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Teaching Literacy to Students With Significant Disabilities
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Teaching Literacy to Students With Significant Disabilities
Strategies for the K-12 Inclusive Classroom

Edited by:


February 2005 | 192 pages | Corwin
Including students with severe disabilities in mainstream classrooms has become more and more common. These severe disabilities include both physical and intellectual, and the Downing project tackles the most common subject area for inclusion - literacy. Covering a wide age spectrum the author looks at:

- accessing the general curriculum;

- literary activities;

- parental involvement;

- pre- and post-assessment;

- IEPs;

- peer support;

- school-wide approaches;

- evaluation and grading;

- goal-setting.

The project also includes very practitioner-oriented pedagogy, including Frequently Asked Questions, chapter by chapter references, bibliography with short summaries, and relevant websites.

June Downing is a Professor at California State University, Northridge, where she prepares teachers to work in the area of moderate/severe disabilities. She has been the project director of numerous federally-funded projects to train teachers. For the past 16 years, her focus in teacher preparation has been in the area of inclusive education.

After receiving her BA in Sociology from the University of Colorado in Boulder, Dr. Downing went on to pursue her training at the University of Northern Colorado where she earned an MA in special education with an emphasis in visual impairments. Her Ph.D. in special education with an emphasis in severe and multiple disabilities, including sensory impairments, is from the University of Arizona.

She is currently on the editorial board of The Journal of the Association for Persons with Severe Handicaps and Augmentative and Alternative Communication and has published numerous articles, monographs, training modules, and book chapters in her areas of expertise.

Douglas Fisher
Foreword
 
Acknowledgments
 
Introduction
 
About the Author
 
1. Literacy and a Free Appropriate Public Education
Key Concepts

 
What Is Literacy?

 
Literacy and Federal Mandates in Education

 
Barriers to Literacy Instruction for Students With Significant Disabilities

 
Attitudinal Barrier

 
Low Expectations

 
Limited Opportunities

 
Limited Means of Accessing Literacy

 
Limited Time

 
The Age Factor

 
Literacy and Quality of Life Issues

 
Self-Esteem

 
Self-Determination

 
Independence

 
Information Gathering

 
Organization

 
Learning

 
Entertainment

 
Why Teach Reading to Students With Severe Disabilities?

 
 
2. Literacy and Communication
Key Concepts

 
The Relationship Between Communication and Literacy

 
Building Relationships

 
Reading Together

 
The Benefits of Play Interactions

 
Emergent Literacy for Students of All Ages

 
Augmentative and Alternative Communication Devices

 
Building Shared Experiences for Literacy Development

 
Documentation of Shared Experiences

 
Drawings

 
Photograph Books

 
Tactile Books

 
Summary

 
Frequently Asked Questions

 
 
3. Planning Literacy Activities
Key Concepts

 
General Considerations

 
Literacy Rich Environments

 
Benefits of Learning in a General Education Classroom

 
Access to the Core Curriculum

 
Not Just Physical Presence

 
Identifying Literacy Goals

 
What Are the Literacy Goals of the Individual and the Family?

 
Determining Present Literacy Skills

 
Analyzing the Environment and the Need for Literacy Skills

 
Identifying When Literacy Skills Can be Taught Throughout the Day

 
Creating Literacy-Learning Opportunities for All Ages

 
Integrated Related Services

 
Developing Literacy Materials for Individual Students

 
Age Appropriateness

 
Individual Consuderations

 
Physical Considerations

 
Visual Considerations

 
Cultural Considerations

 
Interesting Material

 
High Quality

 
Assistive Technology

 
Computer Access

 
Summary

 
Frequently Asked Questions

 
 
4. Teaching Literacy Skills
Key Concepts

 
Concerns With Some Past Practices

 
General Considerations When Teaching Literacy Skills

 
Offering Choices

 
Following Interest Level

 
Providing Opportunities

 
Make Accessible

 
On the Spot Accommodations

 
Meaningful Literacy Experiences

 
The Use of a Daily Planner

 
Within Task Directions

 
Self-Monitoring Checklists

 
Language Experience Stories

 
Interactive and Fun

 
Clear Literacy Goals in Mind

 
Drawing Attention to Conventional Literacy

 
Balanced Literacy Approach

 
Specific Instructional Strategies

 
Draw Attention to the Stimulus and Shape the Response

 
Model the Behaviors of Reading and Writing

 
Check for Comprehension

 
Wait for a Response

 
Provide Corrective Feedback and Praise

 
Fade Instructional Support

 
Teaching Generalization of Skills

 
Summary

 
Frequently Asked Questions

 
 
5. Evaluating Progress: Next Steps
Key Concepts

 
Alternative Assessments

 
Interview

 
Observations

 
Review of Past Records

 
The Link to IEP Goals and State Standards

 
Adapting State Standards on Literacy

 
Developing Appropriate IEP Goals and Objectives

 
Passive Versus Active IEP Goals and Objectives

 
Standard Linked IEP Objectives

 
Procedures for Measuring Student Progress

 
Data Collection

 
Easy to Use Forms

 
Portfolio Assessment

 
Using Data for Instructional Purposed

 
Determining Next Steps

 
Review Literacy Goals

 
Raise Expectations

 
What Are the Logical Next Steps?

 
Summary

 
 
6. The Future for Literacy Access and Instruction
Key Concepts

 
Improved Strategies to Support Literacy Goals

 
Strengthening Early Intervention Services

 
Future Advances in Technology

 
Bridging the Research-to-Practice Gap

 
Impact on Personnel Preparation

 
Impact on Quality of Life

 
 
Resources
 
Glossary
 
References
 
List of Tables
 
List of Figures
 
Index

“Literacy is power—power to control your own life and influence the world around you. This book makes an important contribution. June Downing has challenged our assumptions about and expectations for students with significant disabilities.”

From the foreword by Douglas Fisher

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