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Low IQ students learn to read at 1st-grade level after persistent, intensive instruction
Date:5/21/2014

The findings of a pioneering four-year educational study offer hope for thousands of children identified with intellectual disability or low IQ who have very little, if any, reading ability.

The study by researchers at Southern Methodist University, Dallas, is the first large-scale longitudinal study of its kind to demonstrate the reading potential of students with intellectual disability or low IQ, said lead author Jill H. Allor, principal investigator of the study, which was funded by the U.S. Department of Education.

The researchers found that students with intellectual disability who participated in four years of persistent, specialized instruction successfully learned to read at a first-grade level or higher.

"This study proves that we should never give up on anyone. It raises expectations for all children," Allor said. "Traditionally the focus of instruction for students with intellectual disability has been functional skills, such as how to manage their personal hygiene, do basic chores around the house or simple work skills. This study raises academic expectations as well."

The study demonstrates there's hope for every struggling reader, said Allor, a reading researcher whose expertise is reading acquisition. The study's implications can be life-changing for non-readers and struggling readers.

"If these children, and any other struggling readers, can learn to read, that means they can go grocery shopping with a shopping list, read the labels on boxes and cans, and read basic instructions," Allor said. "Even minimal reading skills can lead to a more independent life and improved job opportunities."

The findings indicate a critical need for more research to determine ways to streamline and intensify instruction for these students, said Allor, whose research focuses on preventing reading failure among struggling readers.

"This study demonstrates the potential of students with intellectual d
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Contact: Margaret Allen
mallen@smu.edu
214-768-7664
Southern Methodist University
Source:Eurekalert

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