The Need to Read: Special Needs Students Focus of Literacy ProgramSeptember 26, 2010 at 7:30 pm | Posted in uncategorized | 2 Comments
Posted by Andrew Brolsma
Over the past decade Special Education has started to blossom throughout the grade levels. One particular problem teachers are noticing is the lack of literate students. More and more students have an IEP, 504, or other related services to maximize their learning potential. These services allow the students to grow, mature, and learn. General Education and Special Education teachers need to collaborate to differentiate their instruction to fit the goals and needs of these students. One major concern that Iowa teachers have with Special Education is with the literacy program in their state.
In the state of Iowa there is a five-year initiative plan to revamp the literacy program for Elementary Special Education students. Chris Kliewer, one of the leaders in this new pilot program states “The goal of this plan is that every child be recognized as a literate individual who has the capacity to grow.” The students in these classrooms can not read, write, or speak in fluent sentences. These teachers feel that every student that walks into the classroom should have the essential tools to read and write once the students reach middle school. The teachers use word building, word walls, electronic devices, and other means to teach the students how to read and write. Jennifer Garrett made this comment about the new literacy program, “We wanted to have a chance to interact and spend time with the kids in the classroom, looking at their language and literacy needs and watching their growth over time.” This program will have positive effects in the long run for these students.
As a current Math and Special Education teacher I feel that students need to be literate when they enter middle and high school. In math class the battle students’ face are the words we use. Students need to be able to understand what they are reading in math class before they can even perform the task. Many students have problems with the reading content and vocabulary on the NYS Math Regents exams. In math it is half the battle understanding what you are doing. Once a student can decode a math problem it is very easy to solve it once they understand it. In my classroom I have a word wall and I preach to my students the importance of understanding what they are reading.
A few questions to think ponder on: Should all the states have a common literacy program? How does NYS measure up against other states pertaining to special education and literacy?
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