Reading & IEP Problems
Suzanne Whitney, Research Editor, Wrightslaw
My child has Down Syndrome. I have questions about reading programs and
school offers a reading program called "Reading Recovery."
When I asked that my child receive Reading Recovery, the school said
he could not have this program because Reading Recovery is for first graders.
They said if a child has an IEP, the child is not eligible for Reading Recovery because they receive federal funding of Reading Recovery
in "Title I" money.
I don't know why a child
with an IEP can't have Reading Recovery.
I have not signed an IEP for the coming year. The IEP team said they
would look into the questions I had. They said I would receive an
updated revised IEP to sign. Several weeks have passed and I have
not received the IEP.
much longer should I wait before I contact the school and ask for
answers to my questions and the IEP?
Reading Recovery is designed for first graders. There is nothing about
having a disability, or an IEP, that makes a child ineligible for
any public school program, including a Title I program. (for more on this subject, read Teaching
a Child to Read: Special Ed or Reading First)
many respected reading experts have expressed serious concerns about
the effectiveness of Reading Recovery. (See links to articles about Reading
you have an independent evaluation that tells you that Reading Recovery
is appropriate for your child, do not invest time and energy into this program
just because it is available, or just to see if it will work.
Do not ask the school for a copy of your child's IEP again.
By law, you are an equal member of the team that creates your child's IEP.
Let the school forget about you for a while longer, until you have a good long-term plan in place.
a Comprehensive Evaluation
You need to get a complete psychoeducational evaluation on your child
by an evaluator in the private sector. The evaluator's report will
provide his present levels of educational performance in all relevant
educational areas and will also recommend instructional methods that
should be used with your son so he will learn to read.
Request an IEP Meeting
you have your evaluation in hand, send a letter to the
principal or special education director. Ask for an IEP meeting to
write an IEP based upon the most recent information from testing -
You need to learn about advocacy, evaluations, IEPs, reading, and research-based
reading instruction. This will prepare you for the next IEP meeting
- and for the next twelve years as project manager of your son's education.
How to Find an
need to learn how to measure your child's progress. Is he making acceptable
progress? Or, is he falling further and further behind? Read and reread
and Measurements for the Parent, Teacher, Advocate and Attorney.
about Advocacy & Advocacy Strategies
Learn about Research-Based
to many reading experts and specialists, Reading Recovery is not successful
with its targeted student population, the lowest performing first
Recovery: Myths and Reality
An Evaluation of Benefits and Costs (Grossen, Coulter, Ruggles)
Research on Reading Recovery
parent's letter to an Ohio school district about the inappropriate
use of Reading Recovery with his dyslexic son.
Research-Based Reading Programs
The school needs to use a research-based reading program to teach
your child to read. Read Getting
Help for Children Who Have Reading Problems.
Contact your state
or local Branch of the International Dyslexia Association for
referrals to tutors for all types of reading difficulties.
Get a copy of your state's curriculum standards from your state
department of education website. (Your state may refer to this
as "academic standards," "grade-level expectations"
or "curriculum frameworks"). Print the academic standards
for the grade your child will attend next year. This is the "general
curriculum" that your child should be involved in.
Child's IEP: Progress in the General Curriculum.
Working with an Advocate
If the relationship between you and school personnel is strained,
it may be a good idea to work with an advocate. Ask other parents
about their recommendations. These Internet sites list advocates:
Directory of Advocates
Yellow Pages for Kids