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Literacy Instruction for Students with Developmental Cognitive Disabilities (DCD)


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Presentation form Renáta Tichá

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Literacy Instruction for Students with Developmental Cognitive Disabilities (DCD)

  1. 1. Literacy Instruction for Students with Developmental Cognitive Disabilities (DCD): Materials, Strategies and Decision Making Renáta Tichá, PhD University of Minnesota In collaboration with Teri Wallace, PhD University of Minnesota
  2. 2. Purpose • To give an overview and discuss aspects of reading instruction for students with DCD based on the results of a survey and a video – What your role is in reading instruction for DCD students – Tensions in reading instruction for DCD students and what it may mean for paraprofessionals – What curricula and other materials and strategies are used to teach literacy to DCD students
  3. 3. Overview • Your background • Share findings about paras’ role in literacy instruction • Share DCD Survey results and video – Demographics – Qualitative and quantitative findings • Put results into context of the work of paraprofessionals • Video • Discussion
  4. 4. Paraprofessionals’ Role in Literacy Instruction Causton-Theoharis, J.N., Giangreco, M.F., Doyle, M.B., & Vadasy, P.F. (2007). The “sous-chefs” of literacy instruction. Teaching Exceptional Children, 40(1), 56-62. • Metaphor of a chef and “under-chef” • Chef designs and plans meals / instruction • Under-chef implements those aspects of cooking instruction designed and delegated by the teacher • The teacher and paraprofessional work as a team
  5. 5. Paraprofessionals’ Role in Literacy Instruction cont.
  6. 6. Paraprofessionals’ Role in Literacy Instruction cont. • Top 5 ways to utilize paras effectively for literacy instruction: – Use paras in supplementary roles – Use research-based reading approaches – Train paras in the reading approach – Train paras to manage behavior – Provide paras with ongoing monitoring and feedback
  7. 7. 1. Use paras in supplementary roles • Paras supplement, not replace classroom instruction • There is a tendency, especially in DCD classrooms to have paras provide literacy instruction to individual students • IDEA 2004 states that paras must be trained and supervised in order to assist in special education • Paras can support literacy instruction: – Re-read stories, reinforce skills, answer individual questions, do rhyming exercises, practice letters, use story sequencing
  8. 8. 3. Train paras in the reading approach • Paras need to become familiar and comfortable with the techniques and materials • Research shows that an important indicator of student success are the qualifications and training of the instructor • Training should be explicit, ongoing and accompanied by coaching • The teacher’s role is to provide oversight and diagnostic decisions about reading instruction for individual students
  9. 9. Paraprofessionals’ Role in Literacy Instruction cont. • Research has demonstrated that paras involvement in other than instructional tasks benefited students academically: – Researching reading materials in the library – Recording student data – Preparing instructional materials planned by the teacher – Preparing modifications or adaptations that are planned by the teacher
  10. 10. It’s All about Teamwork • All these activities performance by paraprofessionals free time of the teacher • When paras understand their roles, receive appropriate support to perform their roles, and thus perform their roles well, everyone benefits • Mutual feeling of appreciation and respect for what everyone does increases
  11. 11. Video 1 Reading Instruction • Amina – In an British girls’ school – In 10th grade – Has personal assistants • Question – Is the role of the para in the video appropriate? Why or why not?
  12. 12. Current Education Tension for DCD Teachers and Students
  13. 13. Current Education Trends for DCD Students • Both Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law require student with most significant cognitive disabilities to participate in state assessments, such as alternate assessments based on alternate achievement standards that are based on general education standards • IDEA requires each students served in special education to have an Individualized Education Plan (IEP)
  14. 14. Minnesota Alternate State Assessment • Minnesota Test of Academic Skills (MTAS) – Alternate assessment for students with the most significant disabilities based on alternate achievement standards – Consists of short narrative and expository reading high interest/low level reading passages – Students answer multiple choice comprehension questions – Students are evaluated based on a rubric (3 or correct response – 0 unrelated or no response)
  15. 15. Individualized Education Plan (IEP) • Contains – A statement of the child’s present levels of academic achievement and functional performance including how the child’s disability affects the child’s involvement and progress in the general education – A statement of measurable annual goals, including academic and functional goals designed to: • Meet the child’s needs that result from the child’s disability to enable the child to be involved in and make progress in the general education curriculum. • Meet each of the child’s other educational needs that result from the child’s disability. • For children with disabilities who take alternate assessments aligned to alternate achievement standards (in addition to the annual goals), a description of benchmarks or short-term objectives.
