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Summarized by Cindy Perras, M.Ed., OCT
Educational Consultant, LDAO

Girl reading at home

The Learning Disabilities Research Program (LDRP) at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) has worked to better understand the core learning problems of children and adolescents with severe reading disabilities. For over 30 years, the work of LDRP has focused on developing programs and evaluating the progress of more than 6,000 struggling readers who have received focused, systematic remediation in small groups in the LDRP laboratory classrooms and community classrooms. The Provincial Demonstration Schools for students with learning disabilities (Trillium, Sagonaska, and Amethyst) participated in some of the LDRP’s research studies. Based on its intensive research and its findings, the LDRP developed Empower™ Reading, which is being used in over 500 schools, in over 20 school boards, in southern Ontario.

What Is Empower™ Reading?

Empower™ Reading is a set of multi-component intervention programs that:

  • Teaches struggling readers effective strategies for decoding and spelling words and understanding text.
  • Allows students to experience success in reading and gain confidence in their skills.
  • Helps students become independent readers equipped with multiple strategies.
  • Empowers students to become active readers who read independently for meaning, information and pleasure.
  • Click here for a full description of the programs.

Who is Empower™ Reading designed for?

Empower™ Reading is recommended for instruction with small groups of students who:

  • Are experiencing significant difficulties acquiring age-appropriate reading skills
  • Speak English as a first language or are English language learners
  • Have low average to above average cognitive ability

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This video produced by LD@school describes"The Tiered Approach"and its application by the Thunder Bay Catholic District School Board (TBCDSB). It also discusses the Empower™ Reading Program and how it can be implemented in the classroom.

For information on the Learning Disabilities Research Program (LDRP), click here.

Click here for information on professional development for educators.

Click here for information on Empower Research.

For information on the Empower™ Reading Program and the Ontario Provincial Schools’ Research Partnership, click here.

For resources and materials on reading disabilities from LDRP, click here.

For further information about Ontario’s Provincial Demonstration Schools for Students with learning disabilities: