NewResearch — Gains in Reading for Adolescents with Autism and Intellectual Disabilities

A 7 week intervention achieved significant improvements in the emergent reading skills of adolescents with autism, intellectual and multiple disabilities .

The new research study conducted by Penelope Hatch, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, at the Center for Literacy and Disability Studies, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, looked at the effects of daily reading experiences using age/ability-appropriate text.

start to finish literacy starters books
One of the many Start to Finish literacy Starters titles, includes three books, vocab cards, computer cd and materials cd.

There were two groups of teachers: one trained in comprehensive literacy instruction and the other without this training and 43 students, ages 12 to 21, with diverse ethnicities and exceptionalities.  Each student group read Don Johnston’s Start to Finish Literacy Starters, a collection of computer and paperback books designed for non-readers and students reading at beginning levels. Students read for 30 minutes a day in self-selected reading assignments, teacher-led instruction or a combination of the two practices.

There was a significant difference between the average pretest and posttest performance for the 43 students. The first group improved their scores by 5%. Students in Group 2 who were taught by teachers trained on comprehensive literacy instruction improved by 8%. These students focused on word and vocabulary instruction, reading comprehension and writing.

“Traditionally, special education teachers kept their approach narrow when teaching students with significant disabilities to read,” said Dr. Hatch. “This approach typically involves using only sight words or learning the alphabet through decontextualized drill and practice. Our study set out to determine: 1) if students with moderate to severe intellectual disabilities could improve their reading skills when given daily access to age/ability-appropriate books; and 2) if students made more improvement when taught by teachers who were trained and familiar with teaching comprehensive literacy instruction.”

For more information about the study download the pdf of this Research Study and feel free to share with colleagues.

To get Start to Finish Literacy Starters more information on Literacy Starters download this pdf, or to see all the titles and individual pricing search “Literacy Starters” in the Bridges Webstore.  Literacy Starters and the Meville to Weville  Literacy Starters package are school and district licensable — contact Bridges for more details.

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