Not every child learns at the same pace or same level. That’s true in all subjects, but it’s particularly important to identify when a child is having difficulty with reading. Without competence in reading skills, a child can quickly fall behind. That’s especially true if a child has special needs. To counter those challenges, it’s important to implement reading programs for special education.

guided reading

Research-based reading programs for special education may be necessary once you identify the most common reading comprehension issues in your targeted students. Reading comprehension skills are needed to be able to understand instructions for an assignment, and it becomes an important part of independent learning later on. Here are a few of the most common issues special education students have with reading comprehension:

  • One of the most obvious indicators that a student may be having difficulty with reading comprehension is when they are challenged in following directions or understanding instructions in their assigned work.
  • A  clear sign a student may be struggling is when he or she can’t is unable to summarize what they just read.  This may indicate other problems with vocabulary or phonemic awareness. This is where a research-based special education curriculum might be necessary.
  • A tendency to avoid certain words. Skipping words when reading could mean your student is having problems decoding words.
  • Confusing letters and sounds.Trouble with phonemic awareness is a distinct indicator a student has reading difficulty or even dyslexia.
  • Difficulties reading orally. Watching a student struggle while reading aloud and identifying words is a common indicator.

How to Identify the Best Reading Programs for Special Education

Just as all students vary in terms of their ability to read, so too are online reading programs created differently in terms of what makes them better for students. There are many different reading apps and online software programs available, but here are some of the things you should look for when considering reading programs for special education:

  • Does it incorporate multisensory learning? Multisensory learning is a great way to engage special education students. Programs that engage students through auditory, visual, and tactile typing activities offer the biggest advantage to educators tasked with teaching special ed students to read.
  • Does the program include techniques for multiple exposures to texts in a variety of ways? This is important to help student learn new words and phrases. It’s never a case of one-and-done.
  • Any online program worth its salt is going to include ample opportunity for practice. For a struggling student, practice is critical to overcoming difficulties with certain texts.
  • Evaluation and reports. The best reading programs for special education should have built-in elements to help educators assess students as they grow.

Today’s educational software is providing students with a more individualized learning experience than ever before. This is especially important for students with reading challenges. Essential Skills offers a valuable online learning tool for teachers to support struggling readers.