Carol Sadler
Special Education Consultant/Advocate
1105 Rock Pointe Look
Woodstock, GA 30188

I am a lay Parent Advocate assisting parents of children with disabilities in school IDEA, 504 and SST meetings. I am a former CHADD and LDA Coordinator, graduate of the 1st GA Advocacy Office PLSP legal training course and most importantly parent of two children with various disabilities.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Reading Recommendations Handout for P2P

Advocacy & Consulting Services – IEPadvocate4You
Carol Sadler
1105 Rock Pointe Look
Woodstock, GA 30188

"There is nothing more unequal than the equal treatment of unequal people."
---- Thomas Jefferson

Moderator: GA Children’s Network



9/08 Prepared for Parent to Parent training session on
Scientifically Researched Based Reading Instruction
Advocates Point of View

Important tips to learn about Reading:

(1) Understand the reading process and terms
(2) Learn the IDEA regulations pertaining to reading for proper eligibility
(3) Learn what disabilities impact reading and how
(4) Test students in all areas of suspected reading deficits
(5) Use scientifically proven reading remediation and curriculum

(1) Understand the reading process and terms

Words about Reading

Reading Components:

(A) phonemic awareness;
(B) phonics;
(C) vocabulary development;
(D) reading fluency; and
(E) reading comprehension.

1. Reading
The term 'reading' means a complex system of deriving meaning from print that requires all of the following:
(A) The skills and knowledge to understand how phonemes, or speech sounds, are connected to print.
(B) The ability to decode unfamiliar words.
(C) The ability to read fluently.(
D) Sufficient background information and vocabulary to foster reading comprehension.
(E) The development of appropriate active strategies to construct meaning from print.
(F) The development and maintenance of a motivation to read.
The National Reading Panel: Five Components of Reading Instruction
Frequently Asked Questions

Phonemic Awareness
What is a phoneme?
A phoneme is the smallest unit of sound in a word. For example, the word cat is made up of three phonemes (or three sounds): /c/ /a/ and /t/. The word fish is also made up of three phonemes (or three sounds) even though fish has four letters: /f/ /i/ /sh/.
Test your phoneme knowledge: How many phonemes are in the word school? How many phonemes are in the word family?

What is phonemic awareness?
Phonemic awareness is the knowledge that words are made up of a combination of individual sounds. For example, the word cat is made up of three sounds (phonemes) /c/ /a/ and /t/. When these three sounds are combined fluidly, they make up the word cat. If a child knows that cat, car, and caboose all have the same sound at the beginning of the word, she has phonemic awareness. In other words, she is aware that the /c/ sound
(phoneme) begins each of those three words.
Phonemic awareness is more than recognizing sounds. It also includes the ability to hold on to those sounds, blend them successfully into words, and take them apart again. For example, in addition to the knowledge that the word cat has three separate sounds, phonemic awareness is the ability to blend these three sounds together to form the word cat and, when asked, to identify and separate the sounds within the word.
Do all children need instruction in phonemic awareness?
Some children have a good sense of phonemic awareness, but to differing degrees. It is important to determine the child’s level before beginning instruction. While all reading programs should devote some time to phonemic instruction, phonemic awareness is usually acquired naturally through exposure to print. The NRP found that during the kindergarten year, 18 hours total of phonemic awareness instruction — just 30 minutes a week, six minutes a day — provided maximum advantage.

What is phonics?
Phonics is the relationship between a specific letter and its sound, only as it relates to the written word. Phonics is used, for example, when a reader comes across an unknown word. With knowledge of phonics, he can try to read the word by focusing on the specific sound of each letter or combination of letters. For example, if a child does not recognize the word chant, he might break the word apart into pieces, such as /ch/ /a/ /n/ /t/ (or /ch/
/a/ /nt/, or /ch/ /ant/), assigning an appropriate sound to each separate letter or combination of letters. Then, the child combines those sounds to create the word chant.
Phonics is also used in writing, or encoding text. For instance, if a child is trying to spell smart, she might begin with the /s/ sound and write s. Then, she goes to the next sound /m/ and writes m, and so on. An early phonics learner often achieves a close approximation of correct spelling rather than complete accuracy. For example, she may attempt to spell the word smart using the method above but end up with smrt, simply because she only heard the dominant /r/ sound in the /ar/ sound-letter combination.
What is phonological awareness?
Phonological awareness is the knowledge that there are patterns within words that can aid in both reading and writing. For example, those who have good phonological awareness can use rhyme, beginning and ending sounds, specific phonemes, etc. to read and write words.
Does learning phonics inhibit reading comprehension?
No. If a child learns to identify the relationship between the sounds of our language and letters, he will have an easier time identifying words, leading to improved reading comprehension. Failure to master phonics is the number one reason that children have difficulty learning to read.
However, phonics instruction does have limitations, especially since English does not have a pure phonetic base. The most obvious example of this is sounding out the words cough, though, tough, and through. A successful reading program should include both explicit phonics instruction and comprehension instruction. One without the other can delay or impede success in learning how to read.
How important is phonics instruction?
According to the NRP, systematic phonics instruction is only one component of the reading process — a means to an end. Children need to be able to blend sounds together to decode words, and they need to break spoken words into their basic sounds in order to write them. However, phonics should never become the overriding component in any reading program.

