Importance of Empower™ Reading
Reading disability is the most common disorder of childhood estimated to affect as many as 10-15% of normally developing children (Lyon, 1995). Reading difficulties often persist into adolescence and adulthood. According to the 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy, almost 43% of the United States and 40% of Canadian adults have difficulty with reading (Kutner et al., 2007). Lower literacy standards are associated with poorer general health outcomes (WHO, 1999), while higher literacy standards are a associated with improved health, greater occupational opportunity, and better economic security. With the added demands for digital literacy skills today, the personal and societal burdens of low adult literacy will only escalate.
Despite these unfavourable statistics, Empower™ Reading is an evidence-based intervention program that has benefited many students who struggle with reading. It is designed specifically to address the language literacy difficulties of children and adolescents with, or at-risk of, having a reading disability.
Many features of Empower™ Reading contribute to its efficacy in addressing children and adolescents’ reading difficulties including:
- direct remediation of the core deficits associated with reading problems;
- phonological and strategy learning deficits are addressed;
- explicit instruction of multiple decoding strategies;
- teaching about spelling patterns, morphology, and language structure;
- provision of a metacognitive organizational plan to support the students’ understanding of what the strategies are, when and how to use them, and how to self-monitor their application;
- the retraining of inaccurate attributions associated with success and failure.
Empower™ Reading includes professional training that consist of workshops and mentoring and coaching sessions for Empower™ teachers. Empower™ Reading training has been developed based on evidence of what constitutes effective training and professional development for teachers: instructional coaching, metacognitive teacher training, mentorship, and collaborative learning. The workshops present current research on learning disabilities and evidence-based literacy training, as well as in-depth training of Empower™ Reading, including its principles, content, and applications. The coaching sessions provide teachers with customized support in their classroom setting. For each Empower™ Reading module, a professional training course is provided and is tailored to the specific content of that module.