The reflective activity in this paper highlights the adaptation of a reading lesson plan designed for the general education curricula at third grade for Jim. Jim is a fifth grade student, but his reading ability is way below his level and incomparable to his peers in fifth grade. Jim’s reading ability was at third grade level at the moment, thus implying that Jim had a reading disability.As a result, an (IEP) Individualized education program standard was set to direct the remedial reading educational plan offered to Jim.
Initial reading levels: Jim orally read a text passage at the third grade level according to measurements determined by the GORT test (Gray Oral Reading Test). However, after the remedial classes Jim was expected to orally read a similar text at the fourth grade level as evaluated on the GORT test.
After a preliminary evaluation Jims problem seemed to emerge from his inability to see clearly due to visual impairment which at times secluded him from active participation, because he could not read well on the board and books. This problem was coupled with the fact that English was Jim’s second language. The teachers had gone for long without paying attention to the problems and thus Jim had always been lagging behind always. However, before these lessons he was provided with better glasses. Additionally, I had to design cards containing letters and words with bigger fonts that could enable Jim see better. The use of a PC with large font adjustment was also used to enhance his ability to see clearly.
Firstly, I introduced Jim to basics on word recognition through the use of syllable division techniques, where I made use of the customized large font cards, to divide words. Secondly, I engaged Jim in an exercise of identifying familiar letter chunks in words so as to help him learn how to detect word sounds using the chunks (for example eat in meat, and, and in band). The recognition of such sounds greatly improved his word recognition and fluency, because with easy recognition he could now read faster. Later on, I familiarized Jim with various phonic rules that would help him identify sounds easily. Since his vision had been the source of the problems, I at times employed picture sorting activities where he was required to sort pictures and a timed basis, whilst taking note of their representative names. The latter parts of the lessons were crowned with timed reading exercises.
The lessons went on well and Jim was able to attain the Individualized education program goal set at the beginning of the sessions. Modifications on the plan in the future may require the inclusion of computer based tutorials with audio-visual interactive format that can enable the student engage in personal learning activities structured in an interesting manner, without the teachers intervention.
Commercially available material for moderately or severely disabled learners
Special needs software developed by Laureate Learning Systems provides a good curriculum basis for teaching language development in various aspects such as fluency and reading, writing and comprehension. There are various schools that depend on these materials all round the world to teach critical cognitive, language and reading skills. These software programs are specifically designed for students and even adults with disabilities. Laureate is a publisher for software both based on Macintosh and Windows systems in various fields such: vocabulary development, reading instruction, syntax training, auditory processing and concept development-just to mention but a few. The company and its work was founded by speech pathologists and it offers an estimated 50 computer software programs used for students with disabilities such as language impairments, aphasia, down syndrome, autism spectrum disorders and other developmental disabilities (Laureate Learning Systems, 2010).
This commercially available material is the best source of training for teachers that want to adapt the general school curricula for students with disabilities. It offers an example that one can use as an outline in designing an ideal personally tailored lesson plan. Additionally, the material may be expressly used as it is without any further alterations, if it is found to be age and level appropriate. However, notably most of the material from Laureate is designed after considerations have already been taken about its content, age and level appropriateness. Additionally, the design also accounts for the kind disabilities displayed by various students-which are hardly similar.
This material is readily available online and any interested parties such as parents of teachers can easily acquire it online through the company’s site: http://www.laureatelearning.com/. The material is well researched and the producers of the material are open enough and able to share how their material was developed, thus making it a very reliable source of good material for disabled students (Laureate Learning Systems, 2010).
Laureate Learning Systems (2010),. Special needs software: Building language for better communication, retrieved on 24th February, 2011 from http://www.laureatelearning.com/
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