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Interventions combining phonically based reading instruction with phonological training are generally effective for children with reading (decoding) difficulties. However, a minority of children respond poorly to such interventions. This study explored the characteristics of children who showed poor response to reading intervention and aimed to improve their literacy and language skills via a new theoretically motivated intervention. Twelve 8-year-old treatment poor responders with severe and persisting reading difficulties participated. A 9-week reading intervention incorporating reading, phonological and vocabulary training was implemented. Before the intervention began the children showed almost no progress over 6 months of regular classroom education, on measures of oral language and literacy. Over the intervention period improvements were made on measures of reading, phonological awareness and language skills, which were maintained 6 months later. Although the intervention was effective, it should be noted that most children remained poor readers and require ongoing remediation. © United Kingdom Literacy Association 2008.

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of Research in Reading

Publication Date





319 - 336