Exploring and reflecting on meaningful pathways to inclusive and personalized learning and living for students with complex developmental needs because education should prepare all students for a lifetime of inclusion, connection, growth and learning.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

A Reading and Language Intervention for Children with Down Syndrome


I'm pretty excited about this resource.  We are still trying to figure out this shift from teaching the students on my caseload in a self-contained setting to having them learn alongside their peers in inclusive classrooms.  I struggle with finding the right balance when it comes to literacy.  These students do benefit from exposure and participation in the literacy learni ng that is going on in the classroom but it seems to me that they do need direct instruction at their literacy level to balance this out.  I'm hoping this (or a modified version of this) will help in creating the right balance. The intervention requires 40 minutes of daily one-on-one teaching broken in to a reading strand and a language strand.  This can be done in one 40 minute session or two 20 minute ones.

The reading strand is broken down in to the following components:
  • Easy Level Book Reading
  • Instructional Level Book Reading
  • Sight Word Reading
  • Letters, Sounds and Phonology
  • New Instructional Level Book Reading
The language strand involves introducing students to new vocabulary in two-week themes and consists of the following components:
  • Introducing New Words
  • Reinfocing The Meaning of New Words
  • Using New Words In Connected Speech
  • Using New Words in Written Language
The program does require ongoing planning and organization but the more that one goes through it, the more resources that one would have to draw from.  The program does not come with pre-made materials.  You need to find, make and level your own materials.  I'm envisioning building up a library of these kind of resources over time.  I like the approach as then I can tailor to the specific needs of my students.  Although it is written with students with Down syndrome in mind, it is grounded in best practices in literacy learning and so I intend to use it with other students on my caseload.   I will obviously need to make modifications for the students that I have on my caseload who are "non-verbal" and the language strand will have a heavy crossover in to AAC learning. 

My plan is to spend another week or two wrapping my head around it and gathering and making some materials and then I would like to do a 4 to 6 week trial with a few of the students that I have on my caseload so that I can get enough practical experience with it that I will be able to figure out a plan to start right at the beginning of the year next year.  I'm very excited about the program as it gives some direction. 

I'm currently gathering materials and working on calculating reading levels that go with this specific program.  I do also have some students who are still in the emergent reading stage and this program can be used with them too.  Sources that I'm drawing from (because I have access to them) to create the library that I will have to go with this program are:
I'm excited about the program as I think it will provide a good balance of direct literacy instruction as well as inclusion with modification in classroom literacy instruction.  Would love to connect with anyone else who is planning to or is already using this intervention as it would be great to be able to share materials and ideas. 

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