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ERIC Number: ED544759
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Feb
Pages: 108
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 190
Improving Reading Outcomes for Students with or at Risk for Reading Disabilities: A Synthesis of the Contributions from the Institute of Education Sciences Research Centers. NCSER 2014-3000
Connor, Carol M.; Alberto, Paul A.; Compton, Donald L.; O'Connor, Rollanda E.
National Center for Special Education Research
Reading difficulties and disabilities present serious and potentially lifelong challenges. Children who do not read well are more likely to be retained a grade in school, drop out of high school, become a teen parent, or enter the juvenile justice system. Building on the extant research and seminal studies, including the National Reading Panel and the National Early Literacy Panel reports, research supported by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) has expanded understanding of ways to identify and help children who are at risk for reading disabilities. This body of work has also contributed to the identification of critical component skills that support proficient reading (e.g., phonological awareness, word knowledge, working memory), better ways to assess these skills, and more effective interventions for children at risk of developing reading difficulties, including children who are deaf or have intellectual disabilities. Research funded by IES has investigated ways to bring these efficacious interventions into our nation's classrooms by developing and evaluating professional development training that increases teachers' knowledge about literacy and how to teach reading effectively to all students, including students who are struggling to learn how to read. This is important because the most recent National Assessment of Educational Progress reports that by fourth grade, one-third of our students are failing to attain basic reading skills. In this synthesis, the panel convened by IES, connects the building blocks of assessment, cognitive and linguistic components of reading, effective interventions, and teacher professional development to show how IES-funded research is contributing to solutions for improving reading and preventing reading difficulties. Based on the initial reading of the papers, and following an initial in-person meeting to discuss the articles that were read, the panel organized the contributions into four broad categories with component research questions. They are: (1) Assessment: What has been learned about effective identification and assessment of students who have or are at risk for reading difficulties or disabilities? (2) Basic Cognitive and Linguistic Processes: What are the basic cognitive and linguistic processes that support successful reading and how can these skills be improved for students who have or who are at risk for reading disabilities? (3) Intervention: How can reading instruction be more effective for students who have or are at risk for developing reading disabilities? How can reading be taught to students with low incidence disabilities? (4) Professional Development: How can research-based instructional practices be implemented in the classroom? These categories emerged directly from the articles that the panel members read and they reflect the areas the panel believes that IES-supported research has made contributions to in advancing the understanding of how to improve reading outcomes for students with or at risk for reading disabilities. For each question, the panel synthesized the available research findings and highlighted key contributions. The panel was given the task of looking across the range of projects that IES has funded in this area to determine what has been learned, where progress has been made as a result of IES funding, and to provide suggestions for further research in improving reading skills of children with or at risk for reading disabilities. In reading this synthesis, readers should remember that it is not intended to be an overview of the existing research on improving reading for children with or at risk for reading disabilities. Panel members were only asked to review those published articles or book chapters that had emerged from IES-funded projects. Specifically, the panel was asked to review articles from peer-reviewed journals and book chapters from funded projects that were published or in press as of December 2011 (thus some articles that were in press in 2011 will have published dates in 2012 or 2013). Thus, there is a great deal of ongoing research that is not represented in this synthesis because some grants are not yet at the stage in the research process where findings are in and summarized for publication. Note also that reports of IES-funded research that have not been subjected to the peer-review process in publication are not included in this review. Appendix A lists the projects and publications that were reviewed for this synthesis.
National Center for Special Education Research. 400 Maryland Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20202. Tel: 800-437-0833; Fax: 202-401-0689; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education; Early Childhood Education; Preschool Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: National Center for Special Education Research (ED)
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Individuals with Disabilities Education Act; No Child Left Behind Act 2001
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS)
IES Funded: Yes
IES Cited: ED560820