Do you have a child with autism or a learning disability, who is receiving special education services, but is still struggling to learn to read? Would you like to learn a few definitions of reading from NCLB that you could use to advocate for your child? No Child Left Behind (NCLB) was passed January 8, 2002 and focuses on educational instruction and methods that have been proven to work to teach children. This is important because the curriculum used by many school districts are ineffective and outdated. This article will discuss 4 definitions that will help you in your advocacy for your child.
Definition 1: Reading: Reading means a complex system of getting meaning from print that requires all of the following. These are: skills and knowledge to understand phonemes, or speech sounds that are connected to print; the ability to decode unfamiliar words (break the words down to their parts); the ability to read fluently; sufficient vocabulary to allow for good reading comprehension; maintenance of a motivation to read.
This definition is important, because it describes the necessary skills that are needed for a child to learn to read. As a parent you can be involved with your child’s education and make sure that they are learning these skills, at an early age.
Definition 2: 5 Essential components of reading instruction that are shown to bring about early reading success! Phonemic awareness (the ability to hear and identify sounds in spoken words). Phonics (the relationship between the letters of written language and the sounds of spoken language). Fluency (the capacity to read accurately and quickly). Vocabulary: (the words students must know to communicate in an effective manner). Comprehension (the ability to understand and give meaning from what has been read).
You need to make sure that any curriculum used to teach your child to read, has these 5 necessary components. Ask school personnel to show you in writing, that these 5 components are included in your child’s curriculum.
Definition 3: Scientifically Based Research means that there is reliable evidence that the program, curriculum, or practice works. This means that any program that school districts use must have research, backing the fact that it works to help children learn. Also, for any curriculum to be scientifically research based, it must have been accepted by a peer reviewed journal, or approved by independent experts through a rigorous, objective, and scientific review.
Ask your special education personnel to please show you in writing that your child’s reading (and other academics) curriculum is scientifically research based, and also that it has been accepted by a peer reviewed journal. Ask for the research in writing so that you can see for yourself if the curriculum is proven to work.
Definition 4: Diagnostic Reading Assessment: The term means an assessment (test) that is valid, reliable and based on scientifically based reading research. The assessment must identify the child’s specific strengths and weaknesses, so that the child can learn to read by the end of the third grade, determine the difficulties the child has in learning to read, and helping to determine possible reading intervention strategies and related special education needs.
An appropriate assessment is critical to determine what skills your child still needs to learn to help them read, and also what curriculum would be appropriate to help them learn.
Use these 4 definitions to advocate for your child in the area of Reading! If a child does not learn to read early it will be very difficult to catch up skills that they missed. Keeping this in mind use these 4 definitions to advocate for your child in the area of Reading!