Learning disability research paper

Children vary in the amount of practice that is required for fluency and automaticity in reading to occur. Some youngsters can read a word only once to recognize it again with greater speed; others need 20 or more exposures. The average child needs between four and 14 exposures to automatize the recognition of a new word. Therefore, in learning to read, it is vital that children read a large amount of text at their independent reading level with 95 percent accuracy , and that the text provide specific practice in the skills being learned.

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It is also important to note that spelling instruction fosters the development of reading fluency. Through spelling instruction, youngsters receive many examples of how letters represent the sounds of speech and also alert the young reader to the fact that written words are made up of larger units of print like syllables. This insight lets the developing reader know that word recognition can be accomplished by reading words in larger "chunks" rather than letter-by-letter. The ultimate goal of reading instruction is to enable children to understand what they read.

Why are so many children having difficulty learning to read?

Again, the development of phoneme awareness, phonics skills, and the ability to read words fluently and automatically are necessary, but not sufficient, for the construction of meaning from text. The ability to understand what is read appears to be based on several factors. Children who comprehend well, seem to be able to activate their relevant background knowledge when reading -- that is, they can relate what is on the page to what they already know. Good comprehenders also must have good vocabularies, since it is extremely difficult to understand something you can not define.

Good comprehenders also have a knack for summarizing, predicting, and clarifying what they have read, and they frequently use questions to guide their understanding. Good comprehenders are also facile in employing the sentence structure within the text to enhance their comprehension. In general, if children can read the words on a page accurately and fluently, they will be able to construct meaning at two levels. At the first level, literal understanding is achieved. However, constructing meaning requires far more than literal comprehension.

The children must eventually actively guide themselves through text by asking questions like, "Why am I reading this and how does this information relate to my reasons for doing so? It is this second level of comprehension that leads readers to reflective, purposeful understanding of the meaning of what they have read. The development of reading comprehension skills, like the development of phoneme awareness, phonics, and reading fluency, needs to be fostered by highly trained teachers.

Recent research shows that the teacher must arrange for opportunities for students to discuss the highlights of what they have read and any difficulties they have had when reading. Because the grammatical structures of written text are more varied and complex than those of casual, oral language speaking to one another , regular exploration and explicit instruction on formal syntax is warranted.

Children's reflections on what they have read can also be directly fostered through instruction in comprehension strategies. These sorts of discussions and activities should be conducted throughout a range of literacy genres, both fiction and nonfiction, and should be a regular component of the language arts curriculum throughout the children's school years. Our research continues to converge on the following findings.

Good readers are phonemically aware, understand the alphabetic principle, can apply these skills to the development and application of phonics skills when reading and spelling words, and can accomplish these applications in a fluent and accurate manner. Given the ability to rapidly and automatically decode and recognize words, good readers bring strong vocabularies and good syntactic and grammatical skills to the reading comprehension process, and actively relate what is being read to their own background knowledge via a variety of strategies.

But what factors can provide a firm foundation for these skills to develop? It is clear from research on emerging literacy that learning to read is a relatively lengthy process that begins very early in development and clearly before children enter formal schooling. Children who receive stimulating literacy experiences from birth onward appear to have an edge when it comes to vocabulary development, understanding the goals of reading, and developing an awareness of print and literacy concepts. Children who are read to frequently at very young ages become exposed in interesting and exciting ways to the sounds of our language, to the concept of rhyming, and to other word and language play activities that serve to provide the foundation for the development of phoneme awareness.

As children are exposed to literacy activities at young ages, they begin to recognize and discriminate letters. Without a doubt, children who have learned to recognize and print most letters as preschoolers will have less to learn upon school entry.

The learning of letter names is also important because the names of many letters contain the sounds they most often represent, thus orienting youngsters early to the alphabetic principle or how letters and sounds connect. Ultimately, children's ability to understand what they are reading is inextricably linked to their background knowledge. Very young children who are provided opportunities to learn, think, and talk about new areas of knowledge will gain much from the reading process.

With understanding comes the clear desire to read more and to read frequently, ensuring that reading practice takes place. Difficulties learning to read result from a combination of factors. In general, children who are most at-risk for reading failure are those who enter school with limited exposure to language and thus less prior knowledge of concepts related to phonemic sensitivity, letter knowledge, print awareness, the purposes of reading, and general verbal skills, including vocabulary. Children raised in poverty, youngsters with limited proficiency in English, children with speech and hearing impairments, and children from homes where the parent's reading levels are low are clearly at increased risk of reading failure.

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Likewise, youngsters with subaverage intellectual capabilities have difficulties learning to read. However, it is very important to note that a substantial number of children from highly literate households and who have been read to by their parents since very early in life also have difficulties learning to read. Given this general background, recent research has been able to identify and replicate findings which point to at least four factors that hinder reading development among children irrespective of their environmental, socioeconomic, ethnic, and biological factors.

These four factors include. Invariably, it is difficulty linking letters with sounds that is the source of reading problems and children who have difficulties learning to read can be readily observed. The signs of such difficulty are a labored approach to decoding or "sounding" unknown or unfamiliar words and repeated misidentification of known words. Reading is hesitant and characterized by frequent starts and stops and multiple mispronunciations.

