New Reading Tools Empower Special Ed Students

New Reading Tools Empower Special Ed Students
Posted on 01/10/2020
This is the image for the news article titled New Reading Tools Empower Special Ed StudentsIt is only Cheryl Moore’s first year as the Coordinator of Special Education Student Achievement and already children with special needs have seen their reading skills improve by leaps and bounds across all grade levels.

“I feel fortunate to be the trailblazer in this new role,” Moore said. “My passion has been and always will be supporting students with disabilities.”

Before working on the Special Services team, she was an instructional specialist at the elementary level for three years and a resource/inclusion teacher for nine years at the elementary and intermediate level, all within CCISD.

Even with her master’s degree in special education, Moore said she always felt that it was necessary to acquire more knowledge in order to best support her students, especially when providing explicit instruction in basic reading.

“Fortunately, I have met many other dedicated professionals along the way in my learning journey, such as our wonderful dyslexia department, and campus teacher leaders who have shared their own research with me,” she said.

In an effort to better support students build their reading skills, Moore has implemented two web-based applications and a multi-sensory approach to word cards at various pilot campuses.

Snap and Read is a reading tool for Google Chrome, iPads and more, that provides students access to text read aloud. This is useful for students who have solid auditory and/or reading comprehension skills but continue to struggle with decoding words, despite intensive interventions.

“By providing the opportunities for students to listen to text vs. decoding text, we are removing the disabling factor to access curriculum for those with basic reading disabilities,” Moore said.

“It also eliminates the stigmatization of requiring another person to read text aloud for students to access curriculum materials.”

She and her team are conducting visits to the pilot schools and so far, special education students who have used this tool have read almost 3 million words. Teachers are raving about it.

“I love watching a dyslexic kiddo who had to be pulled out of class to have a test read to them use the program and stay in class—then be one of the first to finish and make a 100,” said Nancy Bearden, a science teacher at Space Center Intermediate.

The other web-based online program is Reading Naturally Live, which accelerates reading achievement by combining the research-proven strategies of teacher modeling, repeated reading, and progress monitoring. Teachers who have started using it in their classrooms have seen a dramatic increase in student engagement in reading.

Snap Words is a program with a multi-sensory approach to acquisition of sight-word vocabulary to help students commit high-frequency words to memory.

Moore expects these three tools to keep contributing to improved student engagement, independence and performance. She has already seen an increase in the district assessment scores of students who have started using the programs.

“If we continue to see student success, and can continue its implementation with fidelity, our hope is to expand and solidify their use across our campuses,” she said.
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