About 85% of students classified under a learning disability, have it in reading and language processing.
Reading is a whole brain skill. This means that it requires multiple parts of the brain to fire at once for students to be able to read!
Most comprehensive core reading programs, or Tier One programs, are able to light those multiple fires and teach our general education students how to read.
But what about our Special Education students with learning disabilities in reading? They need teachers to give them the matchbook, teach them how to strike the match, and show them how to ignite their fires!
Research has shown that multisensory instruction elicits changes in the way the brain is processing information and that struggling learners benefit from direct, explicit, and systematic teaching of the structure of spoken and written language, beginning with phonemes, in the context of a comprehensive reading program.
So all reading programs targeted for Special Education students should be…
So let’s look at 4 different Special Education Reading Curriculums!
So how do you choose a program?
Well, the 4 multi-sensory scientifically-based reading programs reviewed are all great programs!
Ultimately, the best strategies you can use for learning disabled students are multi-sensory strategies and strategies for independent access to the curriculum. So in reading, teach students the "rules" of the language for decoding (phonics) and for encoding (spelling). Explicitly teach these rules and in a sequential order. Then, teach strategies for comprehension. Comprehension strategies such as graphic organizers or tricks like PIE (author's purpose = persuade, inform, entertain) can be applied to all content areas and help for independent access to the general education curriculum.
But the key step is then giving students a chance to apply those skills to the general education curriculum! I can learn a whole bunch of rules and spout them back to you, but how does that help me read? Students must be given multiple opportunities and time to generalize their learnings!
Students with learning disabilities need more than all other students! They need time for direct, explicit and systematic instruction using a multi-sensory scientifically based structured language program PLUS additional time to apply and generalize these skills! Students should be given multiple opportunities and time to read trade books, poems, nonfiction texts, and more in order to close the achievement gap!
They say education is the catalyst for change so give your students the power to read and change the world!
By: Miss Rae
References: International Dyslexia Association, 2012. Dyslexia Basics. © International Dyslexia Association