School focused on teaching literacy flourishes, thanks to dyslexia program

South Bronx Literacy Academy (SBLA) is currently serving second and third graders, with plans to add a grade level each year until eighth grade.

Noelle Lilley

Dec 18, 2023, 9:38 PM

Updated 178 days ago


Last year, the mayor announced that a new specialized literacy program for students with dyslexia would be launching at two schools, one at P.S. 161 in The Bronx. This fall, the program expanded to a fully operational school of its own.
South Bronx Literacy Academy (SBLA) is currently serving second and third graders with plans to add a grade level each year until eighth grade. Students are also not required to have a formal dyslexia diagnosis; they only have to show hallmark signs of the condition. The staff at SBLA say their students struggled in traditional classrooms, but not because they aren't smart—they just need a different style of learning.
“We are the first school in all of NYC specifically serving students with dyslexia and language-based learning disabilities,” said Principal Bethany Poolman. “Everything is multisensory. So, we write the sound, we hear the sound, we say the sound, we move our body in the sound.”
The students tell News 12 that because they feel supported for the first time, they’re not afraid to ask for help.
If you want to enroll your student at SBLA, they are accepting applications for next school year. For more information, you can email the principal at

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