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Teaching Reading to Children With Disabilities. Did You Know That…. Only 31% of the nation’s fourth graders are proficient readers ( N ational Assessment of Education Programs, 2003). Students who fail to read on grade level by the fourth grade rarely “catch up” (Lyon, 2001).

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Teaching Reading to Children With Disabilities

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did you know that
Did You Know That…
  • Only 31% of the nation’s fourth graders are proficient readers (National Assessment of Education Programs, 2003).
  • Students who fail to read on grade level by the fourth grade rarely “catch up”(Lyon, 2001).
no child left behind legislation
No Child Left Behind Legislation
  • Intended to address literacy crisis
  • Requires schools to use evidence-based reading practices

ALL children will learn to read well by the end of third grade

all includes children with disabilities
“ALL” Includes Children With Disabilities
  • Because reading is a critical skill for future independence
  • Because reading is the central focus of early education
  • Because access to general education means access to literacy instruction
  • Because reading instruction does not stop for nondisabled students at the first sign of “no progress”
connecticut s blueprint for reading acheivement 2000
Connecticut’s Blueprint for Reading Acheivement--2000

Recommended ways to raise reading achievement of CT’s lowest performing students

  • Reduce class size
  • Full day kindergartens
  • Intensive early intervention reading programs, including after school and summer programs
problems with teacher preparation
Problems With Teacher Preparation
  • Teacher prep programs in reading are rarely based on current scientific evidence (Moats, 1997)
  • Special education teachers in CT are certified for K-12 and most do not have sufficient training in reading
connecticut teachers k 3
Connecticut Teachers—K-3
  • 66% have no training in phonemic awareness
  • A similarly significant number lack training in vocabulary, comprehension, reading fluency
    • Source: CT Early Reading Success Panel Needs Assessment, 2000
reading instruction for ct students with id
Reading Instruction for CT Students With ID
  • Survey of reading instruction for kids with intellectual disabilities and nondisabled children in CT (Whitbread, 2004)
  • Distributed to all 169 CT schools
  • Return rate = 60% (100 districts)
where s the phonics
Where’s The Phonics??
  • Nearly 30% of the teachers report using Edmark as the primary reading program for students with intellectual disabilities
  • Sight word program--does not teach children to generalize knowledge to new words
who is teaching
Who Is Teaching ?
  • 50% report that the special education teacher teaches reading to children with intellectual disabilities
  • 30% report that students receive reading instruction from the regular education teacher
  • 20% reported “other” (tutor, paraprofessional, reading teacher)
where is instruction taking place
Where Is Instruction Taking Place?
  • 27% report that instruction takes place in the regular education classroom
  • 49% report that instruction takes place in the resource room
  • 24% report that instruction takes place in a self contained special education classroom
what do we know about inclusion and literacy
What Do We Know About Inclusion and Literacy?

Children with intellectual disabilities educated in inclusive classrooms score higher on literacy measures than children educated in segregated settings (Buckley, 2000)

what about planning time
What About Planning Time?

Over half of the survey respondents report that there is NO planned collaboration time between regular educators and special educators

  • “we meet after school and before school”
  • “we meet on our lunch hour”
  • “it only happens on our own time”
  • “we have informal, on-the-run conversations”
the national reading panel nrp
The National Reading Panel (NRP)
  • Reviewed more than 100,000 reading studies
  • Formed the basis of No Child Left Behind mandates
  • Identified five critical elements of effective reading instruction.
critical elements of reading instruction
Critical Elements of Reading Instruction

Phonemic awareness— ability to hear & manipulate sounds in words

Phonics— relationship between letters & sound

Fluency—ability to read accurately, fluidly, & with expression

Vocabulary—communicating effectively; Recognizing words in print

Textcomprehension—understanding what is read

phonemic awareness
Phonemic Awareness
  • Phonemes are the smallest units of sound in a spoken language.
  • Phonemic awareness falls on a continuum of phonological awareness tasks.

