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Early Intervention

Early Intervention at Cambridge SchoolEarly Intervention Scholarships at Cambridge School

Based on the increasingly clear research that early intervention is critical for educating children with dyslexia, Cambridge School will begin offering substantial Early Intervention Scholarships for students in Kindergarten through Grade 2. Many times parents are given a variety of reasons why they should “wait and see” and hope that their child’s reading will improve with time.  However, research shows that children who struggle with reading and pre-reading skills in preschool and kindergarten will not catch up to their peers without intensive intervention, especially if there is a family history of dyslexia or undiagnosed learning challenges.  Unfortunately, the most effective window for this early intervention comes well before students in traditional learning environments are identified and diagnosed with dyslexia. For more information read this article on predicting dyslexia before children learn to read.

Cambridge School Early Intervention Scholarships are intended to make it possible for families to give their children research-based, intensive reading intervention by removing financial barriers to early intervention. Please click here to apply.

Early Behavioral Predictors of Dyslexia

Key childhood predictors of reading problems include early problems with phonological awareness, short-term memory, rapid naming, expressive vocabulary, pseudoword repetition, and letter naming. (See, e.g. Scarborough, 1998).

Puolakanaho et al., 2007, showed that familial risk, letter knowledge, phonological awareness and rapid automatized naming at 3.5 years predicted later diagnosis of developmental dyslexia. Additionally, those children who later developed dyslexia exhibited auditory and speech processing deficits at a very early age.


Studies of families with dyslexia suggest that dyslexia is strongly heritable, occurring in up to 68% of identical twins and up to 50% of individuals who have a first-degree relative with dyslexia (Finucci et al., 1984; Volger et al., 1985; Grigorenko, 2008).

Early Versus Late Intervention

A meta-analysis comparing intervention studies offering at least 100 sessions reported larger effect sizes in kindergarten/1st grade than in 2nd and 3rd grades (Wanzek & Vaughn, 2007; Wanzek et al., 2013)

When “at risk” beginning readers receive intensive instruction, 56% to 92% of at-risk children across six studies reached the range of average reading ability (Torgesen, 2004).

Overall, converging research points to the importance of early and individualized interventions for “at risk” students for improving the effectiveness of remediation (Denton & Vaughn, 2008; Connor et al., 2009; Shaywitz, Morris, & Shaywitz, 2008, Torgesen, et al, 1999; Flynn, Zheng, & Swanson, 2012; Vellutino et al., 1996; Morris, Lovett, Wolf et al., 2012; Morris et al., 1997).

Research provided courtesy of Dr. Nadine Gaab of Boston Children’s Hospital, the Harvard Medical School, and the Harvard Graduate School of Education. For more information visit www.gaablab.com