The primary purpose of our research was to determine if a comprehensive, phonics-based, direct instruction reading program would be effective in teaching early reading and language skills to students with moderate intellectual disabilities (ID). Participants were 28 elementary students from 10 public schools in an urban school district and one urban private school who were randomly placed into treatment and contrast groups. Students in the treatment condition received daily, comprehensive reading instruction in small groups of 1-4 students for approximately 40 minutes per session. A broad array of measures was studied, including phonemic awareness, phonics, word recognition, comprehension, and oral language. Means favored the intervention group on all measures, with moderate to strong effect sizes. Statistically significant differences were found on most measures, including phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, and comprehension. These findings demonstrated that students with moderate ID can learn basic reading skills given consistent, explicit, and comprehensive reading instruction across an extended period of time.