by her teacher to participate in a summer reading program to help her catch up to her peers… but it didn't provide any progress. No progress was made during 1st grade either. I remember talking to her teacher (the best teacher in the school!) and asking her if it could be dyslexia. Her response was “No, she is way too young to know. They won't even test for that until 3rd or 4th grade. She is just a late bloomer, every kid learns at different rates and she will eventually click and just get it.” She asked us to again participate in the schools summer reading program & sent me home with a bunch of books and said all i needed to do was read to her more. By the end of 2nd grade when she was still reading at a kindergarten reading level, and the school (now Murray District) was still telling me to keep reading with her and eventually she will click, I decided to take her to a tutor my mom had told me lived in her neighborhood. Within 2 weeks the tutor asked me if I would have her screened/tested for dyslexia, she was showing all the classic signs. So we did & she is dyslexic. With the proper interventions the tutor was able to catch her up to where she was almost at grade level. She was now in 3rd grade reading at a 2nd grade level. Unfortunately, we moved again. This time to Davis District. We were excited, our elementary was new and testing #1 in the State. But it was too far of a drive to Riverton to continue the tutoring. Our new Principal assured us that we didn't need the tutor anymore because they already had great programs at Endeavour Elementary and that our daughter would flourish there. She very quickly fell further and further behind her peers. She was now old enough to notice the learning differences between her and other classmates. She would come home from school crying, almost daily, saying she was stupid. No child should ever feel like they are stupid! This school that is one of the top in the state is still failing these kids! PLEASE FULLY FUND SB117!! Teachers need this training so that they can recognize children with dyslexia when they are in Kindergarten & 1st grade and be able to help them with the proper interventions that they need. Our teachers had the right intentions & desire, but they are lacking the proper training! To quote my daughter from a note that she wrote the Senate Education Committee, “Please make this dyslexia bill happen so other kids don't have to grow up thinking that they are stupid like I did!”

The economic benefits of early childhood education outweigh the costs of providing these educational opportunities indicating a wise financial investment. Evidence has shown us college and career readiness begins with the ability to read fluently. I ask that you please help ensure reading success in the early years by supporting the funding of SB 117.

Sincerely, Jen Kajma Decoding Dyslexia UT 1757 s Kay Drive Kaysville, UT 84037