What is fluency?
Fluency is the ability to read text accurately and smoothly. When fluent readers read aloud, their expression, intonation, and pacing sound natural — much like speaking. This does not mean that fluent readers never make mistakes. Fluency develops from reading practice. The same reader may read a familiar text fluently and a new, more challenging text less fluently.
Why is fluency important?
Since fluency depends on higher word recognition skills, it helps children move from decoding words to sight-reading. This means that less energy is spent on deciphering each word and more is spent on comprehending what is read. If children are struggling to decode individual words, they cannot concentrate on other strategies that support their overall understanding of what they read.
How does fluency increase?
Practice, practice, practice. Repeated oral reading is the best way for children to improve their fluency. This can include re-reading a familiar text several times, listening to models of fluent reading, or engaging in choral, or unison reading with a big book.
Choose books that children can read with a high degree of success. If the book is too difficult, children will be bogged down with vocabulary and comprehension questions and their fluency will be hindered.

What role does vocabulary play in learning to read?
When children learn to read, they begin to understand that the words on the page correspond to the words they encounter every day in spoken English. That’s why it’s much easier for children to make sense of written words that are already part of their oral language. While we don’t have to know every word on the page to understand what we are reading, too many new or difficult words make comprehension impossible. As children’s reading level improves, so does the number of words they need to know.
How do children learn new words?
Children increase their vocabulary through both direct and indirect instruction. Children continually learn new words indirectly through listening and speaking to the people around them, being read to by others, and reading on their own. Sometimes children need to be taught new words explicitly, especially when they are crucial to their understanding of a story or concept. Study in content areas, such as science and social studies, adds to a
child’s vocabulary development.

Text Comprehension
What is text comprehension?
Text comprehension is the interaction that happens between reader and text. More than merely decoding words on a page, comprehension is the intentional thinking process that occurs as we read — it’s what reading is all about!
What strategies support comprehension?
Good readers are purposeful and active. They use a wide variety of strategies, often simultaneously, to create meaning from text. Some of the most important are:
• Monitoring comprehension: Successful readers know when they understand a passage and when they don’t. When they don’t understand, they know to pause and utilize strategies to improve their understanding.
• Using prior knowledge: Thinking about what is already known about the subject helps readers make connections between the story and their knowledge.
• Making predictions: Good readers often make predictions as they read through a story, using both the knowledge they bring to a text as well as what they can derive from the text.
• Questioning: When children ask questions about what they read and subsequently search for answers, they are interacting with the text to construct meaning. Good questions are based on a child’s knowledge base and what further information she desires.
• Recognizing story structure: Children will understand a story better if they understand how it is organized (i.e., setting, plot, characters, and themes).
• Summarizing: When they summarize a story, readers determine the main idea and important information and use their own words to demonstrate a real understanding of the text.
When does comprehension instruction begin?
Since the ultimate goal of reading is to interact with the text, comprehension should be emphasized from the very beginning, not only after a child has mastered decoding skills.
For example, reading aloud provides an opportunity for children to hear a story and respond to the content — the characters, their feelings and motivations, and the setting, and to relate it to their own experiences. Children begin from an early point to understand that comprehension is the point of reading.

