Accommodating disabilities in classrooms
Measures of phonemic awareness strongly predict young children's future success in learning to read or, conversely, the likelihood that they will fail (Adams, 1990; Stanovich, 1986). Assessment tools that reflect the most important aspects of the grade-level curriculum provide information about how an individual student performs within the classroom context.In other words, "a student's performance on various reading and writing measures is considered an indication of what he or she can and will do under a specific set of conditions, rather than a set of fixed abilities and disabilities" (Lipson & Wixson, 1997, p. This type of assessment readily translates to planning instruction to meet specific student needs.Finally, assessment tools that represent particular requisite skills are very useful in monitoring individual students' progress.Ongoing and frequent assessment provides teachers with current, practical information to guide their further intervention (Deno, 1997; Fuchs, 1989).Students at-risk for reading-related learning disabilities were identified using the Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS), a performance-based reading assessment.
Critical to this project was the design of professional development that would lead to teacher expertise in reading intervention strategies for at-risk students, incorporating sound pedagogical strategies for teaching ELL students.Professional development for teachers is a key ingredient in improving reading outcomes and preventing reading difficulties."Continuing professional development should build on the preservice education of teachers, strengthen teaching skills, increase teacher knowledge of the reading process, and facilitate integration of newer research on reading into the teaching practices of the classroom teacher" (Snow et al., 1998, pp. However, "one-shot" workshops generally fail to deliver effective research-based strategies to classrooms (Gersten, Morvant, & Brengelman, 1995).Poor reading skills lead to lower overall academic achievement and first grade seems to be a critical developmental period (Chall, 2000; Juel, 1988).
Multiple and complex factors contribute to poor reading outcomes in urban schools, including a lack of qualified teachers and students who come from poverty (Snow, Burns, & Griffin, 1998).Results indicated positive growth for ELLs, with a disproportionately large percentage of students falling into the risk range.