neurophysiological factors that can make learning to read very difficult for many children. Duringthis
same period, our knowledge of methods for teaching these children to read has also grown
significantly. The scientific study of interventions for children with reading disabilities has lead todiscoveries in three core areas.
First, we are learning more about the instructional strategies that are most effective with these
children. For the majority of both younger and older children,interventions are more effective when
they provide explicit and systematic instruction in phonemic awareness and phonics along with many
opportunities to practice these skills in meaningful reading andwriting tasks. We also know that
children with reading disabilities (or dyslexia) require intensive instruction. These children usually
require a period of daily one-on-one or small group instructionto "close the gap" with their same-age
peers. We also are learning that skillful teaching involving careful "scaffolding" of learning tasks is
also very helpful in building the reading skills ofchildren with reading difficulties.
Surprisingly, it may also be true that instructional methods can vary on a number of other dimensions
and be equally effective, as long as they contain the importantcore elements. For example, in one
recent study, two methods that differed significantly in the amount of time devoted to various
instructional activities produced essentially the same strongoutcomes for 3rd to 5th grade children
with severe reading disabilities. In one method, teachers spent the majority of the time teaching
phonemic awareness and phonics using single word activities, sometime teaching sight words, and
minimal time reading text. In contrast, the teachers implementing the other method spent the majority
of their time on supported reading of text, slightly less time...