  16. 16. DCD Teacher Survey Demographic Information • 128 DCD teachers from Minnesota • 120 females, 8 males • Average of 14 years of being a DCD teacher • Level of instruction: – 4 early childhood – 65 elementary – 65 secondary – 24 transition • Students served: – 81 students with mild DCD – 103 students with moderate DCD – 77 students with severe DCD – 44 students with profound DCD – 32 students with autism spectrum disorder – 9 students with physical impairment – 11 students with other health impairment – 11 students with multiple impairment
  17. 17. Instructional Tension
  18. 18. Quotes • “My students need to learn to read at any level. State standards are a bonus at this point.” • “Make sure that you take coursework related to how you teach reading to regular education students and participate in literacy workshops/in-services related to Special Education. There is so much to know and the field of special education has been behind with teaching literacy to students with more significant disabilities. We can make a difference for them!” • “Variety, materials that will teach reading for pleasure and reading for survival. Make reading fun and interesting.” • “There is no one program that is suitable for all students. I pick and use from a variety of materials that I have purchased or created. Reading needs to be meaningful especially at the level that I teach.”
  19. 19. Commercially Developed Curricula Used to Teach Literacy Edmark 74 77.1 Reading Milestones 30 31.3 Reading Mastery 25 26.0 Star Reporter 23 24.0 MEville to WEville 13 13.5 Read Naturally 10 10.4 News-2-You 10 10.4 Reading A-to-Z 7 7.3 Corrective Reading 7 7.3
  20. 20. Edmark Reading Program • Commercially available in 1972 • Effective for most special education students • Four instructional formats: Word Recognition, Direction Cards, Picture/Phrase Cards, and Story Book • Level 1: 150 basic sight words and endings (-s, -ed, -ing) • Level 2: additional 200 sight words and compound words • Software versions of both levels are available • Signing Manual for nonverbal students is available
  21. 21. Reading Milestones • Beginning readers from K to 4th grade • Materials: four-color readers, teacher’s manual, workbook, spelling books, and a placement test • Originally written for deaf students, now used for students with DCD and reading difficulties • Direct instruction
  22. 22. Reading Mastery • Direct instruction • Two versions: Reading Mastery Classic (K-3) and Reading Mastery Plus (K-6) • Phonemic awareness, sound-letter correspondence, word and passage reading, vocabulary development, comprehension, and oral reading fluency
  23. 23. Star Reporter • Theme-based curriculum • Uses assistive technology for students to participate and communicate • For students with moderate to severe DCD • Elementary and secondary version • Lessons are structured around creating a classroom newspaper • Aligned with IEP goals and general ed. standards
  24. 24. MEville to WEville • Developed specifically for students with DCD • Designed to build a classroom community • Research based • Systematically integrates reading, writing, speaking, augmentative communicating, and listening • It is designed for elementary students with disabilities in the moderate to severe range • Vocabulary, word identification, print concepts, oral language, and phonological awareness • Three units – Me, My Family, My School
  25. 25. Read Naturally • Reading fluency program • Designed for struggling readers • Three strategies: reading along with a fluent model, individual repeated readings of the same passage at the student’s reading level, and progress monitoring • All age levels • There is a paper version, audiotape and software version • Student chooses a story, writes down what s/he knows about the topic, does a 1-min “cold” reading while marking difficult words and graphing a score, reads along with a model reader 3 times, and then independently for 1 minute until the goal is reached
  26. 26. News-2-You • Weekly online newspaper for beginning readers and individuals with disabilities • The paper comes in four editions: simplified, regular, higher and advanced (monthly) • Each paper has a unique “lead story”, “people in the news”, “places in the news”, “recipe page”, “joke page”, game page, and a vocabulary page • There is a “Speaking Version”
  27. 27. Reading A-to-Z • On-line constantly updated resource • Launched in 2002 • For students in K-6, including special education • Printable materials to teach guided reading, phonemic awareness, reading comprehension, reading fluency, alphabet, and vocabulary • Materials include downloadable leveled books, lesson plans, worksheets, and reading assessments
  28. 28. Corrective Reading • Developed in 1975 • Designed to teach decoding (4 levels), fluency and comprehension (6 levels) • For students in grades 4 to 12 who are reading below grade level, including students in special ed. • Can be implemented in small groups or a whole class • Direct instruction
  29. 29. Comparing Curricula • What are some similarities? • What are some differences? • What are some of the characteristics of the curricula (curriculum) that may be attractive to a teacher or students?
