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Literacy and Students with Disabilities Robyn Roper, M.Ed., Literacy Coach.

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Presentation on theme: "Literacy and Students with Disabilities Robyn Roper, M.Ed., Literacy Coach."— Presentation transcript:

1 Literacy and Students with Disabilities Robyn Roper, M.Ed., Literacy Coach

2 Reading is essential to success in our society. Many children learn to read quickly and efficiently. But some children are at risk because they don’t read well. Students with disabilities are often among those at risk because they have great difficulty reading.

3 Things that teachers can do to help students with disabilities: Obtain knowledge of students’ strengths and areas of need through language and reading assessments. Be knowledgeable about reading development, effective reading instruction/ delivery methods, current reading research, and challenges students face. Implement strategies and differentiate classroom literacy instruction to meet the needs of all of their students.

4 Knowledge of Students’ Strengths/Needs is Significant The Education for all Handicapped Children Act was passed in 1975 and later versions of this law, known as IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act), are in place. These laws guarantee a free and appropriate education for all children with disabilities. When planning educational instruction and services, educators will need to adhere to the legal necessities.

5 Instructional Plans After going through the Response to Intervention process and multiple assessments, students’ current academic and functional performance is identified. The classroom teacher and other members of the IEP Team (Individualized Education Plan) can develop an instructional plan with regards to what the student with disabilities can do at the current time, what they need to learn, and how the team will facilitate that learning.

6 Literacy For Students with Disabilities For all students, and especially those with disabilities, the process of learning to read can break down with reading procedures or comprehension and at different skill levels. (If a student doesn’t develop sufficient phonemic awareness skills, effective decoding, which leads to fluency and comprehension, will be negatively influenced).

7 Literacy for Students with Disabilities Children with disabilities often come to a reading task with oral language deficits and/or hearing impairments. As the IEP team plans for reading instruction, these deficits, as well as other disabilities, need to be considered since they can be problematic in the acquisition of acquiring reading and comprehension skills.

8 Instructional Delivery Students with disabilities often need an assortment of instructional approaches to make their educational experiences more effective. There is not one best method to use in teaching reading to students with disabilities. There are, however, many reading methods available, and it is essential that teachers understand both the student and the various methods available if the student is to have the best possible learning experience.

9 Instructional Delivery The importance of obtaining knowledge of students’ strengths and needs through complete assessments cannot be stressed enough. These assessments will result in direction for intervention and effective teaching.

10 Knowledge of Reading Development, Methods, and Research “Between the ages of four and nine, children will have to master some 100 phonics rules, learn to recognize 3,000 words with just a glance, and develop a comfortable reading speed approaching 100 words a minute. He must learn to combine words on the page with a half-dozen squiggles called punctuation into something—a voice or image in his mind that gives back meaning.” (Paul Kropp, 1996)

11 Teachers must be knowledgeable about reading development Educators need to know how most children learn to read and be able to recognize the stages of reading development. These stages include:  Pre-Literacy Stage (the gradual process of learning to understand and use oral forms and then begin to explore and make sense of written forms of language—begins at birth and continues through the early childhood years, i.e., age 8).

12 Knowledge of Reading Development Emergent Literacy: Children in this stage begin to be aware that print carries a message. They know the sounds and names of the alphabet, begin to use high frequency words in their reading, etc. Early/Developing Literacy: Students have good control of early reading strategies, read familiar text with some fluency, use phonetic clues to decode, begin to engage in discussions about what is read, etc.

13 Knowledge of Reading Development Transitional/Nearly Fluent Literacy: Children in this stage use multiple sources of information and a variety of strategies to solve problems while reading, read a greater variety of longer and more complex texts, etc. Fluent Literacy: Students can recognize many words in and out of context, apply decoding strategies to figure out new words, and read with increased fluency, accuracy, and expression, etc.

14 Knowledge of Effective Reading Instruction and Delivery Methods Again, there is no single “best” program for teaching reading. However researchers agree that certain qualities can help to make reading instruction more effective with most students. In the primary grades (K-3), instruction should address the Five Pillars of Literacy: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension.

15 Effective Reading Instruction Reading instruction also needs to be explicit and systematic.  Explicit: Important skills and types of knowledge are taught directly by the teacher (children are not expected to infer skills and knowledge from exposure and incidental learning opportunities).  Systematic: There is a planned and logical sequence of instruction (children are not expected to read long, complex words until they first can read simpler words).

16 Effective Reading Instruction Reading instruction should also attempt to motivate and engage students.  Children need access to books with a variety of topics and from a variety of reading levels, as well as opportunities to choose books that interest them and share books with each other.

17 Knowledge of research on reading is important. The National Reading Panel was formed. Among many things, the panel suggests reading instruction that emphasizes the Five Pillars:  Phonemic awareness (letter and sound knowledge) and phonics (letter/sound correspondence) instruction are keys to teaching children to read.  Fluency (being able to read quickly and accurately) is also critical to success in reading.

18 Research from The National Reading Panel: Vocabulary and word knowledge are strongly connected to how well a child can read. Comprehension (getting meaning from what we read) is the reason we read. If children can sound out words, but don’t understand what they are reading, they are not really reading.

