Published Online: June 10, 2014
Published in Print: June 11, 2014, as Special Education

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Special Education

"Is Scientifically Based Reading Instruction Effective for Students With Below-Average IQs?"

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New research shows that, with intensive instruction, children with intellectual disabilities can independently read simple text.

The findings were published in the April edition of the journal Exceptional Children. In contrast to previous studies on reading interventions for students with disabilities, this study followed children for up to four years, beginning in 1st grade, and the 76 children with mild to moderate intellectual disabilities who were involved did not include children with learning disabilities. By definition, learning disabilities are seen in children with normal IQs. The children who showed improvement in the new study had IQs of 40 to 80 (the typical range is 80 to 115).

But there is no magic formula to moving children with low IQs to independent reading, said lead author Jill H. Allor, a professor at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. The specially trained teachers used the program Early Intervention in Reading and adapted it as necessary for a child's particular background for example, some had no literacy skills at all when the research began. Teachers worked one-on-one or in small groups of up to four students, 40 to 50 minutes a day, five days a week.

Vol. 33, Issue 35, Page 5

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