A longitudinal study of nearly 4,000 students found that those who don’t read proficiently by third grade are four times more likely to leave school without a diploma than those who are proficient readers (Hernandez, 2011).  

When the school team, including the occupational therapist or occupational therapy assistant, helps to address reading ability, there may be a greater likelihood that the student will successfully transition towards graduation and beyond. Literacy includes several forms of expression: reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Because many states have identified literacy as a state identified measurable result (SimR) and a component of their state performance improvement plans, it is important that practitioners advocate for their role in promoting literacy. Occupational therapy practitioners can help to increase participation in reading by supporting individual students, groups of students, and whole classrooms. They can help to modify both activities and environments to make reading more accessible. They can build early literacy skills by addressing play, language, attention, emotional regulation, and other components necessary for successful performance.

Below is a list of resources that describe ways that occupational therapy practitioners can get involved.

Available for Purchase: 

Best Practices in Universal Design for Learning (Chapter 20)

Best Practices in Visual Perception and Academic Skills to Enhance Participation (Chapter 38)

Best Practices in Fine Motor and Visual–Motor Skills to Enhance Participation (Chapter 39)

Best Practices in Early Literacy & Literacy Skills to Enhance Participation (Chapter 41)

Best Practices in Handwriting and Writing Skills to Enhance Participation (Chapter 42)

Best Practices in the Use of Assistive Technology to Enhance Participation (Chapter 43)

Hernandez, D. J. (2011). Double jeopardy: How third grade reading skills and poverty influence high school graduation. Baltimore: Annie E. Casey Foundation. Retrieved from