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In 1985 the Health Research Extension Act became a law and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) were selected to lead the task of developing effective research in the field of learning disabilities. Under the direction of Dr. G. Reid Lyon, comprehensive networks were set up across the country. The work was completed in 1995.


What Did The Research Reveal?Reading disabilities (dyslexia) affect 1 child in 5.

The practice of diagnosing reading disabilities, based on discrepancy between I.Q. and achievement appears invalid.

The most prevalent type of reading problem is slow and inaccurate decoding and word recognition.

Poor decoding inhibits reading comprehension.

Without appropriate intervention, 75% of children identified after nine years of age continue to demonstrate reading difficulties throughout high school.

Females are just as likely to experience reading difficulties as males.

Deficits in phonological awareness are at the core of dyslexia.

Deficits in phonological processing, which can be identified by the end of kindergarten, are a significant cause for decoding problems.

Phonological processing problems are characterized by:1. Difficulty segmenting sounds, e.g. perceiving the tiny parts of words.

  1. Inability to rapidly name letters and numbers.
  2. Trouble remembering verbal items presented in sequence.


What Research Tells Us About Effective InstructionAccording to the NIH research, the most effect reading instruction must include:

  1. The development of phonological processing and understanding the sounds of our language.
  2. Explicit instruction in sound-symbol relationships (phonics).
  3. Direct and integrated instruction in text reading and comprehension.