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    Wednesday, November 1, 2023

    The Science of Reading in the Special Education Classroom

    Last year I read a book that changed my entire outlook on teaching teaching to my students with significant disabilities and complex needs. Comprehensive Literacy for All: Teaching Students with Significant Disabilities to Read and Write by Karen Erickson Ph.D and David Koppenhaver Ph.D. is a MUST-READ for teachers in the self-contained classroom! It provides Science of Reading research specific to our students with significant disabilities and provides some practical guidance. 

    However, when I was finished reading, I struggled with knowing what literacy materials would work best for applying what I had learned. 

    So I got to work creating some! And that is how my Differentiated Phonological Awareness Visual Supports for Elementary or SpEd and Letter of the Day Science of Reading Lessons and Visual Supports for Special Ed were born! 

    Differentiated Phonological Awareness Visual Supports for Elementary

    Phonological Awareness activities are often very auditory-focused. For my learners, this is often the most challenging learning modality. Therefore, I wanted to create visual supports for each skill that could be easily differentiated across a variety of learners.  

    The skills I addressed included: 

    It was also important to me to make visual supports that could be modified to be used across a variety of learning activities to increase engagement and build student independence. This was also key to differentiation. 

    Task Cards

    Cut and Paste Worksheets


    File Folders

    Letter Tile Cards

    Paper-Pencil Worksheets

    Dry Erase Mats

    Letter of the Day Science of Reading Lessons and Visual Supports for Special Ed

    Comprehensive Literacy for All taught me the importance of daily alphabet instruction. I wanted to create materials for this instruction that had a similar format for daily instruction each day so that students could focus on learning the content (and not concurrently trying to learn the activity expectations!). 

    Based on the research from the book, I developed a daily lesson framework and lesson plans to accompany my materials:

    1. Alphabet Song

    • Provide students with the alphabet song visual support.
    • Play or sing the Alphabet Song while students track each letter with their finger.

    2. Enhanced Alphabet Knowledge
    • Provide each student with the EAK worksheet.
    • Follow the included EAK script adapted from Comprehensive Literacy for All

    3. Letter Matching
    • Provide student with letter sheet and manipulatives based on their level:
      • Identical capital letter matching
      • Lowercase letter matching
      • Match pictures with beginning sound

    4. Letter Picture Book
    • Read aloud the book from the provided picture book list.

    5. Letter Book Worksheet

    • During or after reading, give students the letter worksheet to color or draw.

    Ready to get started with the Science of Reading in your special education classroom? Check out the resources I created in my TPT store!

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