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Special Education » Literacy


Reading Partnerships
In Reading Partnerships, students are paired with similar readers in their class to engage in meaningful reading. All readers will be given strategies to help them compose open-ended questions and will then meet regularly to discuss a common text that they have chosen to read. Reading partners each have their own copy of the agreed upon chapter book, and they set-up times to meet and discuss the text throughout their reading of the book.

When finished with a text, reading partners can work together to complete a reading project and/or share their common reading experience with their classmates.
Special Education Literature Resources
Current research shows that the best way to increase reading comprehension is allowing your students time to actually read a wide variety of books at their interest and ability level. Giving time to read in the classroom seems hard to justify sometimes when we think about IEP goals, TCAPs and state objectives. But consider this point:

Researchers have compared the reading instruction experienced by children in different reading groups in the same classrooms. In these studies researchers concluded that children placed in the high groups received more and better instruction than the children in the lower groups. This has been called the Matthew Effect after the Gospel of Matthew passage about the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer (Stanovich, 2000).

More specifically, these studies report that higher-achievement groups have more time to read (especially silent-reading). Children in lower achievement groups do less reading and writing, more round-robin reading, oral reading, more isolated skills and drills, fewer comprehension activities, and they experience more dependency-creating instruction. (Allington, 2007).

Give your students time each day to read an interesting book or magazine. Mini-conference with them about what they are reading and what is interesting about it. Let them share their books with other students.

If you aren’t sure how to give students this extra time, try allowing each student to have a book at their desk or table next to the work they are doing. At the beginning of the class while you are taking roll, gathering homework, at times when you are interrupted by another teacher or a student, or as you are preparing for the next activity, have your students pick up their books and read. Allow students to read when they finish their work, or as you are checking their work. Even increasing their time reading by six minutes a day adds up to half an hour a week and two hours a month.

Graphic Novels

 When you think of graphic novels, Manga or another popular sci-fi series might come to mind. In fact, graphic novels have entered the realm of more popular mainstream fiction (and nonfiction) of today. Especially popular with teens and young adults, graphic novels can be a way to reach even your most reluctant readers. Typically a graphic novel is bound in a sturdier manner than comics and has the more typical layout of a novel such as chapters, etc.

My first adventure into graphic novels came as a child in the late 1950s and early 60s, although at the time we called them classic comic books. I was introduced to many of the classics, such as Dr. Jeykll and Mr. HydeThe DeerslayerCrime and Punishment, and The Man in the Iron Mask in this way. Interestingly, the DC Classics Illustrated series I read way back then has now been re-released in bound editions.

A Brief History of Graphic Novels

Link to an NPR Public Radio interview with two authors of graphic novels

Graphic Novel Links

No Flying, No Tights

Reviews graphic novels for teens (all genres)

Great list of recommended graphic novels

Using graphic novels in the high school classroom

Best Graphic Novels: Maus and Clan Apis

Reader’s Theater

Reader’s Theater is a strategy used to help students increase fluency skills while having fun too! Students are given a script, much if they were presenting a play, but with Reader’s Theater there is no memorization, sets, or even props needed. Students practice reading (and re-reading) the script, adding inflection and becoming more fluent in reading their parts as a way to practice for the “big show”. When ready they present it to the class, friends, other teacher and staff or just to you, while reading the scripts in their hands.

There are loads of free scripts online and I have included the best links I could find. If you don’t think this is an effective way to improve reading (after all, it’s too much fun!), check out the articles on the research studies conducted on Reader’s Theater. Then try it in your classroom -and don’t forget to have fun!!!




Literacy Connections 
(Great website with all the links you’ll ever need to scripts, etc.!)

Teaching Heart

Aaron Shephard’s Webpage

Stretchabook. com

Mandy  Gregory’s Website


Question-Answer Relationships

The concept of Question-Answer Relationships was originally coined by author Taffy Raphael. She later co-wrote the book entitled QAR Now to explain the idea in more depth. She created a system for categorizing questions based on the type of information required to locate answers.

The use of QAR allows students to focus on specific strategies for answering questions. At its simplest level, the answer to any question about a text is either IN THE BOOK or IN YOUR HEAD. The answer IN THE BOOK is either information that can be directly found in the text (as in explicit questions) OR can be gathered from the text (by putting information together from different parts of the text or group of texts). The answer IN YOUR HEAD is not found anywhere in the text. The two types of IN YOUR HEAD questions require either your opinion based on what was read or inferring the author’s meaning or intention.

Follow the links below to more information and related materials on QAR.