Best Practices of Reading Instruction for Special Education Research Paper

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Special Education

Best Practices of Reading Instruction for Special Education

There are several things to consider when looking for special education resources in the area of reading. They include the students, their background, program, best practices in reading instruction, analysis of the material for reading and fluency oral and reading. A basic structure for how to best teach reading to these students is vital. There are many reading programs available online and at the local library. Special education teachers also have access to key information and materials, as do schools and businesses that focus in reading training (Special Education Resources for Reading, n.d.).

Reading is the pivotal skill that allows children to achieve at high levels and become reflective, lifelong learners. Becoming a fluent reader is a prerequisite for success in any academic area and for success in our society. Furthermore, knowing how to read is related to personal resilience and overcoming social obstacles and, thus, has far-reaching positive effects. In the Nation's Report Card for fourth grade reading, the National Center for Education Statistics reported that the reading scores of low performing children have generally declined over the last 10 years while those of high performing students increased. The reading performance of middle and high school students also remains a major concern. Only 30% of eighth graders scored at or above the proficient level and 28% of eighth-grade students were functioning below the basic.Download full Download Microsoft Word File
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TOPIC: Research Paper on Best Practices of Reading Instruction for Special Education Assignment

Students with chronic behavioral challenges have made little or no reading progress, especially those students beyond the second grade. These students are described as non-responders. Non-responders are those students who, despite participating in core and supplementary reading instructional programs, fail to acquire beginning reading skills within the normal range. Non-responsiveness does not seem to be limited to students with learning disabilities; researchers have found that the majority of students with chronic behavioral difficulties experience reading difficulties. Reports on the prevalence of reading difficulties among students with emotional disturbance (ED) have ranged from 31% to 81%. Thus, the majority of students with chronic behavior challenges have moderate to severe reading problems that are very difficult to improve over time. Given the difficulty educators face in building the reading skills of these students, it is not surprising that those who serve these students have described them as troubled and troubling (Benner, 2005).

What works to improve the responsiveness of students with behavioral challenges? Educators and researchers have identified four best practices for improving the responsiveness of students with behavioral challenges to reading instruction. First, provide explicit instruction. There is a great deal of evidence supporting the use of explicit instruction procedures and instructional design principles on students with behavior problems. Explicit instruction procedures include the following:

(a) begin the lesson with a short review of previous, prerequisite learning,

(b) begin the lesson with a short statement of goals,

(c) present new material in small steps, with student practice following each step,

(d) give clear and detailed instructions and explanations,

(e) provide a high level of active practice for all students,

(f) ask a large number of questions, check for student understanding, and obtain responses from all students,

(g) guide students during initial practice,

(h) provide systematic feedback and corrections, and (i) provide explicit instruction and practice for seatwork exercises, and where necessary, monitor students during seatwork (Benner, 2005).

The effective instructional design principles framework incorporates the following six organizing principles:

(1) big ideas, which are the fundamental concepts and principles that facilitate efficient acquisition of knowledge in a content area,

(2) mediated scaffolding, which refers to the personal guidance, assistance, and support that teachers, materials, or tasks provide a learner early in the content learning process,

(3) conspicuous strategies, which are a series of steps that proficient learners purposely follow in solving a problem or achieving an outcome,

(4) strategic integration, which is the combining of essential information in meaningful

ways that results in new and more complex learner understanding of a topic,

(5) primed background knowledge, which involves providing learners a brief reminder that acts as a memory trigger and allows the learner to remember what it is that needs to be done in order to solve a task or retrieve pertinent information, and (6) judicious review, which involves practice of previously learned information that is sufficient enough so that the learner performs the task or recalls the information without

hesitation, distributed over time, cumulative, and varied in such a way that the knowledge is applied to a wide variety of situations and settings (Benner, 2005).

It is essential that educators combine explicit instruction procedures with effective instructional design principles to build reading skills of students with behavioral difficulties. Such instruction not only improves the reading skills of students with challenging behaviors but also decreases the interfering influence of problem behavior on instruction. Explicit instruction provided to students with behavior problems should be of sufficient intensity and take place early on (Benner, 2005).

In its simplest form, evidence-based reading instruction is a particular program or compilation of instructional practices which have proven to have a record of success. They are reliable, trustworthy, and contain valid evidence to suggest that when the program is used with a particular group of children, the children can be anticipated to make sufficient gains in reading achievement. Other expressions that are sometimes used to convey the same idea are research-based instruction and scientifically-based research. This fairly simple concept becomes more complicated when it is attempted to define the types of evidence that are reliable and trustworthy indicators of effectiveness. In general, educators agree that such evidence should be as follows:

objective -- data that any evaluator would identify and interpret similarly valid -- data that adequately represent the tasks that children need to accomplish to be successful readers reliable -- data will remain essentially unchanged if collected on a different day or by a different person systematic -- data that were collected according to a rigorous design of either experimentation or observation refereed -- data that have been approved for publication by a panel of independent reviewers (What is Evidence-Based Reading Instruction, 2002).

In addition to evaluating the quality of the data by which programs or practices are judged, teachers also must examine the fit, of the evidence. In other words, teachers might ask if the children in their classrooms closely resemble the children from whom the evidence was collected: Are they the same age? Do they have similar language and cultural backgrounds? Do they have similar learning profiles? Teachers might also ask if the learning contexts are the same: Are class sizes and teacher -- student ratios similar? Is the allocation of instructional time and resources similar? Do teachers have similar funds of knowledge? Has more than one study produced particular findings? If the answer to all of these questions is yes, then teachers might conclude that there is a good fit and that their students might be expected to make similar achievement gains with the same program or practice. if, however, the answers to some or all of these questions is no, then it is difficult to predict whether similar results might be achieved (What is Evidence-Based Reading Instruction, 2002).

Research studies used to collect evidence about programs and practices may have a variety of designs. In general, studies that demonstrate effectiveness using experimental designs which are studies that compare results from the program or practices of interest to results from a control group with random assignment to the groups and quasi-experimental designs which are studies that do not use random assignment to the program or comparison group, but use adequate statistical procedures to control preexisting differences give the strongest evidence of effects of a program or practice on the average student, particularly when the studies are carried out in naturalistic environments. Quantitative studies such as these generally investigate program effects on relatively large numbers of students. In addition, they can be aggregated by using meta-analysis. In contrast, qualitative studies typically focus on small samples or on individuals and are especially valuable in helping teachers understand how particular programs or approaches affect individuals who may not represent the mainstream or average student. No single study has ever established a program or practice as effective. It is the convergence of evidence from a variety of study designs that is ultimately scientifically convincing. When evaluating studies and claims of evidence, educators must not determine whether the study is quantitative or qualitative in nature, but rather if the study meets the standards of scientific research. That is, does it involve rigorous and systematic empirical inquiry that is data-based (What is Evidence-Based Reading Instruction, 2002).

The format of instruction greatly impacts the responsiveness of students with behavior difficulties to instruction. Instruction delivered in a one-on-one format either by trained volunteers, peers, or teachers has been recommended by educators who serve students with challenging behaviors. Moreover, it is important to note that in complex areas such as basic reading skill development it may be necessary for teachers to use scripted programs built upon explicit… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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