More complex tasks

Phonemic awareness

Blending and segmenting individual phonemes

Onset-rime segmentation

Syllable segmentation and blending

Sentence segmentation

Rhyming songs

Less complex tasks

Texas Center for Reading and Language Arts

Phonological awareness skills

important points about phonemic awareness
Important Points About Phonemic Awareness
  • Can help preschoolers, kindergartners, 1st graders, and older, less able readers.
  • Blending and segmentation are the most important skills to teach because they are critical to children’s ability to read and spell.
  • PA is a particular area of difficulty for students with intellectual disabilities

Armbruster, 2001

examples of phonemic awareness tasks
Examples of Phonemic Awareness Tasks
  • Sound isolation: what is the first sound in rose?
  • Phoneme deletion: what word would be left if the /k/ sound were taken away from cat?
  • Word to word matching: do pen and pipe begin with the same sound?
  • Blending: what word would we have if you put these sounds together: /s/, /a/, /t/?
phonemic awareness tasks continued
Phonemic Awareness Tasks, Continued
  • Phoneme counting:How many sounds do you hear in the word cake?
  • Deleting phonemes: What sound do you hear in meat that is missing in eat?
  • Odd word out: What word starts with a different sound: bag, nine, beach, bike?
  • Sound to word matching: Is there a /k/ in bike?
the most important skills to teach are blending and segmenting
The Most Important Skills to Teach Are Blending and Segmenting
  • Blending. Children listen to a sequence of separately spoken phonemes and then combine the phonemes to form a word. /d/ /o/ /g/ is dog
  • Segmentation. Children break a spoken word into its separate phonemes. There are four sounds in truck: /t/ /r/ /u/ /k/.

Armbruster, 2001

phonemic awareness instruction
Phonemic Awareness Instruction
  • Means to an end, not an end in itself.
  • Part of an overall reading approach—not the entire reading program
  • Average 20 hours total (may be more for children with disabilities)

Armbruster, 2001

phonemic awareness activities in mather goldstein text
Phonemic Awareness Activities in Mather & Goldstein text:
  • Invented or temporary spelling (p. 254)
  • Analyzing word structure (p. 254-255)
  • Adapted Elkonin procedure (p. 255)
  • Auditory sequencing (p. 256)
  • Making words (p. 257)
  • The understanding that there is a predictable relationship between phonemes (the sounds in spoken language) and graphemes, the letters that represent those sounds in written language and that this information can be used to read or decode (“sound out”) words.

National Institute for Literacy, 2002

phonics instruction
Phonics Instruction
  • Systematic and explicit phonics instruction significantly improves kindergarten and first-grade children’s word recognition and spelling.
  • Significantly improves children’s reading comprehension, word recognition, and spelling.

Armbruster, 2001

what is systematic explicit instruction
What Is Systematic, Explicit Instruction?
  • “A program is systematic if the plan of instruction includes a carefully selected set of letter-sound relationships that are organized into a logical sequence. Explicit means the programs provide teachers with precise directions for the teaching of these relationships.”
  • Research on evidence based programs rely on programs that were implemented exactly as prescribed

National Institute for Literacy, 2003

systematic and explicit phonics instruction
Systematic and Explicit Phonics Instruction
  • Provides instruction in letter-sound relationships
  • Provides the teacher with directions on how to organize the introduction of these relationships into a logical instructional sequence.
  • Provides children opportunities to practice by reading words, sentences and stories
phonics instruction is
Phonics Instruction Is…
  • Particularly beneficial for children who are having difficulty learning to read
  • Most effective when introduced early

(K or 1).

what are examples of non systematic programs
What Are Examples of Non-systematic Programs?
  • Literature based programs that emphasize reading and writing activities
  • Basal reading programs that focus on whole word and do not specifically teach children how to blend letters to pronounce words
  • Sight word programs
how much phonics instruction is enough
How Much Phonics Instruction Is Enough?

Two years of phonics instruction is sufficient for most students.

  • If phonics instruction begins early in K, it should be completed by the end of grade 1.
  • If it begins early in grade 1, it should be completed by the end of grade 2.
  • May be longer for children with disabilities

Armbruster, 2002

phonics activities in mather goldstein text
Phonics Activities in Mather & Goldstein text:
  • Analog strategy (p. 261)
  • Glass analysis method (p. 263)
  • Spelling grid (p. 264)
  • Flash cards (p. 267)
  • Flow list (p. 267-269)
  • Personalized dictionary (p. 269)
  • Fernald method (p. 271)
  • Cover-write methods (p. 272)
  • Backward spelling (p. 264)
  • Self-monitoring (p. 269)
  • “Fluency is the ability to read a text accurately, quickly, and with proper expression and comprehension. Because fluent readers do not have to concentrate on decoding words, they can focus their attention on what the text means.” (National Institute for Literacy, 2002)
  • NAEP found that 44% of fourth graders are low in fluency
important points about fluency
Important Points About Fluency
  • Attention to fluency is often neglected in reading instruction.
  • Fluency can be improved by repeated oral readings with feedback
  • Sustained silent reading has not been shown to improve fluency
improving fluency
Improving Fluency
  • Repeated readings
  • Previewing while listening
  • Timed oral readings
  • Peer tutoring
  • Goal setting
  • Chart & record progress
  • Monitor progress
fluency activities in mather goldstein text
Fluency Activities in Mather & Goldstein text:
  • Speed drills (p. 275)
  • Rapid word recognition chart (p. 275-276)
  • Choral reading or neurological impress method (p. 276)
  • Repeated readings (p. 276-278)
  • Taped books (p.278)
  • Listening vocabulary -- the words a person knows when hearing them in oral speech.
  • Speaking vocabulary -- the words we use when we speak.
  • Reading vocabulary -- the words a person knows when seeing them in print.
  • Writing vocabulary -- the words we use in writing.

