Reading and Writing

, Volume 21, Issue 4, pp 395–412 | Cite as

Training reading and phoneme awareness skills in children with Down syndrome

  • Kristina Goetz
  • Charles Hulme
  • Sophie Brigstocke
  • Julia M. Carroll
  • Louise Nasir
  • M. Snowling


The authors report a short-term reading intervention study involving 15 children with Down syndrome (DS) who attended mainstream schools. The intervention programme taught children phoneme segmentation and blending skills in the context of learning letter-sounds and working with words in books. The children were taught by their learning support assistants, who received special training for this purpose. Compared to a waiting group, a group of eight children with DS improved significantly on measures of early literacy skills (letter-sound knowledge, Early Word Recognition) following eight weeks of intervention. The waiting group started to make progress once they received the intervention. Both groups maintained progress on the literacy measures five months after the intervention had finished. The results suggest that children with DS can benefit from structured, phonics-based reading intervention.


Down syndrome Learning support assistants Phonics Reading intervention 



This study was carried out with support from Health Foundation grant 2454. We would like to thank Christopher Jolly and Jolly Learning for donating Jolly Phonics materials to the study. We thank the learning support assistants and the 15 children for their participation.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kristina Goetz
    • 1
  • Charles Hulme
    • 1
  • Sophie Brigstocke
    • 1
  • Julia M. Carroll
    • 1
  • Louise Nasir
    • 1
  • M. Snowling
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of YorkYorkUK

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