19 Reading Research The education community is continuously using research to guide decisions about reading instruction. Some of the most important research topics teachers, administrators, and parents need to know include: 21 st Century Schools, assessment and intervention, comprehension, early literacy, parent engagement, reading disabilities, technology, writing and spelling, and others.

20 Challenges for Students with Disabilities in Acquiring Reading Skills Knowledge of students’ skills, reading development, instructional methods, and research are important. It is also equally important for teachers to know how to handle the challenges students bring. Identification of the challenges and implementation of strategies to help students is imperative.

21 Students with disabilities may face challenges in one or more of the following They lack knowledge of the phonetic code, resulting in poor phonological awareness and phonics skills. They may also have difficulty distinguishing multiple meaning words and figurative language, therefore, lacking word knowledge skills.

22 Limited vocabulary can also be a problem. Students often have limited opportunities for incidental learning in their environments. Students may have a lack of early literacy experiences/limited exposure to stories that are read aloud. They may not hear/understand language and may have delayed concept development and comprehension because of impairments. Reading Challenges for Students with Disabilities

23 Identifying Challenges for Students Leads to Strategies Educators need to create as many effective literacy experiences as possible for students to participate in. Exposure and modification to the classroom is essential. Using visual and tactile materials will be more engaging for students. When teaching students with disabilities, book handling skills is also critical.

24 Strategies for Teachers of Disabled Students In combination with creating effective literacy experiences, educators also need to focus on ways they can teach the Five Pillars of Literacy using different approaches.  The following are some suggestions.

25 Teaching Phonological Awareness Strategically Teachers can model phonological awareness skills as they read to students. Ask students to discriminate between similar and dissimilar words, highlight words that rhyme, and exaggerate the sounds and rhythm of words.

26 Phonological strategies: Help students identify the initial and final sounds in words. Teachers should explicitly model an understanding that spoken words consist of a sequence of phonemes and create opportunities for students to practice segmenting and blending words (sound by sound and whole word).

27 Phonological Strategies Rhyming games Listening games (have students listen to a sequence of sounds; use objects that make distinctive sounds like snapping fingers, crumpling papers, or blowing a whistle). Teacher recites a familiar story or poem while students close their eyes; teacher changes a word or ending, and students need to explain what’s wrong. Troll talk: pronounce words, phoneme by phoneme.

28 Phonics Strategies Help students identify letter names, consonant sounds, long and short vowels, and consonant blends. Identify word families and patterns to teach new words. Use making word activities and word wall games increase reading skills. Stretch and shrink words (say words slowly, identifying beginning, middle and ending sounds).

29 Phonics Strategies Students can write letters/words in shaving cream, finger paint, pudding, etc. Use magnet letters on a cookie sheet to manipulate letters, spell words. Make flip books with words (flaps with letters that can be changed to create new words). Use mini magnifying glasses to look in books and around the classroom for specific letters/words.

30 Fluency Strategies Explicitly teach students spelling patterns, as well as the meanings of prefixes, suffixes, and root words. Teach word attack strategies, such as sounding out the beginning and ending sounds of a word, and finding little words within big words.

31 Other Fluency Strategies: Engage students in repeated readings and use text that is at the student’s instructional level during guided reading. Use texts that are at a student’s independent level during individual reading time. Echo reading, partner reading, readers’ theater, and choral reading are other great strategies.

32 Comprehension Strategies: Use real objects, have students act out the text, and use semantic and graphic organizers. Enhance background knowledge, help students make connections with what they read (connections to other texts, their lives and the world) Helping students create mental pictures as they read is an important strategy.

33 Comprehension Strategies: Employ question activities during guided reading and partner reading. Use true/false activities, and ask students to retell/summarize texts to increase comprehension of what is read. Model and teach students to look for context clues, as well as looking back or forward in the text for information, to resolve comprehension problems.

34 Comprehension Strategies Describing attributes of a picture or object from a familiar text is important. Detecting foolish statements about a text and providing missing elements within a story are significant strategies that teachers can use to develop comprehension skills while increasing reading development.

35 Developing Reading Skills with Strategies: Have students listen to books on tape and fluent reader examples. Ask students to repeat back what is read. Teach students to auditorally discriminate and identify familiar sentences, exclamations, and questions of a text.

36 Developing Fluent Reading Skills: Teach students to identify and approximate phrases on the basis of length, loudness, stress, rhythm and intonation. Create activities that promote vocabulary acquisition. Explicitly teach the meaning of words, and help students focus on listening for specific words during read alouds.

37 Developing Vocabulary Skills Remind students to listen carefully to others as they read and talk. Listening vocabulary far exceeds visual vocabulary until the eighth- grade reading level. Create activities that promote vocabulary acquisition. Explicitly teach the meaning of words, and help students focus on listening for specific words during read alouds

38 Strategic Vocabulary Teaching Use an inexpensive address book to have students record new words in alphabetical order. Put 3 x 5 vocabulary flash cards on a ring. Use picture cues (have students draw a picture to depict the meaning of a word).  Photo flash cards can also benefit younger students.

39 In Summary Reading can be difficult for students with disabilities. However, teachers can provide excellent instruction by arming themselves with knowledge of skills, development, research, and strategies to address challenges.


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