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Fuchs have used self-monitoring in some of their intervention packages.

Research on Phonological Processing

Given that the majority of individuals with learning disabilities experience reading difficulties, the research on phonological awareness has the potential to improve the assessment and intervention practices used to treat learning disabilities. Adams (1990) reported that the discovery of the nature and importance of phonemic awareness is considered to be the single greatest breakthrough in reading in the 20th century.

Definition and nature of phonemic awareness. The National Reading Panel (2000) noted that phonemes are the smallest units of spoken language and that phonemic awareness is the ability to focus on and manipulate phonemes. Reid Lyon, Chief of the Child Development and Behavior Branch of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) of the NIH, periodically reports on the research findings of NIH studies concerning reading development for children with and without reading difficulties. In a 1998 report to the U.S. Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources, Lyon (1998) discussed the following specific findings related to phonemic awareness, early intervention, and poor readers:

In contrast to good readers who understand that segmented units of speech can be linked to letters and letter patterns, poor readers have substantial difficulty developing this “alphabetic principle.” The culprit appears to be a deficit in phoneme awareness—the understanding that words are made up of sound segments called phonemes. Difficulties in developing phoneme awareness can have genetic and neurobiological origins or can be attributable to a lack of exposure to language patterns and usage during the preschool years. The end result is the same however. Children who lack phoneme awareness have difficulties linking speech sounds to letters—their decoding skills are labored and weak, resulting in extremely slow reading. This labored access to print renders comprehension impossible. (p. 8)

Applications of phonemic awareness research. Phonemic awareness skills allow for early assessment. For example, phonemic assessments in kindergarten and first grade serve as powerful predictors of children who will have reading difficulties. Lyon (1998) has noted that these assessments are efficient (i.e., they take approximately 20 minutes) and predict with 80% to 90% accuracy who will become good or poor readers.

It is also recognized that the development of phonemic awareness is a necessary but not sufficient condition for learning to read fluently. Phonemic awareness training must be combined with other types of reading instruction to improve reading skills of poor readers to average levels.

Lyon (1998) has highlighted the need for multiple interventions:

We have learned that for 90% to 95% of poor readers, prevention and early intervention programs that combine instruction in phoneme awareness, phonics, fluency development, and reading comprehension strategies, provided by well trained teachers, can increase reading skills to average reading levels. However, we have also learned that if we delay intervention until nine-years-of- age, (the time that most children with reading difficulties receive services), approximately 75% of the children will continue to have difficulties learning to read throughout high school. (p. 9)

Definition of dyslexia. Phonemic awareness research has already had an influence on the definition of dyslexia. In 1994, the Research Committee of the Orton Dyslexia Society (now known as the International Dyslexia Association), along with representatives from the National Center on Learning Disabilities and the NICHD, set forth the following working definition of dyslexia:

Dyslexia is one of several distinct learning disabilities. It is a specific language-based disorder of constitutional origin characterized by difficulties in single word decoding, usually reflecting insufficient phonological processing abilities. These difficulties in single word decoding are often

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