The Causes of Reading Difficulties and How to Help Students Who Have Them

60 Minutes

Serious difficulty with word recognition can have pernicious consequences for students. Many students with word recognition difficulty are identified with a specific learning disability in reading, often dyslexia. There are at least six ways to explain the nature of a child’s reading difficulty. Dyslexia is one important cause of word recognition difficulties, but there are others.

In this edWebinar, Dr. Devin Kearns discusses these different causes of reading difficulties and explains some confusing points and controversies related to word recognition difficulty. Then, strategies are provided to support children with word recognition difficulties including dyslexia. These include very foundational strategies for students with very limited reading skills and more advanced strategies for students who have acquired skills for reading monosyllabic words.

This recorded edWebinar is of interest to K-12 teachers and school and district leaders.

About the Presenter

Devin M. Kearns, Ph.D. is an associate professor in the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Connecticut (UConn). He researches reading disabilities—including dyslexia—in school-age children. His research focuses on linking educational practice to cognitive science and neuroscience in collaboration with colleagues at Haskins Laboratories and the Brain Imaging Research Center at UConn. He and his colleagues examine the neurobiological change that occurs as students learn to read. They are also developing a new reading intervention designed to link word reading and meaning and examining how the intervention affects students’ patterns of cognitive processing. He and his colleagues are also developing and testing a game-based dyslexia screening app. Dr. Kearns has seven years of classroom experience as a teacher, literacy coach, and reading specialist. He continues to help schools and districts implement high-quality reading instruction—including demonstrating how to implement evidence-based reading instruction.