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Reading in Arabic is a vital skill for academic success and progress in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) elementary schools and beyond. However, there is substantial evidence to suggest that a significant number of UAE children in lower elementary grades experience difficulties in reading school-related materials. Research in reading has clearly documented that the lack of phonological awareness skills is a major contributor to reading difficulties. The aims of the present study were to (a) identify phonological awareness deficits among UAE’s struggling first-grade readers, (b) provide intervention in the area of phonological awareness deficits through direct training, (c) determine whether phonological awareness direct training significantly increases phonological awareness abilities, and (d) determine the effect of gender on the reading intervention. The results of this study indicate that a direct training intervention program in the UAE positively impacted struggling first-grade readers’ phonological awareness abilities.