The 5% that struggle to read - what have we found regarding their reading potential?

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Debbie_Hepplewhite
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The 5% that struggle to read - what have we found regarding their reading potential?

Postby Debbie_Hepplewhite » Wed Nov 20, 2019 2:07 pm

It's not uncommon for people in the field of literacy to refer to 'the 5%' of children who struggle to acquire the capacity to read.

What is the reality about this 5% figure?

This is an extract from the Education Advisory Board (EAB) Report circulated via the DDOLL network:

'Truth Be Told: There’s No Excuse for Poor Outcomes

The National Institute of Health (NIH) indicates that nearly all children have the cognitive capacity to learn to read, estimating that only 5% of young readers have severe cognitive impairments that would make acquiring reading skills extremely difficult.

While the remaining 95% of students have the capacity to read, not every student will learn to read under the same conditions. An estimated 30% of students will learn to read regardless of how they were taught. However, roughly half of students will need high-quality Tier 1 instruction in foundational skills, and an additional 15% of students will require additional time and support to meet their reading potential.'


Dr Kerry Hempenstall notes that this is a figure often repeated and he provided these summaries to show this:

“Yes, the majority of children who enter kindergarten and elementary school at-risk for reading failure can learn to read at average or above levels, but only if they are identified early and provided with systematic, explicit, and intensive instruction in phonemic awareness, phonics, reading fluency, vocabulary, and reading comprehension strategies. Substantial research supported by NICHD shows clearly that without systematic, focused, and intensive interventions, the majority of children rarely “catch up.” Failure to develop basic reading skills by age nine predicts a lifetime of illiteracy. Unless these children receive the appropriate instruction, more than 74% of the children entering first grade who are at-risk for reading failure will continue to have reading problems into adulthood. On the other hand, the early identification of children at-risk for reading failure coupled with the provision of comprehensive early reading interventions can reduce the percentage of children reading below the basic level in the fourth grade (i.e., 38%) to six percent or less.”

Lyon, G. R. (2003). Why do some children have difficulty learning to read? What can be done about it? Perspectives, 29(2).

Retrieved from http://www.ldao.ca/introduction-to-ldsa ... g-to-read/


“The National Institute of Health (NIH) indicates that nearly all children have the cognitive capacity to learn to read, estimating that only 5% of young readers have severe cognitive impairments that would make acquiring reading skills extremely difficult. While the remaining 95% of students have the capacity to read, not every student will learn to read under the same conditions. An estimated 30% of students will learn to read regardless of how they were taught. However, roughly half of students will need high-quality Tier 1 instruction in foundational skills, and an additional 15% of students will require additional time and support to meet their reading potential.” (p.6)

EAB—District Leadership Forum. (2019). Narrowing the third-grade reading gap: Embracing the science of reading.

Retrieved from https://eab.com/research/district-leade ... ading-gap/


“Research has shown that the ‘phonics first’ system for teaching in English leads to a lower incidence of dyslexia (1.0 to 1.5%, Chall, 1967, 1985; Clark, 1970; SED, 1978; Ferarro, 1982; Read, 1986). If the ‘Look and Say’ system is used then the same researches showed an incidence of 4%. The British Dyslexia Association (2018) now reports an incidence of 4% cases of severe dyslexia and 10 % less severe. This suggests that the ‘phonics first’ agenda (Rose, 2006; DfE, 2014) is not being implemented. However even if it were we should still have a significant number of dyslexic children in our schools and usually there are more than the numbers predicted from the researches. It also shows that phonics as currently undertaken, whether basic, analytic or synthetic is not the answer to the dyslexic problem. It would appear to be necessary but not sufficient.” (p.1)

Montgomery, D. (2018). Part 1: The three educational faces of dyslexia: Some key findings from logographic and alphabetic phases. Global Journal of Human-Social Science: G Linguistics & Education, 18(1), 1-15.


“The incidence of verbal learning disability lies between 3-6% of the population.”

Marshall R.M. & Hynd, G.W. (1993). Neurological basis of learning disabilities. In William W. Bender(Ed.) Learning disabilities: Best practices for professionals. USA: Butterworth-Heinemann.


“The prevalence of students with specific learning disabilities (SWSLD) varies widely within the United States from 5% to 20%, depending on the criteria for identification. This variability in prevalence rates may be related to confusion about identification criteria. For example, states have not yet adopted a universally accepted definition of dyslexia (cf. Tolson & Krnac, 2015; Youman & Mather, 2015). In some states with dyslexia laws, dyslexia refers to struggling readers and writers generally; in other states, the term dyslexia is reserved for students with a profile that includes struggles with phonemic awareness, rapid naming, spelling, decoding, encoding, and fluency despite having typical intelligence.” (p.830)

Otaiba, S., Rouse, A.G., & Bakera, K. (2018). Elementary grade intervention approaches to treat specific learning disabilities, including dyslexia. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 49, 829–842. Retrieved from https://lshss.pubs.asha.org/article.asp ... id=2711414


*Persistent reading problems can be reduced to 2-5% of at-risk students with early, appropriate and at times, intensive, instruction (Brown & Felton, 1990; Felton, 1993).

*The instruction should be structured and explicit - greater explicitness results in greater gains. Less than 3% of the population remained severely impaired after intensive (80 hours) of one-on-one instruction intervention (Alexander et al., 1997, Torgesen et al., 1997).

*20 million (US) children today suffering from reading failure could be reduced by approximately two thirds.”

Lyon, G.R. (2001). Measuring success: Using assessments and accountability to raise student achievement. Subcommittee on Education Reform Committee on Education and the Workforce U.S. House of Representatives Washington, D.C.

*The overall rate of severe impairment dropped to 3% after one semester and 1.5% after two semesters of intervention (40-80 hours) in first year (Vellutino et al., 1996).