National Institute for Literacy, 2003


Important in reading

comprehension. Readers cannot understand what they are reading unless they know what most of the words mean.

the matthew effect
“The Matthew Effect”

Reading failure

Dislike reading

Read less

how vocabulary is learned
How Vocabulary Is Learned
  • Indirectly. Through everyday experiences e.g., conversations with adults, being read to, and reading on their own.
  • Directly. Through explicit instruction in both individual words and word-learning strategies.

Armbruster, 2002

teaching individual words
Teaching Individual Words
  • Teaching specific words before reading helps both vocabulary learning and reading comprehension.
  • Repeated exposures to vocabulary in many contexts aids word learning.

Armbruster, 2002

teaching word learning strategies
Teaching Word Learning Strategies
  • How to use dictionaries and other reference aids to learn word meanings
  • How to use information about word parts (affixes, base words, word roots) to figure out the meanings of words in text
  • How to use context clues to determine word meanings.
text comprehension
Text Comprehension
  • If readers can read the words but do not understand what they are reading, they are not really reading.
  • Instruction in comprehension can help students understand what they read, remember what they read, and communicate with others about what they read.

Armbruster, 2002

improving comprehension
Improving Comprehension

Direct explanation (teacher explains to students why the strategy helps and when to apply the strategy),

Modeling (teacher models how to apply the strategy, usually by "thinking aloud" while reading the text that the students are using),

Guided practice (teacher guides and assists students as they learn how and when to apply the strategy)

Application (teacher helps students practice the strategy until they can apply it independently).

National Institute for Literacy, 2003

teaching comprehension strategies
Teaching Comprehension Strategies
  • monitoring comprehension
  • using graphic and semantic organizers
  • answering questions
  • generating questions
  • recognizing story structure
  • summarizing
activate prior knowledge
Activate Prior Knowledge
  • Ask questions relevant to forthcoming readings
  • Pre-teach relevant vocabulary
  • Teach students to ask questions related to forthcoming topics
  • Have students complete activities containing relevant questions prior to reading
self monitoring
  • Did I Read the paragraph? Yes___ No____
  • Ask myself who or what the passage is about?

Yes___ No____

  • Ask myself what was happening in the passage?

Yes___ No____

  • Make up a summary sentence in my own words using the answers to the questions asked?

Yes___ No____

adapting text to increase comprehension
Adapting Text to Increase Comprehension
  • Highlight main idea
  • Alter font, spacing, color of text
  • Magnify text
  • Tape record text
  • Scan text
  • Rewrite using more familiar vocabulary
  • Rewrite at a lower reading level
  • Supplement with high interest, low vocabulary texts
reading comprehension activities in mather goldstein text
Reading Comprehension Activities in Mather & Goldstein text:
  • RAP (p. 355)
  • Reciprocal teaching (p. 355)
  • Collaborative strategic reading (p. 355-357)
  • SQ3R (p. 357-358)
  • ReQuest procedure (p. 358)
  • MULTIPASS (p. 359)
  • PORPE (p. 359-360)
questions to consider
Questions to Consider…
  • Does the child’s reading program contain the 5 components of instruction recommended by the National Reading Panel?
  • Is the bar set high enough?
  • Is the person teaching the child to read qualified? What training have they received?
  • Is the child getting systematic, explicit instruction in reading?
what can parents do
What Can Parents Do?
  • show their child through their actions that they value reading
  • Have a variety of reading materials at home
  • Read to their child regularly
  • Have high expectations
  • National Reading Panel Publications
  • DIBELS—early reading assessment
  • Dr. Frances Conners—researcher at U of Alabama
  • Dr. Kerry Hempenstall, Canada
  • Dr. Diane Browder, Project RAISE, U of North Carolina at Charlotte
“Teaching children to read is a central—arguably the central—mission of formal schooling.”

Connecticut’s Blueprint for Reading Achievement (2000)

Krista, first grader, reading