The Isle of Wight studies: the scope and scale of reading difficulties

Barbara Maughan*, Michael Rutter, William Yule

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Beginning in the 1960s, the Isle of Wight studies were among the first to investigate developmental reading problems in representative, population-based samples, using the tools of epidemiology. In this paper, we provide an overview of the contribution of the Isle of Wight studies to research on reading disabilities. We begin with an account of the surveys of primary school children, then move on to describe the programme of epidemiological and longitudinal research that flowed from them. The early studies provided some of the first systematic evidence on the extent and correlates of severe developmental reading problems, and their overlaps with other childhood difficulties. Subsequent studies documented the persistence of early reading problems into adolescence; provided comparative data on rates of reading problems in an inner city area; and most recently explored the long-term persistence of literacy problems up to mid-life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)429-438
Number of pages10
JournalOxford Review of Education
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2020


  • Developmental reading problems
  • dyslexia
  • epidemiology
  • Isle of Wight
  • longitudinal studies


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