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IES Grant

Title: Integrated Literacy for Students with Moderate and Severe Disabilities
Center: NCSER Year: 2007
Principal Investigator: Alberto, Paul Awardee: Georgia State University
Program: Reading, Writing, and Language Development      [Program Details]
Award Period: 7/1/2007 to 6/30/2011 Award Amount: $1,556,035
Goal: Development and Innovation Award Number: R324A070144
Description:

Purpose: Despite significant interest and investment in literacy and reading research over the last decade, little is known about effective literacy interventions for students with moderate to severe intellectual disability. Providing effective instruction for this population of students is challenging because of their diverse skill levels in developmental (e.g., verbal and non-verbal) and academic (e.g., emerging literacy and advanced literacy) domains.

To address this need, researchers at Georgia State University are developing and conducting an initial evaluation of an integrated literacy curriculum for students with moderate to severe intellectual disabilities, which contains three components: visual literacy instruction, sight-word instruction, and phonics instruction. The curriculum will span emerging (e.g., object identification) to advanced literacy skills (e.g., phonologically decoding connected environmental text) and will enable the identification of appropriate entry points for literacy instruction for a wide range of students varying in age and initial skill level.

Project Activities: The researchers are developing and obtaining preliminary data on a literacy curriculum that accommodates different ages and initial skill levels for students with moderate to severe intellectual disabilities in elementary and middle school. In the first year, the separate components of the intervention will be developed and individually administered to elementary school-aged students with moderate to severe intellectual disabilities. In the second year, the individual components will be refined as well as administered in small groups of elementary-aged students with moderate to severe intellectual disabilities. In the final two years of the project, group instruction will be refined and all components of the curriculum will be administered at the classroom level in special education classrooms in both elementary and middle schools. Data will be analyzed to evaluate student improvements in oral reading and comprehension, word identification, oral production of letter-sound correspondence and blending.

Products: The expected outcomes from this study include a fully developed comprehensive literacy curriculum for students with moderate and severe intellectual disabilities, including a guidebook that contains information about curriculum scope and sequence, teacher guidelines, suggested instructional materials, data collection recommendations, and DVDs of sample lessons for the three intervention components. In addition, the researchers will produce booklets that incorporate environmental and functional words into narrative connected text and include digital photos of examples of environmental narrative text.

Structured Abstract

Purpose: Despite significant interest and investment in literacy and reading research over the last decade, little is known about effective literacy interventions for students with moderate to severe intellectual disability. Providing effective instruction for this population of students is challenging because of their diverse skill levels in developmental (e.g., verbal and non-verbal) and academic (e.g., emerging literacy and advanced literacy) domains.

To address this need, researchers at Georgia State University are developing and conducting an initial evaluation on an integrated literacy curriculum for students with moderate to severe intellectual disabilities, which contains three components: visual literacy instruction, sight-word instruction, and phonics instruction. The curriculum will span emerging (e.g., object identification) to advanced literacy skills (e.g., phonologically decoding connected environmental text) and will enable the identification of appropriate entry points for literacy instruction for a wide range of students varying in age and initial skill level.

Setting: Participating students will be from Georgia school districts.

Population: Approximately 108 elementary school-aged students with moderate to significant cognitive disability will participate in the first and second years of the study. Another group of elementary and middle school students with moderate to significant cognitive disability will participate in the third and fourth years. The number of students participating in years 3 and 4 has yet to be determined. Instruction will be individual (54 students), small group (18 groups, 3 students per group), and classroom (to be determined) by a trained classroom teacher.

Intervention: There are three components to the curriculum: visual literacy instruction, sight-word instruction, and phonics instruction. The identification of people, objects, and actions will be taught using a stimulus-response-stimulus paradigm. Sight words (e.g., nouns, adjectives, verbs, etc.) will be taught using a time delay procedure. Instructional strategies such as interspersal of known and unknown items, rehearsal, and choral responding will be used. Phonics will be taught using time delay and direct instruction. Priming activities and word rehearsal will be incorporated into the phonics instruction.

Research Design and Methods: A multiple baseline design using multiple probes will be used to answers questions related to the effectiveness and efficiency of the literacy strategies being developed, in both one-to-one and small-group instructional formats. Picture reading will be evaluated using the multiple probe design across students (or groups) or across content. Sight-word instruction will be evaluated using a multiple probe across students (or groups) with an embedded changing criterion design. The time-delay phonics instruction will be evaluated using a multiple probe across students. The direct instruction will be evaluated using a pre-test/post-test design.

Control Condition: The baseline condition is the reading instruction the student typically receives.

Key Measures: The curriculum will be evaluated using a battery of commercial and non-commercial measures. The Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals—Preschool 2, Expressive One-Word Picture Vocabulary Test, and Receptive One-Word Picture Vocabulary Test will be administered three times per year. Criterion-referenced performance measures will also be administered.

Data Analytic Strategy: Visual analyses will be conducted to discern patterns and trends in the data. A nonparametric approach will be used to assess the effects of the intervention. The percentage of non-overlapping data between the baseline and treatment phases will be calculated for each intervention.

Publications

Journal article, monograph, or newsletter

Alberto, P., Fredrick, L., Hughes, M., McIntosh, L., and Cihak, D. (2007). Components of Visual Literacy: Teaching Logos. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 22(4): 234–243.

Alberto, P.A., Waugh, R.E., and Fredrick, L.D. (2010). Teaching the Reading of Connected Text Through Sight-Word Instruction to Students With Moderate Intellectual Disabilities. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 31(6): 1467–1474. doi:10.1016/j.ridd.2010.06.011

Alberto, P.A., Waugh, R.E., Fredrick, L.D., and Davis, D.H. (2013). Sight Word Literacy: A Functional-Based Approach for Identification and Comprehension of Individual Words and Connected Text. Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities, 48(3): 332–350.

Anderson, D., Farley, D., and Tindal, G. (2015). Test Design Considerations for Students With Significant Cognitive Disabilities. Journal of Special Education, 49(1): 3–15. doi:10.1177/0022466913491834

Davis, D.H., Gagne, P., Fredrick, L.D., Alberto, P.A., Waugh, R.E., and Haardoerfer, R. (2013). Augmenting Visual Analysis in Single-Case Research With Hierarchical Linear Modeling. Behavior Modification, 37(1): 62–89. doi:10.1177/0145445512453734

Fredrick, L.D., Davis, D.H., Alberto, P.A., and Waugh, R.E. (2013). From Initial Phonics to Functional Phonics: Teaching Word-Analysis Skills to Students With Moderate Intellectual Disability. Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities, 48(1): 49–66.

Waugh, R.E., Alberto, P.A., and Fredrick, L.D. (2011). Effects of Error Correction During Assessment Probes on the Acquisition of Sight Words for Students With Moderate Intellectual Disabilities. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 32(1): 47–57. doi:10.1016/j.ridd.2010.08.007

Waugh, R.E., Alberto, P.A., and Fredrick, L.D. (2011). Simultaneous Prompting: An Instructional Strategy for Skill Acquisition. Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities, 46(4): 528–543. Full text

Waugh, R.E., Fredrick, L.D., and Alberto, P.A. (2009). Using Simultaneous Prompting to Teach Sounds and Blending Skills to Students With Moderate Intellectual Disabilities. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 30(6): 1435–1447. doi:10.1016/j.ridd.2009.07.004


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