Making Literature Accessible For Students With Special Needs
My project needs a listening center with a boom box and six headsets.
This project expired on April 9, 2008.
Hooray! This project is fully funded
I teach 9th and 10th grade students with special needs at a charter school on the south side of Chicago. 100% of the students at my school are African American and about 80% of them qualify for free or reduced lunch. Though our students are typically a few years behind when they enter our school, our goal is to bring all students up to grade level and prepare them for college.
Teaching students with special needs, it has been quite a challenge to figure out how to get my students to master state standards and significantly improve their reading skills. I have several students with severe learning disabilities who cannot read independently at a functional level. I also have many students who are participating in general education classes and are expected to read and analyze literature at the 9th grade level when their reading skills are far below that. Without the support they need, these students become easily frustrated and are more likely to give up when faced with reading tasks.
Last year, with the assistance of a listening center, I had 9th grade students who were reading at a 3rd or 4th grade level reading and analyzing "Native Son". I had several students at a time listening to the book on CD while following along in the text. This gave them the support they needed to comprehend the challenging text alongside the rest of their peers. Because the listening center made the novel accessible to them, these students were truly engaged in class discussions and activities during this unit and were able to demonstrate in depth knowledge of the novel through their end of unit projects. Unfortunately, we no longer have access to that listening center this year. When I think about how far I want my students to go this year and what they are up against in terms of their disabilities, I know that another listening center will provide the support they need to access grade-level curriculum and promote independent reading habits.
You can provide opportunities for these students to practice essential comprehension skills while tackling challenging curriculum. You can make literature come alive for students who often feel that literature is not accessible to them. Your support will help to ensure that students with special needs can achieve at high levels.
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