Reading Programs: Teaching Students With Intellectual Disabilities and Moderate-to-Severe Reading Disabilities

Reading is not simply sounding out words. Reading is creating meaning with print. Effective reading programs for students with intellectual disabilities and moderate-to-severe reading disabilities focus on developing students’ abilities to create meaning with print rather than simply sounding out words. This entry begins by describing the two basic theoretical perspectives related to reading instruction, then enumerates 10 instructional elements essential for reading programs, and concludes with a discussion of four instructional approaches that have been shown to be effective and can be used with students with intellectual disabilities.

Code-First or Meaning-First Programs

Two basic theoretical perspectives are related to reading instruction and related programs: (a) a code-first approach based on a bottom-up model that has its basis in behavioral learning theory and (b) a meaning-first approach ...

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