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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

June E. Downing

June E. Downing is Professor Emerita of Special Education at California State University, Northridge, and prior to that was at the University of Arizona in Tucson, where she did research and prepared teachers to work in the area of moderate, severe, and multiple disabilities. She is a national leader in the field of special education that targets the needs of students with severe disabilities, especially with regard to inclusive education. She has published numerous articles, chapters, monographs, and seven books on students having severe and multiple disabilities. She served for six years on the Executive Board of TASH, an international... More About Author

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