UC Riverside

Rollanda O'Connor

Rollanda O'Connor

Helping Educators Teach Children to Acquire Reading Skills

Professor Rollanda O'Connor understands the significant role reading plays in one's life. Her innovative research in special education programs and how children acquire reading skills is helping to address one of the many challenges faced by today's K-12 educators.

National research confirms that reading is the most important foundational skill for all school-based learning — yet only five percent of children learn to read effortlessly — and 10 to 15 percent of children who have difficulties learning to read will drop out of school and only two percent of these children will complete a four-year college program.

To address the needs of very poor readers, researchers and educators in the 1980s suggested that these readers might benefit from instruction in phonological manipulation skills. O'Connor discovered, however, that the knowledge base did not include information about how children in special education would fare with this type of instruction — that is when she decided to focus her studies on whether and how improving phonological skills might lessen the severity of a reading disability.

To date, her research has led to better practices for teaching word recognition to all children, proven techniques that are applicable across primary grades and practical ideas that reading specialists and special educators can immediately implement within the classroom.

O'Connor is an avid advocate for early identification of reading difficulties in the classroom and continues to develop, implement, and evaluate improved approaches for developing the reading fluency of struggling readers.

See the facutly profile for Professor Rollanda O'Connor on the Graduate School of Education website.

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