Dr Emily Roberts-Tyler (PhD)
Lecturer and applied researcher
Bangor University (School of Education and Human Development, and the School of Psychology).
Research interests, publications, and conference contributions are predominantly in the field of effective reading instruction, specifically in relation to improving reading outcomes for children with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Beyond sight words: Investigating the teaching of reading to individuals with an intellectual disability
Increasing evidence indicates that individuals with Intellectual Disabilities (ID) might benefit from phonics-based reading instruction. However, research and instruction in this field has predominantly focused on sight word reading. This presentation will provide an overview of our programme of research investigating the effects of phonics-based reading instruction on the reading skills of individuals with an intellectual disability.
“Many children with Intellectual Disabilities (ID) struggle to learn to read. Despite these difficulties, information and guidelines regarding teaching reading or other academic skills for individuals with ID are scarce, and often inadequate (Marks, 2000; Wehmeyer, 2009). Increasing evidence indicates that individuals with ID might benefit from phonics-based reading instruction (Dessemontet et al., 2019; Joseph and Seery, 2004; National Reading Panel, 2000; Whalon, Otaiba & Delano, 2011). However, research and instruction in the ID field has predominantly focused on sight word reading (Katims, 2000) and has less frequently investigated phonics instruction (Browder, Wakeman, Spooner, et al., 2006; Joseph & Seery, 2004). Therefore, further research is required to investigate the effects of phonics-based programmes, and programmes incorporating evidence-based instructional components, on the reading skills of individuals with ID (Browder, Gibbs, Ahlgrim-Delzell,
et al., 2009; Whalon, Otaiba, and Delano, 2011).
For several years we have been evaluating the effects of a computer-based early reading programme on the reading skills of individuals with ID. The results across these studies indicate encouraging outcomes for many children and adults (Tyler et al., 2015; Grindle et al., 2013; Roberts-Tyler et al., 2019; O’Sullivan, Grindle & Hughes, 2017). This pilot work has led to the funding of larger scale studies currently underway with both children and adults with ID, which could make a valuable contribution to the future of reading instruction and the level of literacy attained for many people who might previously have been limited to a sight word reading vocabulary”