Considerations When Planning Literacy Instruction for Students with Intellectual Disabilities
If you prefer, read the text-version of the infographic.
Students with intellectual disabilities can obtain higher levels of reading achievement. However, deficits in working memory can make learning early reading skills more difficult. These students should receive:
- Comprehensive evidence-based instruction in all five components of reading: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension.
- More intensive, explicit, and systematic instruction.
- Intervention that is individualized and occurs over an extended period.
- Lots of consistent practice in skills until learned to mastery.
- Cognitive processing and behavior modification strategies, as needed.
10 Research Based Tips
Keep big-picture goals in mind as you plan.
Ensure you have a clear picture of the student’s current skills and set meaningful, measurable goals.
Use an evidence-based core reading program and align supplemental materials to this program as needed.
Provide intervention with sufficient intensity to accomplish goals.
Seek out professional development opportunities to deepen understanding of the complex process of learning to read.
Remember that language abilities are the underlying foundation for reading skills.
Support working memory with images, objects, letters, and words.
Target specific parts of a scope-and-sequence to focus instruction.
Use data to guide instruction and adaptations.
Partner with service providers and family members to assist in adding more practice of learned skills.
National Center on Improving Literacy (2022). Considerations When Planning Literacy Instruction for Students with Intellectual Disabilities. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, Office of Special Education Programs, National Center on Improving Literacy. Retrieved from http://improvingliteracy.org.
Lemons, C. J., Allor, J. H., Al Otaiba, S., & LeJeune, L. M. (2016). 10 Research-Based Tips for Enhancing Literacy Instruction for Students With Intellectual Disability. TEACHING Exceptional Children, 49(1), 18–30. https://doi.org/10.1177/0040059916662202
Students with intellectual disabilities can obtain higher levels of reading achievement. However, deficits in working memory can make learning early reading skills more difficult. Consider these research-based tips as you plan literacy instruction for these students.
More on Instruction
The research reported here is funded by awards to the National Center on Improving Literacy from the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, in partnership with the Office of Special Education Programs (Award #: S283D160003). The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not represent views of OESE, OSEP, or the U.S. Department of Education. Copyright © 2023 National Center on Improving Literacy. https://improvingliteracy.org