Academic journal article Education & Treatment of Children

Pupil-Made Pictorial Prompts and Fading for Teaching Sight Words to a Student with Learning Disabilities

Academic journal article Education & Treatment of Children

Pupil-Made Pictorial Prompts and Fading for Teaching Sight Words to a Student with Learning Disabilities

Article excerpt

A nine-year-old male student with learning disabilities exhibiting speech and language delays, reading below grade level, participated in the study. He was taught to illustrate his own picture prompt materials for learning basic sight words. The experimenters used a multiple probe design across word sets, shown on flashcards, as well as reading in context to evaluate treatment effectiveness, illustrating word meanings by drawing a representative picture was first modeled for the participant. Subsequently, he was told word meanings, and he illustrated the remaining target words. The participant faded his self-made prompts by drawing illustrations, progressively reduced in size and color intensity, during remaining treatment sessions. Rapid acquisition and retention of the target words occurred. Social validation information indicates the participant and his teacher liked the treatment. Self-made prompt materials have implications for reducing teacher preparation time and for increasing individualization.

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Students with learning and behavioral disabilities commonly exhibit academic achievement that is inconsistent, less than the achievement of peers, and display resistance to instructional efforts. Reading is one of the more troublesome academic skills for these students. Clearly, children with disabilities need effective and direct methods to learn basic reading skills in a systematic, logical manner (Browder & Shear, 1996; Browder & Xin, 1998; Mosley, Flynt, & Morton, 1997; Nicholson, 1998; Rich & Blake, 1994). Sight word reading is one of the basic reading skills that successful readers must acquire (Ehri, 1995).

Sight vocabulary is a list of words recognized without mediation or utilization of phonetic analysis (Browder & Lalli, 1991). Sight word reading can be defined as a discrete, observable response that is controlled by a printed stimulus (Browder & D'Huyvetters, 1988). The Dolch List of words is one of the most frequently used when teaching sight vocabulary, and, after many years, it still represents the vocabulary in primary materials (Leibert, 1991; Palmer, 1986). As suggested by Doich (1948), an individual who can read all 220 words of the original list should be able to read books of third grade difficulty. Once learned, sight words facilitate the increase of fluency and discrimination of other words in context.

Over the years, behavioral technology has been employed successfully in teaching sight words to students with moderate and severe, and to a lesser extent, mild disabilities. Specifically, behavioral technology employs stimulus control strategies to clearly indicate or set the occasion for a correct response by the learner. Some examples of instructional strategies based on stimulus control procedures are stimulus shaping, and stimulus fading. Stimulus shaping refers to the presentation of the target stimulus (e.g., sight words) with a distracter stimulus that differs from it. Stimulus fading is an errorless procedure that involves the addition of a prompting stimulus, gradually removed or faded by reducing its intensity or components (Browder & Lalli, 1991).

Numerous studies have employed variations of stimulus fading as a means to facilitate the discrimination from a prompt to a desired stimulus (Corey & Shamow, 1972; Dorry & Zeaman, 1975; Karsh, Repp, & Lenz, 1990; Keel, Koorland, & Fueyo, 1997; Knowlton, 1980; Lalli & Browder, 1993; Walsh & Lamberts, 1979). One prompting strategy is the use of picture prompts along with words. Knowlton (1980) employed sight words displayed with illustrations of the words to teach students with learning disabilities. The illustrations were faded by placing tracing paper over the illustrations progressively until no longer visible. Barudin and Hourcade (1990) compared the relative effectiveness of three instructional procedures (sight word, picture fading, and tactile-kinesthetic) in teaching students with moderate and severe mental retardation to read a series of words. …

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