Thursday, July 3, 2008

Literacy for All

Teaching reading to all students has been something on my mind for quite a while.  While at my last district I was part of a team that investigated different curriculum's to teach reading to all students.  One curriculum that impressed me greatly was the Early Literacy Skills Builder, from Attainment Company.  It was created by Dr. Diane Browder from University of North Carolina and her staff.  Several years ago she began looking for reading programs for students with disabilities that met the National Reading Panels recommendations, but was unable to find anything that met all the recommendations.  She decided to create a reading curriculum to use with students with significant cognitive disabilities.

The research for this program was started several years ago, and is part of a 5 year research study.  Dr. Browder is in year 3 of this study, and so far all students who have participated have made significant gains.  Here is a white paper about the research: White Paper.

The program is designed as a Direct Instruction type program. It is scripted and includes most of the necessary materials to teach the program.  Sight words, phonemic awareness, and direct phonics instruction are part of the program.  Comprehension and vocabulary are covered by using storybooks.  There are 10 steps to using the storybooks to work on these skills.

This program is literally the only program available that has been researched, and shown significant results for students with significant cognitive disabilities.  It is a great program.

-  Patrick