Early reading instruction for children with reading difficulties: Meeting the needs of diverse learners

Asha K. Jitendra, Lana L. Edwards, Kristin Starosta, Gabriell Sacks, Lisa A. Jacobson, Claire M. Choutka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Several multiple-probe-across-participants design studies were employed to evaluate the effectiveness of a supplemental tutoring intervention using Read Well (Sprick, Howard, & Fidanque, 1998-2000). In Year 1, we conducted two studies with 7 first-, second-, and third-grade children (1 girl and 6 boys), who were classified as having learning disabilities, having attention-deficit disorder, or being English language learners and were identified by their teachers as poor readers. The results of the two studies indicated that 3 of the 5 children who received Read Well instruction showed improvement in passage fluency. Student performance on other measures of reading and comprehension was varied. Differences in student characteristics and in the amount of Read Well instruction received (2 to 7 weeks) seemed to account for the differences in performance. In Year 2, we implemented the same tutoring intervention for a longer duration (up to 16 weeks) and included 5 children in second and third grades (2 girls and 3 boys) with reading difficulties. Two of these children had previously participated in the Year 1 studies. The results indicated growth in reading, spelling, and comprehension for most children. Overall, the findings from Year 1 and 2 studies indicate the benefits of increased instructional intensity and duration for children who struggle with emerging reading skills.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)421-439
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of learning disabilities
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jan 1 2004


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