Other Questions
Is there a sequence to teaching the five components?
No. Reading or learning how to read is a combination of all the skills mentioned in the report. The interconnectedness of each of the five components makes it impossible to teach them in isolation or in a particular order. It is more important to use the individual child’s knowledge and stage of development as a starting point for instruction. However, since there is a constant give and take among the components, one will sometimes be emphasized over another.
Is it still important for children to read and discuss excellent literature?
Absolutely. The NRP report states that “quality literature helps students to build a sense of story and to develop vocabulary and comprehension.” Tutoring activities that focus on comprehension as their ultimate goal lead to increased student interest and motivation.
Discussions based on excellent literature do two things: (1) allow for a more interesting/relevant discussion; and, (2) deepen a child’s basic comprehension. By engaging in a discussion around a text, the reader is exposed to multiple views of interpretation and is forced to create a deeper personal connection with the text.
What role does writing play in a literacy program?
Writing is an important part of the literacy process. As children discover writing as a form of communication, they will begin to express themselves to the best of their ability. At first this may be scribbles, which then become letters, which eventually resemble more and more the accurate symbols for the sounds represented. This process allows children to explore the spelling system of our language.
Reading and writing have a reciprocal relationship — one is used to learn and enrich the other and vice versa. As a writer, the reader has a more intimate knowledge of the writing process, allowing her to have a greater connection to another author’s text.
Writing also supports reading comprehension and recall. When a student writes about something he has read, he must take time to reflect and organize his thoughts. The literature children read influences their writing. A child will use his writing as a place to try out styles, language, new words and even spellings he has come across in reading. To be literate requires proficiency in both reading and writing.
Can reading sub-skills be taught in isolation and then transferred to authentic text to improve comprehension?
In an ideal world, the answer would be yes. Unfortunately (or fortunately) that is not the case. Remember that each sub-skill really relies on other sub-skills. Reading is a combination of many sub-skills combined to achieve the common goal of comprehension. Teaching reading sub-skills in an authentic setting ensures that there is
never a moment when comprehension is not a factor.
What is authentic text?
Authentic texts are texts that one might encounter in a typical reading situation, such as a book, magazine article, or newspaper. In good reading instruction, authentic texts are used to teach specific skills. For example, one might use a picture book to practice vocabulary — allowing the child to see and understand new vocabulary in its natural context. This way, the reader learns specific literacy skills in a meaningful and motivating context that demonstrates how such skills are actually applied.
What constitutes an integrated reading program?
The NRP states that a program that overemphasizes phonics instruction is less effective in teaching a child to read than a program that integrates a systematic phonics program with other reading instruction (e.g., phonemic awareness, fluency, text comprehension).
This underscores the importance of using phonics instruction as a means to an end — to advance oral reading and reading comprehension.

National Reading Panel - Teaching Children to Read

(2) Learn the IDEA regulations pertaining to reading for proper eligibility

**Eligibility drives services, goals, objectives, placement and the use of scientifically research based curriculum…………………….
**Note - the term Dyslexia is used in the regulations below. Schools have an obligation to identify Dyslexia!

GA Special Education Rules and Regulations


(1) Specific learning disability is defined as a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, that may manifest itself in an imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell or do mathematical calculations. The term includes such conditions as perceptual disabilities, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia and developmental aphasia. The term does not apply to children who have learning problems that are primarily the result of visual, hearing or motor disabilities, intellectual disabilities, emotional or behavioral disorders, environmental, cultural or economic disadvantage.
[34 C.F.R. §300.8(c)(10)]
(2) The child with a specific learning disability has one or more serious academic deficiencies and does not achieve adequately according to age to meet grade level standards. These achievement deficiencies must be directly related to a pervasive processing deficit and to the child’s response to scientific, research-based interventions. The nature of the deficit(s) is such that classroom performance is not correctable without specialized techniques that are fundamentally different from those available in the general education classroom, basic remedial/tutorial approaches, or other compensatory programs. This is clearly documented by the child’s response to instruction as demonstrated by a review of the progress monitoring available in general education and Student Support Team (SST) intervention plans as supported by work samples and classroom observations. The child's need for academic support alone is not sufficient for eligibility and does not override the other established requirements for determining eligibility.
Exclusionary Factors
(1) A child must not be determined to be a child with a specific learning disability if the determinant factor for that determination is:
a. Lack of appropriate instruction in reading, to include the essential
components of reading instruction (phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension);
b. Lack of appropriate instruction in math;
c. Lack of appropriate instruction in writing;
d. Limited English proficiency;
e. Visual, hearing or motor disability;
f. Intellectual disabilities;
g. Emotional disturbances;
h. Cultural factors;
i. Environmental or economic disadvantage; or
j. Atypical educational history (such as irregular school attendance or attendance at multiple schools)
[See 34 C.F.R. § 300.309(a)(3)]

