Academic journal article Exceptional Children

Oral Reading Fluency Development for Children with Emotional Disturbance or Learning Disabilities

Academic journal article Exceptional Children

Oral Reading Fluency Development for Children with Emotional Disturbance or Learning Disabilities

Article excerpt

Understanding the reading development of students who begin their school careers with weak reading, including students with disabilities, is critical. Beyond the obvious academic difficulties associated with poor reading are important social, emotional, and behavioral issues including a higher risk for high school dropout (Alliance for Excellent Education, 2002), delinquency (Center on Crime, Communities, and Culture, 1997), and future unemployment (National Center for Education Statistics, 2005). Research has shown that some reading difficulties may be intractable (Francis, Shaywitz, Stuebing, Shaywitz, & Fletcher, 1996; Torgesen & Burgess, 1998). Francis and colleagues reported that reading growth for both students with learning disabilities and typically developing students decelerated over time, and described this finding as being consistent with a deficit model of reading development rather than with a lag model in which poor readers catch up over time. The gap existed at initial assessment and was stable over time. Other research consistent with this deficit model has shown that once first graders are well behind their peers in word reading, they rarely catch up (Juel, 1988); this initial gap between poor and strong reading widens over the elementary years (Cunningham & Stanovich, 1997), and becomes increasingly difficult to close (Fletcher & Foorman, 1994). Nevertheless, findings from some more recent studies are consistent with the lag model, showing accelerated growth when students were provided early intervention (e.g., Phillips, Norris, Osmond, & Maynard, 2002; Skibbe et al., 2008).

READING GROWTH OF STUDENTS IN SPECIAL EDUCATION

Reading difficulties, historically, have been the most common reason students receive special education under the specific learning disability (SLD) category (Fletcher, Lyon, Fuchs, & Barnes, 2007), and the number of students classified as having SLD has nearly tripled since 1970 (Swanson & Carson, 1996). Nearly half of all students receiving special education services through the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) do so under the SLD category. The incidence of students identified with emotional disturbance (ED) has also increased, making the ED category the fourth largest among disabilities (U.S. Department of Education, 2011). Like students with SLD, students with ED commonly demonstrate reading deficits (Benner, Nelson, Ralston, & Mooney, 2010; Rice & Yen, 2010).

Students identified with ED or SLD have access to special education services to assist in improving their academic learning outcomes. As educational policies increasingly focus on accountability for growth for all children and specifically require comparison of special education outcomes to general education outcomes, the question is whether it is actually realistic to expect that special education can "normalize" the reading levels of all or most students with disabilities by altering their reading trajectories and accelerating learning to allow them to reach grade-level expectations. Hanushek, Kain, and Rivkin (1998) reported that across Grades 3 to 6, the reading standard scores of students who received special education rose by an average of 0.04 standard deviations per year. Extrapolating their findings suggests that with special education services, a third grader with a disability who is reading at the 20th percentile would likely enter high school reading below the 25th percentile.

Schiller, Sanford, and Blackorby (2008) used Special Education Hementary Longitudinal Study (SEELS) data to compare the reading performance of students with SLD who were receiving reading instruction in either general education or special education settings. In general, oral reading fluency rates were higher for students receiving instruction in general education, but regardless of setting students with SLD did not make gains relative to national norms in reading comprehension. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.