Reading Disabilities and the Interventionist
Michael G. Pressley
I spend much of my professional life thinking about children who experience difficulties with reading. There is much to think about, for many children do not learn to read as a result of the instruction they experience in the primary grades. By the end of grade 1, it is not at all unusual for 20-30 percent of a class to be behind in reading, most often manifested as difficulties in decoding text. Problems in learning to read during grade 1 predict continuing reading difficulties during the schooling years (see, e.g., Satz, Taylor, Friel, & Fletcher, 1978; Spreen, 1978). Problems in reading during childhood are predictive of poor reading during adulthood ( Bruck, 1990, 1992; Finucci, Gottfredson, & Childs, 1985; Fraunheim & Heckerl, 1983; Schonhaut & Satz, 1983; Spreen, 1988).
Since the late 1970s, there has been steady accumulation of evidence that there are important biological differences between good and at least some poor readers. The information-processing differences between good and poor readers often are many. The contemporary reading interventionist knows that there is a daunting challenge with respect to the prevention and remediation of reading disabilities, at least with respect to some children: That is, some children who experience difficulties in learning to read probably suffer biological differences that translate into a variety of information-processing differences which undermine the development of skilled reading (e.g., see Bruck, 1990; Gaddes, 1994, Chapter 8; Olson, 1994).____________________