A major conclusion from the last decade of research on children with poor reading performance is that early, systematic instruction in phonological awareness and letter-sound correspondences improves early reading and spelling skills and results in a reduction of the number of students who are reading below grade level. To teach reading to at-risk students and students with learning disabilities, teachers need to have positive perceptions regarding the role of systematic, explicit instruction, as well as knowledge of English language structure. The purpose of this study was to examine the perceptions and knowledge of general educators at two professional levels toward early literacy instruction for students at risk for reading failure. Unfortunately, our findings are similar to those obtained by Moats in 1994: Many general education teachers, at both preservice and inservice levels, are not prepared adequately for this challenging task.
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