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Reading Problems in School

Development of Best Practices Approach for Literacy Acquisition in Specific Learning Disabilities Classrooms

Research findings have provided evidence that reading problems in school continue and despite national efforts to increase reading skills in young students, deficits in reading are found in 40% of U.S. fourth-grade children (read below basic levels) and account for 80% of learning disability diagnoses (Bell, McCallum, & Cox, 2003; Jitendra, Edwards, Starosta, & Sacks, 2004). These reading difficulties result in negative consequences such as behavior problems, social and psychological problems, and academic problems, depending of the type of learning disability. For example, reading disabled boys have displayed higher levels of hostile-aggressive and anxious-fearful behavior (Scarborough & Parker, 2003; Smart, Sanson, & Prior, 1996).

There is a consensus that literacy instruction must be balanced and begin at an early age to avoid and deal with reading difficulties (Coyne, Kame'enui, Simmons, & Harn, 2004; Jitendra et al., 2004; Mather, Bos, & Babur, 2001; Pressley, Roehrig, Bogner, Raphael, & Dolezal, 2002). Beyond this, Chard, Vaughn, and Tyuler (2002) proclaimed that while study findings point out the need for building reading fluency in elementary students, particularly those with learning disabilities, features of interventions that achieve this goal remain unclear. A meta analysis conducted by Chard et al. (2002) resulted in findings that reading fluency programs must include models of fluent reading and opportunities to read familiar text, and performance criteria. These factors have been investigated in previous studies. Studies of modeling show that this results in moderate levels of improvement and studies of repetitions in reading show that this results in increased fluency (Chard et al., 2002). Other studies have shown the importance of instruction that focuses on phonological awareness, alphabetic sk...

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