Who Are the Students at Risk for Reading Problems?
The strategies for teaching early literacy described in this text are based on the idea that when it comes to reading instruction, "one size does not fit all." The following facts show how many children in a typical first-grade classroom are likely to struggle learning to read. These figures are based on research sponsored by National Institute of Child and Health and Development (NICHD; Lyon, 1998).
- About 5% of students come to school already able to read. These children learn to read naturally without any formal instruction.
- Another 20–30% of students learn to read with ease, regardless of the approach to reading instruction used.
- For 20–30% of students, learning to read will take hard work, with some extra support needed. If parents work with these students every night, reviewing books read in class and serving as tutors, the students may learn to break the code. Extra practice with a volunteer tutor may be enough to help them break the code
- An additional 30% of students will only learn to read if they are given intensive support. These students require explicit systematic phonics instruction and extensive practice reading the new words they are learning until they are at least able to read second-grade text accurately and fluently. If they do not receive appropriate support before second grade, many of these students will have a reading level significantly behind their peers and never catch up. Some may be incorrectly diagnosed as having learning disabilities.
- The remaining 5% of students have serious, pervasive reading disabilities and are served in special education.
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