Early intervention in dyslexia can narrow achievement gap

Closing the dyslexia achievement gap
Closing the dyslexia achievement gap. This is a chart that shows there are differences between typical and dyslexic readers as early as first grade. Credit: Shaywitz, Yale University

Identifying children with dyslexia as early as first grade couldnarrow or even close the achievement gap with typical readers,according to a new study by researchers at the University ofCalifornia, Davis, and Yale University.

The data indicate that it is no longer acceptable to wait until achild is in third grade or later before undertaking efforts toidentify or address .

"If the persistent between dyslexic and typicalreaders is to be narrowed, or even closed, reading interventions mustbe implemented early, when children are still developing the basicfoundation for reading acquisition," said Emilio Ferrer, a UC Davispsychology professor. He is lead author of the article published inThe Journal of Pediatrics this month.

Ferrer and his Yale colleagues, Bennett and Sally Shaywitz, reportthe results of a longitudinal study of reading from first grade to12th grade and beyond. Compared with typical readers, dyslexicreaders had lower reading scores as early as first grade, and theirtrajectories over time never converge with those of typical readers.These data demonstrate that such differences are not so much afunction of increasing disparities over time, but instead reflectmarked differences already present in first grade between typical anddyslexic readers.

The authors also conclude that implementing effective readingprograms as early as kindergarten or even preschool offers thepotential to close the gap.

Related research in early intervention

The study builds on recent studies by UC Davis researchers and othersthat find that interventions in early reading are available andeffective.


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Dyslexic readers have disrupted network connections in the brain

More information: Emilio Ferrer et al. Achievement Gap in Reading Is Present as Early as First Grade and Persists through Adolescence, The Journal of Pediatrics (2015). DOI: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2015.07.045
Journal information: Journal of Pediatrics

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