The principles of reading and writing instruction presented so far apply equally to typically developing learners and to struggling learners, such as those who have a learning disability or a disability specific to reading or writing. In other words, research does not suggest that the learner who struggles with reading and writing needs an entirely different type of instruction from learners whose skills develop typically. Rather, the instruction may need to be adapted in particular ways to help the learner overcome specific reading, writing, and learning difficulties. Literature on interventions for struggling K-12 learners points to additional principles of instruction that might also help adults overcome specific areas of difficulty.
Principles for effectively supporting struggling readers and writers include:
• directly targeting specific literacy difficulties while giving explicit instruction in reading and writing;
• providing more intense instruction, more explicit instruction, and even more opportunities to practice than for other learners;
• offering enhanced support to help learners generalize and transfer their new literacy skills;
• addressing struggling learners’ attributions, beliefs, and motivational profiles—in other words, whether they explain their successes and failures to themselves in ways that foster motivation and continued engagement or decrease motivation and engagement; and
• providing instruction that is individualized, with materials that are at the right level of challenge and with appropriate feedback provided while learning.