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Research Report

Preventing Reading Failure in Young Children with Phonological Processing Disabilities: Group and Individual Responses to Instruction

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The relative effectiveness of three instructional approaches for the prevention of reading disabilities in young children with weak phonological skills was examined. Two programs varying in the intensity of instruction in phonemic decoding were contrasted with each other and with a third approach that supported the children’s regular classroom reading program. The children were provided with 88 hr of one-to-one instruction beginning the second semester of kindergarten and extending through 2nd grade. The most phonemically explicit condition produced the strongest growth in word level reading skills, but there were no differences between groups in reading comprehension. Word level skills of children in the strongest group were in the middle of the average range. Growth curve analyses showed that beginning phonological skills, home background, and ratings of classroom behavior all predicted unique variance in growth of word level skills.


Torgesen, Joseph K., Wagner, Richard K., Rashotte, Carol A., Rose, E., Lindamood, P., Conway, T., Garvan, C. (1999). Preventing reading failure in young children with phonological processing disabilities: Group and individual responses to instruction. Journal of Educational Psychology, 91, 579-593.