If asked about the meaning of what has been read, the child frequently has little to say. Not because he or she is not smart enough; in fact, many youngsters who have difficulty learning to read are bright and motivated to learn to read -- at least initially. Their poor comprehension occurs because they take far too long to read the words, taxing their memory and leaving little energy for remembering and understanding what they have read.

Unfortunately, there is no way to bypass this decoding and word recognition stage of reading. A deficiency in these skills cannot be appreciably offset by using context to figure out the pronunciation of unknown words. In essence, while one learns to read for the fundamental purpose of deriving meaning from print, the key to comprehension starts with the immediate and accurate reading of words.

Teaching Writing to Students with Learning Disabilities

In fact, difficulties in decoding and word recognition are at the core of most reading difficulties. To be sure, there are some children who can read words accurately and quickly yet do have difficulties comprehending, but they constitute a very small portion of those with reading problems. If the ability to gain meaning from print is dependent upon fast, accurate, and automatic decoding and word recognition, what factors hinder the acquisition of these basic reading skills?


Journal of Learning Disabilities: SAGE Journals

As mentioned above, young children who have a limited exposure to both oral language and print before they enter school are at-risk for reading failure. However, many children with robust oral language experience, average to above intelligence, and frequent interactions with books since infancy show surprising difficulties learning to read. In contrast to good readers who understand that segmented units of speech can be linked to letters and letter patterns, poor readers have substantial difficulty in developing this "alphabetic principle.

Difficulties in developing phoneme awareness can have genetic and neurobiological origins or can be attributable to a lack of exposure to language patterns and usage during infancy and the preschool years. The end result is the same, however. Children who lack phoneme awareness have difficulties linking speech sounds to letters -- their decoding skills are labored and weak, resulting in extremely slow reading.

Difficulty estimating quantity linked to math learning disability

As mentioned, this labored access to print renders comprehension nearly impossible. Thus, the purpose for reading is nullified because the children are often too dysfluent to make sense out of what they read. In studying approximately 10, children over the past 15 years, NICHD research has documented the following with respect to the role that phonemic awareness plays in the development of phonics skills and fluent and automatic word reading:.

Some children encounter obstacles in learning to read because they do not derive meaning from the material that they read. In the upper grades, higher order comprehension skills become paramount for learning. Reading comprehension places significant demands on language comprehension and general verbal abilities. Constraints in these areas will typically limit comprehension.

Specifically, deficits in reading comprehension are related to:. If children are not provided early and consistent experiences that are explicitly designed to foster vocabulary development, background knowledge, the ability to detect and comprehend relationships among verbal concepts, and the ability to actively employ strategies to ensure understanding and retention of material, reading failure will occur no matter how robust word recognition skills are.

Our current understanding of how to develop many of these critical language and reasoning capabilities related to reading comprehension is not as well developed as the information related to phoneme awareness, phonics, and reading fluency. We have not yet obtained clear answers with respect to why some children have a difficult time learning vocabulary and how to improve vocabulary skills. Our knowledge about the causes and consequences of deficits in syntactical development is sparse. A good deal of excellent research has been conducted on the application of reading comprehension strategies, but our knowledge of how to help children use these strategies in an independent manner and across contexts is just emerging.

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A major factor that limits the amount of improvement that a child may make in reading is related to the motivation to continue the learning process. Very little is known with respect to the exact timing and course of motivational problems in the learning to read process, but it is clear that difficulties in learning to read are very demoralizing to children.

In the primary grades, reading constitutes the major portion of academic activities undertaken in classrooms, and children who struggle with reading are quickly noticed by peers and teachers. Although most children enter formal schooling with positive attitudes and expectations for success, those who encounter difficulties learning to read clearly attempt to avoid engaging in reading behavior as early as the middle of the first grade year.

It is known that successful reading development is predicated on practice reading, and obviously the less a child practices, the less developed the various reading skills will become. To counter these highly predictable declines in the motivation to learn to read, prevention and early intervention programs are critical. Over time, there will be an inverse relationship between the ease of learning to read and the effort required to learn to read -- clearly, the need to exert enormous amounts of effort will take its toll on many would-be, but now discouraged, readers.

As evidence mounts that reading difficulties originate in large part from difficulties in developing phoneme awareness, phonics, spelling skills, reading fluency, and reading comprehension strategies, the need for informed instruction for the millions of children with insufficient reading skills is an increasingly urgent problem. Unfortunately, several recent studies and surveys of teacher knowledge about reading development and difficulties indicate that many teachers are under prepared to teach reading. Surveys of teachers taking these courses indicate consistently that very few of them have ever observed professors demonstrating instructional reading methods with children; teachers also report that their course work is largely unrelated to actual teaching practices, that the theories they learn are rarely linked to the actual instruction of children, and that the supervision of student teaching and practicum experiences is frequently lacking in consistency and depth.

At present, motivated teachers are often left on their own to obtain specific skills in teaching phonemic awareness, phonics, spelling, reading fluency, and comprehension by seeking out workshops or specialized instructional manuals. As we survey teachers perceptions of their preparation, we find consistently that they are "method-driven" rather than conceptually prepared to teach the range of skills required to learn to read. Clearly teachers instructing youngsters who display reading difficulties should be well versed in understanding the conditions that must be present for children to develop robust reading skills, and be thoroughly trained to assess and identify problem readers at early ages.