Required Data Collection
(1) In order to determine the existence of Specific Learning Disability, the group must summarize the multiple sources of evidence to conclude that the child exhibits a pattern of strengths and weaknesses in performance, achievement, or both, relative to age, state-approved grade level standards and intellectual development. Ultimately, specific learning disability is determined through professional judgment using multiple supporting evidences that must include:
(a) Data is collected and considered prior to conducting a formal evaluation for special education:
(i) At least two current (within twelve months) assessments such as the results of the CRCT, norm-referenced achievement tests or benchmarks indicating performance that does not meet expectations for grade level standards;
(ii) Information from the teacher related to routine classroom instruction and
monitoring of the child’s performance. The report must document the child’s academic performance and behavior in the areas of difficulty.
(b) Supplementary instruction is provided:
(i) that lasts for a minimum of 12 weeks;
(ii) At least four data collections of progress monitoring occur during the twelve weeks;
(iii) the strategies used and the progress monitoring results are presented to the parents at regular intervals
(c) Any educationally relevant medical findings that would impact achievement.
(2) After consent is received from the parents for a comprehensive evaluation for special education determination the following must occur:
a. An observation by a required group member;
b. Documentation that the determination is not primarily due to any of the exclusionary factors;
c. Current analyzed classroom work samples indicating below level performance as
compared to the classroom normative sample; and
d. Documentation of a pattern of strength and weaknesses in performance and/or
achievement in relation to age and grade level standards must include:
(i) A comprehensive assessment of intellectual development designed to assess
specific measures of processing skills that may contribute to the area of academic weakness. This assessment must be current for the academic school year and
(ii) The current school year’s Response to Intervention data based documentation required prior to referral indicating the lack of progress toward the attainment of grade level standards.
(iii) As appropriate, a language assessment as part of additional processing batteries may be included.

Eligibility Determination
(1) The child who is eligible for services under the category of specific learning
disability must exhibit the following characteristics: a primary deficit in basic psychological processes and secondary underachievement in one or more of the eight areas along with documentation of the lack of response to instructional intervention as supported by on-going progress monitoring.
(2) Deficits in basic psychological processes typically include problems in attending, discrimination/perception, organization, short-term memory, long-term memory, conceptualization/reasoning, executive functioning, processing speed, and phonological deficits. Once a deficit in basic psychological processes is documented, there shall be evidence that the processing deficit has impaired the child's mastery of the academic tasks required in the regular curriculum. Though there may exist a pattern of strengths and weaknesses, evidence must be included documenting that the processing deficits are relevant to the child’s academic underachievement as determined by appropriate assessments that are provided to the child in his/her native language. Though a child may be performing below age or state approved grade level standards, the results of progress monitoring must indicate that the child is not making the expected progress toward established benchmarks. This is indicated by comparing the child’s rate of progress toward attainment of grade level standards.
(3) Underachievement exists when the child exhibits a pattern of strengths and weakness in performance, achievement, or both, relative to age, state-approved grade level standards and intellectual development and when a child does not achieve adequately toward attainment of grade level standards in one or more of the following areas:
(a) Oral expression- use of spoken language to communicate ideas;
(b) Listening comprehension-ability to understand spoken language at a level commensurate with the child’s age and ability levels;
(c) Written expression - ability to communicate ideas effectively in writing with appropriate language;
(d) Basic reading skills-ability to use sound/symbol associations to learn phonics in order to comprehend the text;
(e) Reading comprehension-ability to understand the meaning of written language based in child’s native language;
(f) Reading Fluency Skills- the ability to read and process a text with appropriate rate and accuracy;
(g) Mathematics calculation-ability to process numerical symbols to derive
results, including, but not limited to, spatial awareness of symbol placement and choice of sequence algorithms for operations required; and
(h) Mathematical problem solving -ability to understand logical relationships between mathematical concepts and operations, including, but not limited to, correct sequencing and spatial/symbolic representation.

(3) Learn what disabilities impact reading and how

Different disabilities impact reading in different ways. You can research various disorders through google to find what impact they may have on reading.

For example, AD/HD can make a reader impulsive and cause them to rush through their reading. They may read, and before they are finished due to not sustaining attention, forget what they have read, causing difficulty in comprehension. They are also 50% likely to have a co-morbid specific reading disability.

