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OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Two lawmakers are touring Nebraska schools to learn about reading curriculums and how schools handle dyslexia.

Sens. Lou Ann Linehan, of Omaha, and Patty Pansing Brooks, of Lincoln, visited public schools in Omaha on Tuesday, the Omaha World-Herald reported .

The visits are meant to help legislators understand how schools approach literacy and how they work with students who have difficulties learning, Pansing Brooks said.

“We are looking at reading literacy issues across the state and trying to determine if there are similar problems everywhere, and if there are problems, if they relate to dyslexia or not,” Pansing Brooks said.

Both senators have experience with dyslexia: Linehan and her son have the learning disability, and Pansing Brooks’ brother is dyslexic.

It’s important to spot learning disorders early in a child’s development, Pansing Brooks said.

It can be difficult to make the distinction between a learning disorder and simple mistakes when kids are young, said Donna Dobson, the district’s director of elementary education.

The senators are also looking for feedback from teachers about how effectively their college education prepared them to identify learning problems.

“We want to figure out how to help you,” Linehan said.

Aspiring teachers should get more real life classroom experience through student-teaching or observations during their education, said third-grade teacher Lisa Olsen.

“I learned a lot, but it was not anything comparable to my real-life teaching experience,” Olsen said.

The tour is part of a legislative interim study that may lead to legislation. The senators have also visited schools in Lexington, Grand Island, Hastings, Gothenburg and other communities.


Information from: Omaha World-Herald,