My son is in 2nd grade and receives special education for reading. He just got a progress report with an "F" in reading even though he gets this extra help in special ed.
We asked the school about putting him in the Reading First program. We were told he couldn't be in special ed and Reading First. Is my son prohibited from being in Reading First because he's in special ed? (he is in regular classes).
The "F" in reading is telling you and the school that the current reading program is not meeting your son's needs. He needs to learn to read.
Reading First is a classroom reading program for children in grades K-3. There is nothing in NCLB that says a child who needs more intensive reading instruction must be denied participation in the classroom program. However, since your son is already in second grade and is still behind in reading, it would make sense to give him a more intensive method of instruction than what is available in the classroom.
"Getting help in special ed" is something you should look into more closely.
This is the federal definition of special education - "The term 'special education' means specially designed instruction, at no cost to the parents, to meet the unique needs of the child with a disability, including instruction conducted in the classroom, in the home, in hospitals and institutions, and in other settings; and instruction in physical education." (20 U.S.C. Section 1401)
The federal government has set minimum national standards for reading instruction. You can learn learn about these standards in "4 Great Definitions About Reading."
Strategies for Getting Help
Write to the principal and request this information (Ill call your son Joe.)
Is Joe proficient in reading?
If Joe is not proficient in reading, what steps has the school taken to bring Joe to proficiency?
Has the school administered a screener? If so, what were the findings?
Has the school administered a diagnostic reading test? If so, what were the findings?
What reading program is the school using to teach Joe to read?
Is this program a research-based reading program? Does this reading program include the essential components" of reading listed in 20 U. S. C. § 6368(3)?
What research supports the use of this program?
What assessments does the district use to identify children who may be at risk for reading failure or difficulty learning to read? Has the district used such as assessment with Joe? What were the findings?
What additional educational assistance is the district providing Joe?
Is Joes teacher qualified to teach reading?
At Joes present rate of improvement, will the school teach Joe to read by grade three?
At Joe's present rate of improvement how long will it take the school to teach Joe to read?
Ask all these questions in your letter even if you know the answers. Keep a copy of your letter to the school. Keep a copy of their answers.
these questions in writing will give the principal and the IEP team
a chance to assess your grandsons school situation.
Data to Influence Classroom Decisions
Meet Sue Whitney
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.
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