Those who are devoted to building literacy skills in students usually considered the least likely to learn to read will be delighted with the new book, Literacy Skill Development for Students with Special Learning Needs, A Strength-Based Approach from Leslie Broun and Patricia Oelwein. Educator Leslie Broun must be commended for fine tuning for students with autism spectrum disorders the techniques and tools originally developed by Patricia Oelwein for teaching reading to children with Down syndrome.
Based on years of working with actual students, the strategies offered in this book are specific and effective even for students who have been evaluated as lacking the necessary skills to learn to read using traditional regular education or special education methods.
The strategies and learning materials offered in Literacy Skill Development reflect the hallmarks of the Universal Design for Learning (UDL). I was most impressed by the flexibility of the method and the respect shown for differences of students with learning disabilities, hearing or vision impairments, sensory processing disorders and other ways that diversity can be expressed in students in both mainstream and specialized programs.
Parents as well as teachers will be inspired by the descriptions of children with a variety of developmental disabilities, communication challenges and other special needs who have visibly progressed in developing reading skills from their earliest experience with the program. Because the child can start from where they are rather than where they 'should be' in the traditional model of learning to read, failure and frustration that is often expressed through challenging behaviors may be avoided or diminished.
The research that helps explain why this method is successful, cited throughout the book, makes a strong argument for the use of the methods that both Patricia Oelwein and Leslie Broun discovered through work with actual children in their classrooms. I recommend this book highly for inclusion in teaching program reading lists, parent group lending libraries, and as gifts for teaching staff and administrators.
Browse at local bookstores, your public library, or online retailers for books like Teaching Reading to Children With Down Syndrome: A Guide for Parents and Teachers (Topics in Down Syndrome) or Literacy Skill Development for Students with Special Learning Needs
Literacy and Down Syndrome
Jane Farrall: Lots of alternatives - "Pencils" for everyone
Reading Readiness in Teens and Young Adults
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.