Research to help millions of students read and achieve

Washington, D.C. - The Committee on Science, Space, and Technology today held a hearing to examine the Research Excellence and Advancements for Dyslexia (READ) Act (H.R. 3033), a bipartisan bill introduced by Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) to prioritize research and development to overcome dyslexia. Witnesses highlighted the need for further research and discussed the importance of early identification for children with dyslexia, professional development for teachers, and educational tools to help students overcome dyslexia.

Chairman Smith:  “Dyslexia is the most common reading disability yet those who suffer from it often have normal or above-average intelligence. Many Americans remain undiagnosed, untreated and silently struggle at school or work. If you can’t read, it is hard to achieve. The READ Act is a step in the right direction.”

Dyslexia is a difficulty to read fluently and with accurate comprehension. Dyslexia affects an estimated 8.5 million school children and one in six Americans in some form. Many children undiagnosed with dyslexia have difficulties in the classroom.

In July, Chairman Smith introduced the READ Act with bipartisan co-sponsors. The bill requires the president’s annual budget request to Congress include a line item for the Research in Disabilities Education program of the National Science Foundation (NSF). It also requires the NSF to devote at least $5 million annually to dyslexia research, which would focus on best practices in the following areas:

  • Early identification of children and students with dyslexia
  • Professional development about dyslexia for teachers and administrators
  • Curricula development and evidence-based educational tools for children with dyslexia


Chairman Smith and Rep. Julia Brownley (D-Calif.), a cosponsor of the READ Act, are the bipartisan co-chairs of the Congressional Dyslexia Caucus, comprised of over 100 Members of Congress. The Caucus is dedicated to increasing public awareness about dyslexia and ensuring all students have equal educational opportunities.

Witnesses today provided testimony about personal experiences with dyslexia and how they have helped others overcome this challenge through innovative and creative problem-solving.

The following witnesses testified:

Ms. Barbara Wilson, Co-Founder and President, Wilson Language Training

Dr. Paula Tallal, Senior Research Scientist, Center for Human Development, University of California, San Diego; Adjunct Professor, Salk Institute for Biological Studies; Founder and Director, Scientific Learning Corporation

Dr. Rachel Robillard, Assistant Director, 504 Services and Response to Intervention, Austin Independent School District


Today’s hearing follows a hearing in fall 2014 looking at the science of dyslexia.

For more information about today’s hearing, including witness testimony and the archived webcast, visit the Science, Space, and Technology Committee website.