A pilot programme to help Primary One dyslexic children study in English is to be implemented in 10 primary schools by the Education Department this September. But while welcoming the move, schools and parents want similar help for dyslexic students in other forms. The one-year scheme, headed by world-renowned expert on reading difficulties, Professor Linda Siegel, associate dean of Faculty of Education at the University of British Columbia, is designed to improve dyslexic students' reading and writing abilities by raising their phonological awareness. 'Dyslexic children have to develop a firm foundation in oral language before they start reading and writing,' she said while introducing the project at a primary teachers' seminar this week. Professor Siegel's approach introduces and reinforces sounds of words through a variety of strategies including rhyming, clapping and games. The relative strength of dyslexic children in creative ability will also be developed as they will be asked to present their ideas through story-telling, drawing and model-building. The programme has been successfully implemented with a group of dyslexic children in North Vancouver, Canada, over the past five years. Professor Siegel believes Hong Kong dyslexic children can reach the level of their classmates after spending just one year on the programme. The 10 schools selected will also be given a tool to identify students with dyslexia by testing their abilities in rhyme detection and syllable and phoneme identification. Teachers will be offered workshops, as well as the help of inspectors and educational psychologists. Sherman Cheuk Wai-man, president of the Hong Kong Association for Specific Learning Difficulties, welcomed the initiative but urged the Education Department to try to help all, instead of only a small group of dyslexic students. She added she had received many calls from parents who were wondering why the project could not help their dyslexic children in forms other than Primary One. But Lam Seung-wan, principal of SKH Yat Sau Primary School, agreed that the pilot programme should not be implemented in too many schools before its impact was assessed. 'Parents of dyslexic students who have not yet received proper care should consult their schools, which in turn can liaise with the department for them,' he said. Lee Suk-han, educational psychologist with the Education Department, said the programme, which received a departmental grant of about $200,000, could not be expanded yet because of financial constraints. 'We hope to get more funding so we can see how the students who benefit from the pilot programme perform when they enter Primary Two and Three,' she said. The department has identified more than 1,200 primary students with dyslexia through referrals from schools and has been providing resources and training under the Integrated Education Programme.