What Are the Criteria for Remedial Reading Programs?
Sue Whitney, Research Editor, Wrightslaw
My child has been in remedial reading this year. He made three months
of progress so he actually fell further behind his peers.
Can the school select one reading program and use that program with
What are the criteria for remedial reading programs?
fact that most schools fail to use research based reading programs
that are implemented by trained teachers are the main reasons why
only 32 percent of children are proficient readers by the end of
3rd grade. Link
to Graphs of Reading, Math, Science Proficiency, Grades K-12
Tragically, 75 percent of children who are not proficient readers
by the end of third grade will never be proficient readers.
Reasons for Reading Failure
The program is not appropriate for the child.
2. There are too many students in the reading class.
3. The pace of the instruction is too rapid for children to achieve
mastery of skills presented. Source: The
Requirements for Research Based Reading Programs
Teachers who are trained in research based methods should use the
programs as they are intended to be used - including the recommended
hours per day and week, and the recommended teacher-student ratio.
am not aware of any research showing that a research based program
will work if it is used by a teacher who is not properly trained,
if the teacher-student ratio is wrong, if the required hours per day
and week are wrong, or if the program is wrong for the child's stage
of reading development.
the reading program is not matched to the child's stage of reading
development and is not sufficiently intense to bring the child's
skills to where they need to be for his age and grade, it is worthless
for that child.
your state grade level standards and the "average range"
on test scores to document where your child needs to end up. Adjust
the intensity of instruction so the child reaches this goal in two
years or less.
Qualities of Effective Reading Programs
1. Effective programs are driven by reading research, not ideology.
2. Effective programs emphasize direct, systematic, intensive, and sustained reading.
3. Effective programs require school-wide buy-in before they are adopted.
4. Effective programs are supported by initial professional development and extended follow-up training throughout the school year.
5. When implementing an effective program, the school needs to be committed to the integrity of the program's instructional approach and materials.
6. Effective programs make effective use of instructional time, provide multiple reading opportunities, and employ a variety of reading assessments.
When Selecting a Reading Program from The
& Emotional Problems When Children Do Not Learn to Read
For emotional reasons alone, two years of not knowing how to read
is a long time for a child. Psychologist Michael Ryan describes the
high price children pay when we fail to teach them to read in Social
and Emotional Problems Related to Dyslexia
Is it reasonable that a school that teaches children to read is not
teaching this child to read? It is reasonable to expect that
"specialized instruction to meet the unique needs of the child
with a disability" (the definition of "special education"
in IDEA) will ensure that the child progresses to where he needs to
be in a fairly short period of time?
If the child is not making this progress, is it reasonable to conclude
that the special education program is not appropriate?
After you learn about the requirements for a research based reading
program that will be effective for this child at his reading stage,
look at the model
reading program from the U. S. Department of Education.
model calls for 90 minutes of instruction per day, 5 days a week,
from kindergarten through grade 3. Children who are not making sufficient
progress receive additional instruction. This model assumes that reading
instruction takes place in general education classrooms. Children
are not allowed to fall behind. They are given the instruction they
need when they need it. National Research Council, Preventing
Reading Difficulties in Young Children
C-1 of Guidance
for the Reading First program says:
"A high-quality reading program that is based on scientifically
based research must include instructional content based on the five
essential components of reading instruction integrated into a
coherent instructional design.
coherent design includes explicit instructional strategies
that address students specific strengths and weaknesses, coordinated
instructional sequences, ample practice opportunities and aligned
student materials, and may include the use of targeted, scientifically
based instructional strategies as appropriate.
"The design should also consider the allocation of time, including
a protected, uninterrupted block of time for reading instruction
of more than 90 minutes per day.
high-quality reading program also includes assessment strategies
for diagnosing student needs and measuring progress, as well
as a professional development plan that ensures teachers have the
skills and support necessary to implement the program effectively
and to meet the reading needs of individual students."
children receive this type and intensity of instruction by well-trained
teachers, many never need to be identified with a disability and never
need to be placed in special education programs.
Questions to Ask About Your Child's Reading Program
Here are some questions you need to ask about your child's reading
What is the name of my child's reading program?
2. Is the reading program researched-based? Does the program include
the five essential elements identified by the National Reading Panel
and required by No Child Left Behind?
3. How many children will be in my child's reading group?
4. How have the children in this group been selected?
5. Has the teacher been trained in direct, systematic, multisensory
6. Is the teacher certified in this particular program?
7. Has the teacher completed a supervised practicum in this program?
8. How many hours of instruction per week will my child receive?
9. How will the pace of the instruction be determined?
10. What criteria will be used to determine mastery?
11. How will I be informed about my child's progress?
Below are links to articles and publications that will help you learn
about research based reading programs, appropriately trained teachers,
stages of reading development, and model reading programs.
reading development - If the program is not appropriate for
the child's reading stage, it will be ineffective for him, even if
it works for other children his age.
More about The Stages of Development, Stage 0 - Stage 5.
Great Definitions About Reading in NCLB
- No Child Left Behind includes the legal definitions of reading,
essential components of reading instruction, scientifically based
reading research, and reading assessments. Does your child's program
have these "essential components"? Has the school given
your child a diagnostic reading assessment? What did this assessment
Can I Get a Trained, Certified Reading Teacher?
for the Reading First Program - The purpose of Reading
First is to ensure that all children are proficient readers by the
end of third grade. This publication
includes a description of a model program - 90 minutes of instruction
per day, 5 days a week, with additional instruction for children who
continue to struggle.
the International Dyslexia Association
and the Learning Disabilities Association
of America for one year. Immerse yourself in information about
your child's disability, research based instructional techniques,
legal rights and responsibilities, and advocacy strategies.
Get help from other parents. Look for a support or study group in
your community. Read Strategies
to Find a Parent Group. Other parents can provide information,
recommend experts, offer support, and alleviate that sinking feeling
that you are fighting this battle alone.
Learn more about research
based instruction (RBI).
more about teaching
children to read.
more about effective
Meet Sue Whitney
Sue Whitney of Merrimack, New
Hampshire, is the research editor for Wrightslaw.
Sue is the co-author of Wrightslaw: No Child Left Behind (ISBN: 978-1-892320-12-4) that is
published by Harbor House Law Press.
In Doing Your Homework, she
writes about reading, research based instruction, No Child Left Behind, and
strategies for using federal education standards to advocate for
and to improve public schools. Her articles have been reprinted by SchwabLearning.org, EducationNews.org, Bridges4Kids.org, The Beacon: Journal of Special Education Law and Practice, the Schafer Autism Report, and have been used in CLE presentations to attorneys. Sue Whitney's bio.
Sue has served on New Hampshire's Special Education State
Committee on the Education of Students/Children with Disabilities
has been a volunteer educational surrogate parent. She currently works with families as a special education advocate.
© 2002-2012 by Suzanne Whitney.