Interventions for Students with Learning Disabilities

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Interventions for Students with Learning Disabilities

News Digest 25 (ND25)
Approx. 22 pages when printed
PDF version


Students with learning disabilities often find learning a difficult and painful process. The presence of their learning disability can make learning to read, write, and do math especially challenging.

This News Digest focuses upon two promising interventions for students with learning disabilities: helping students develop their use of learning strategies and helping them develop their phonological awareness. In the first article, Neil Sturomski discusses the importance of teaching students how to learn--specifically, how to use learning strategies to become more purposeful, effective, and independent learners. Research on the use of learning strategies is described briefly, and a process for teaching students about learning strategies is described in detail. This process will be useful for teaching virtually any strategy or set of strategies to students.

A wide variety of learning strategy interventions have been developed over the past 15 years. To identify what strategies might be most appropriate for specific students, teachers can use NICHCY's separate bibliography Learning Strategies for Students with Learning Disabilities. This bibliography provides a listing of articles and books on strategies useful in reading, math, science, and other academic areas.

The second article in this News Digest was written by William Ellis for NICHCY in 1996 and focuses upon the important role that phonological awareness plays in our ability to learn to read. Phonological awareness refers to understanding that the letters of the alphabet correspond to certain sounds and, combined in certain patterns, form meaningful words. Because students with learning disabilities often have great difficulty learning to read, activities addressing and developing their phonological awareness can be the key they need to break the "alphabetic code" and become skilled readers.

Together, these two articles provide information to help professionals working with students with learning disabilities address the special needs of these special students.

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