  30. 30. Are Curricula Comprehensive? • Quantitative – 58% yes – 42% no • Qualitative (how or why?) quot;Yesquot; category: some curricula or parts of curricula quot;Noquot; category: lack of individualization, missing reading elements, e.g. comprehension, not enough practice opportunity.
  31. 31. Quote • “I think they [curricula] are as comprehensive as I can get now. They all have pieces that really are important. I still dream of a DCD reading curriculum that provides interesting age appropriate stories and activities, lots of repetition, functional skill work and good methods for teaching writing which is my most challenging area.”
  32. 32. Activity • In small groups discuss and write down your perspective on the importance of literacy for DCD students – How important is it? – What aspects are important? – What have you observed in your work? – In your work – what literacy activities or instruction do you typically assist with? – What are you happy about? – What would you change? • Select a spokes person to share the main points you discussed
  33. 33. Other Materials and Strategies Sight word instruction 25 19.5 Teacher made 19 14.8 Books 18 14.1 Functional instruction 16 12.5 Phonics instruction 14 10.9 Computer aided instruction 14 10.9 Pictures, symbols, photos 13 10.2 Games 10 7.8 Flash cards 9 7.0 Fluency instruction 9 7 Comprehension instruction 9 7
  34. 34. Are the materials and strategies sufficient to teach reading? • Quantitative – 67% yes – 33% no • Qualitative (why or why not?) quot;Yes” category: strategy and material diversification is beneficial but demanding; teaching experience, repetition and practice as well as accesses to other professionals is important quot;Noquot; category: lack of a consistent and comprehensive curriculum that is age appropriate and has an appropriate scope and sequence
  35. 35. Making Decisions about Using Curricula, Materials and Strategies Basis Frequency Percent Student data 89 76.7 Consultation with other educators 86 67.2 Research evidence of effectiveness 73 57.0 Cost and budget 55 43.0 School/district recommendation 36 28.1 Catalog 22 17.2 Other 14 10.9
  36. 36. Types of Student Assessment Data • Summative vs. formative assessment – frequency • Mastery monitoring vs. progress monitoring – Type of task • Standardized vs. informal assessments – Type of data collection
  37. 37. Facets of Reading Tools
  38. 38. Video 2 Life Skills • Amina – In an British girls’ school – In 10th grade – Has personal assistants • Questions – Do you think the activity Amina is involved in is appropriate for her? Why or why not? – Is there a reading component involved? If so, is the reading component involved effectively? – Is the role of the para appropriate and effective? – What do feel about the teacher’s role?
  39. 39. So What? • It is important to understand: – Under which educational climate we are working – Why there maybe a tension in teaching literacy to DCD students (school, parents, etc.) – What we are trying to achieve – What your role is in this as a paraprofessional – how can you be effective and feel validated
  40. 40. Thank you! • Questions?