Research: AD/HD, Executive Function Disorder, Autism, Anxiety, Bipolar, Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, Learning Disabilities, Auditory Processing, Visual Processing, Language Processing, Orthographic Processing, Apraxia, Receptive and Expressive Language Disorders, Speech Disorders, Mental Retardation, Tourettes, etc.

Some helpful links: Visual & Auditory Processing Dyslexia Basics Common Signs of Learning Disabilities Auditory Processing & Dyslexia Autism & Dyslexia MR & Reading Learning Disability Basics Auditory Processing Disorders Phonological & Orthographic Processing Dyslexia & Orthographic Processing Orthographic Processing AD/HD & Dyslexia Dyslexia & Related Disorders Language Based Learning Disabilities Articulation & Phonological Processes Central Auditory Processing Disorder Tics, Tourettes & Reading Executive Function

(4) Test students in all areas of suspected reading deficits

Typically for students who present with reading problems, I recommend administering the following tests (and this can depend on the age of the child, how the reading deficits present, and what other disorders the student may have).

Standardized Tests
GORT (Gray Oral Reading Test)-4
CTOPP (Comprehensive Test of Phonological Processing)
DIBELS (Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills_
TAPS (Test of Auditory Perceptual Skills) or SCAN (Screener for Central Auditory Processing)
2 Achievement Batteries
WRMT-R (Woodcock Reading Mastery Test-Revised) and K-TEA (Kaufman Test of Educational Achievement

Also, when suspect Dyslexia specifically, include achievement batteries for spelling & writing

Informal Assessments
Schools should always also perform some informal assessment measures. Ask what the schools use, and be sure to get those results as well.

Some informal measures may include a STAR, CCC, DOLCH WORDS, IRI (Informal Reading Inventory), Reading Rockets, Reading Fluency and Comprehension Tests

Speech & Language Evaluation
Since many students who have reading difficulty also have co-morbid and overlapping language disorders, it is best to also request a full and comprehensive language evaluation.

Helpful Links:

Reading Tests: What They Measure, and Don't Measure

Doing Your Homework – List of links regarding reading

Evaluation – What does it mean for your child?

Testing & Evaluations - Dyslexia

(5) Use scientifically proven reading remediation and curriculum

Schools typically use a hodge-podge of reading interventions to remediate reading. Parents need to know and specifically ask in IEP meetings what reading curriculum is being used. They need to research the school’s available curriculum to ensure that it specifically remediates the reading deficits identified in their children’s evaluations and write goals and objectives accordingly.

Links to reading programs and curriculum:

**Florida Center for Reading Research
Lists every reading program
Links to individual reading program site
Links to FCRR report on each reading program
Provides summary table for all reading programs

Multisensory Structured Language Programs

Researched Based Instruction

Reading Research & Reports

A few Individual Reading Programs:
(can access entire list on FCRR website above)

Lindamood-Bell – 3 reading programs
LiPS – decoding, spelling, pronunciation
Seeing Stars – phonemic awareness, sight words, spelling
Visualizing & Verbalizing – language comprehension, reading comprehension, thinking, critical thinking

**Lindamood-Bell is the only program I know that can remediate reading in a few months vs. years. Based on intensity and changes the brain. My own daughter made 21/2 years progress in reading in 12 weeks. Also made 2-4 years progress across the board in various areas of reading, spelling, writing and math.

Fast ForWord - The Fast ForWord program develops and strengthens memory, attention, processing rate, and sequencing—the cognitive skills essential for learning and reading success. The strengthening of these skills results in a wide range of improved critical language and reading skills such as phonological awareness, phonemic awareness, fluency, vocabulary, comprehension, decoding, working memory, syntax, grammar, and other skills necessary to learn how to read or to become a better reader.

Earobics - Earobics builds individualized reading instruction in all of the critical areas identified by the National Reading Panel

Wilson Reading System



Read Naturally

Read 180


Herman Reading Method

SRA Corrective Reading
While this program is on the approved reading list, and many schools use it exclusively, it was not designed to remediate reading in children who have reading disabilities, esp. those who are Dyslexic. Call the publisher, they will send you the information on this. I do not recommend this program. Typically schools use this in EIP (Early Intervention), and if your child has not already been making progress, they are not likely to………………..

Reading Recovery
Not successful with targeted student population - See Pete Wrights comments in this article below.

Interesting article by AJC with Pete Wright – mentions Reading Recovery