Authors: Peter Johnston and Donna Scanlon.

Article: An Examination of Dyslexia Research and Instruction With Policy Implications.

Publication: Literacy Research: Theory, Method, and Practice (Sage Journals). Volume 70, Issue 1, 107-128 2021 | DOI: 0.1177/23813377211024625

[Full Text]

Some children experience more difficulty than others becoming literate, often at great emotional, intellectual, social, and economic cost to themselves, but also to those who love and care for them, and for society at large. The causes of those difficulties and what to do about them have been the source of much research and sometimes heated disagreement among researchers and educators—disagreements that, in one form or another, go back well over a century. The current focus of this attention (from the media, some researchers, parents, and politicians) is on the construct dyslexia—a term used (mostly) to describe serious difficulty with the word reading aspect of the reading process.
Currently, there is a well-organized and active contingent of concerned parents and educators (and others) who argue that dyslexia is a frequent cause of reading difficulties, affecting approximately 20% of the population, and that there is a widely accepted treatment for such difficulties: an instructional approach relying almost exclusively on intensive phonics instruction. Proponents argue that it is based on “settled science,” which they refer to as “the science of reading” (SOR). The approach is based on a narrow view of science and a restricted range of research focused on word learning and, more recently, neurobiology, but pays little attention to aspects of literacy like comprehension and writing or dimensions of classroom learning and teacher preparation. Because the dyslexia and instructional arguments are inextricably linked, in this report, we explore both while adopting a more comprehensive perspective on relevant theory and research.

Tagged as: literacy, og-overview, orton-gillingham, and policy


Johnston, P., & Scanlon, D. (2021). An Examination of Dyslexia Research and Instruction With Policy Implications. Literacy Research: Theory, Method, and Practice, 70(1), 107–128.

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