*If you identify very-high-risk poor readers (bottom 20 percent of reading ability) in kindergarten and first grade and give them effective, evidence-based instruction, at least 75 percent of this 20 percent will read (Lyon, 2000).
Landauer, R. (2000). Facing up to infirmities in special ed. The Oregonian, December 2.

In studies in Houston, the overall rate of severe impairment for children who received such explicit instruction for one school year was 4.5% of the total population (Alexander et al., 1997).

The above points are from
Hempenstall, K. (2007). Preventing & Overcoming Reading Failure: Programs and Practices. Dyslexia Assessment and Education Centre Workshop, Melbourne University Private, Hawthorn June 22, 2007.

Retrieved from https://www.nifdi.org/resources/hempens ... /file.html


“Population estimates revealed that 13.4% of children could be classified as late-emerging poor readers. These children could be divided into those with problems in comprehension alone (52%), word reading alone (36%), or both (12%). Further results indicated that late-emerging poor readers often had a history of language and/or nonverbal cognitive impairments in kindergarten. Subtypes of poor readers also differed significantly in their profiles of language, early literacy, and nonverbal cognitive abilities in kindergarten. Results are discussed in terms of causal factors and implications for early identification.” (p.166).

Catts, H.W., Compton, D., Tomblin, J.B. & Sittner Bridges, M. (2012). Prevalence and nature of late-emerging poor readers. Journal of Educational Psychology, 104(1), 166–181.


“In a study of students from the Connecticut Longitudinal Study, Shaywitz et al found a research-identified incidence of reading disability of 8.7% of boys and 6.9% of girls. However, a teacher-identified incidence of the same population identified 13.6% of boys and only 3.2% of girls. The authors suggested that greater reports of behavioral difficulties among boys in the classroom may have lead to this bias.”

Shaywitz, S.E., Shaywitz, B.A., Fletcher, J.M., & Escobar, M.D. (1990). Prevalence of reading disability in boys and girls. Journal of the American Medical Association, 264, 998-1002.


“The speech and language industry did not produce the studies that led Reid Lyon, former Chief, Child Development and Behavior Branch of the NICHD, to testify before Congress, "The early identification of children at-risk for reading failure coupled with the provision of comprehensive early reading interventions can reduce the percentage of children reading below the basic level in the fourth grade (e.g., 38 percent) to six percent or less (Lyon, 2001)”.

“If we adopt the 30th percentile as a standard for adequate reading progress, then the proportion of the total population remaining at risk in spite of the best interventions tested to date ranges from 5 percent to 7 percent”

Torgesen, J.K. (1998, Spring/Summer). Catch them before they fall: Identification and assessment to prevent reading failure in young children. American Educator. http://www.ldonline.org/ld_indepth/read ... hthem.html.


“The reduction of severe decoding problems to the 3-10% range has occurred using specially trained teachers (Vellutino et al., 1996; Torgesen et al., 2001), paraprofessionals (parents with a few hours training, Jenkins, Vadasy, Firebaugh, and Prolifet, 2000), student peers (Fuchs and Fuchs, 2005), and a mixture of providers (King and Torgesen, 2000). In all cases, monitoring of the instructional fidelity of the providers (teachers, paraprofessionals, peers) was of course necessary for a study, but also critical to achieving results (for example, Jenkins et al.). In the usual school, teachers receive "training" which, when the classroom doors are closed, has little impact on actual instruction (Vaughn, Moody, and Schumm, 1998; Vaughn, Hughes, Moody, and Elbaum, 2001). Don McCabe (http://www.avko.org) has long said it well as he reminds us that much of what many students lack in knowledge of reading and spelling is not taught in the classroom.”

Fuchs, D., & Fuchs, L.S. (2005). Peer-assisted learning strategies: Promoting word recognition, fluency, and reading comprehension in young children. The Journal of Special Education 39(1), 34-44.


"Learning disabilities have become a sociological sponge to wipe up the spills of general education…. It's where children who weren't taught well go."

G. Reid Lyon, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development LA Times 12/12/1999 http://www.latimes.com/news/state/repor ... 991212.htm


“Chairman Jeffords and members of the committee, some children learn to read and write with ease. Even before they enter school, they have developed an understanding that the letters on a page can be sounded out to make words and some preschool children can even read words correctly that they have never seen before and comprehend what they have read. As Marilyn Adams has reported, before school, and without any great effort or pressure on the part of their parents, they pick up books, pencils, and paper, and they are on their way, almost as though by magic. However, the magic of this effortless journey into the world of reading is available to only about 5% of our nation's children. It is suggested in the research literature that another 20% to 30% learn to read relatively easily once exposed to formal instruction, and it seems that youngsters in this group learn to read in any classroom, with any instructional emphasis. Unfortunately, it appears that for about 60% of our nation's children, learning to read is a much more formidable challenge, and for at least 20% to 30% of these youngsters, reading is one of the most difficult tasks that they will have to master throughout their schooling.” (p.3)

Lyon, G.R. (1998). Overview of NICHD reading and literacy initiatives. U.S. Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources, United States Congress, Congressional Printing Office, Washington, D.C. Retrieved from https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED444128.pdf


“Learning to read is not just one of the goals of schooling. It is essential if students are to succeed in any grade, in any subject. According to the National Reading Panel, only about 5% of children learn to read effortlessly. About 60% find early reading difficult, and of that number, 20-30% really struggle. By fourth grade, the seriousness of the problem for these children becomes obvious.” (p.34)

Lewis, L. & Paik, S. (2001). Add it up: Using research to improve education for low-income and minority students. Washington: Poverty & Race Research Action Council.Retrieved from https://prrac.org/pdf/Add_it_Up.pdf

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