RED 621: Literacy Intervention for Special Educators, Grades K-12

RED 621: Literacy Intervention for Special Educators, Grades K-12

Course Overview

This course addresses current research, issues, and practices in literacy for special educators in grades K-12, with a particular focus on literacy intervention. It is designed to build on prior coursework and field experiences in literacy methods and curriculum in order to help participants prepare for a range of literacy-related roles as the special educator within broader team and school contexts.

Course Objectives

Upon satisfactory completion of the course, you will be able to:

• Articulate key principles for maximizing the literacy learning potential of all students, including those identified with disabilities, in inclusive settings
• Describe the goals of Response to Intervention (RTI) as it pertains to literacy learning and articulate what your role(s) in this process may be, given your career interests.
• Develop data-driven plans to ensure that students with disabilities receive appropriate literacy-related instructional intervention when needed in addition to (not in lieu of) being included in the literate classroom community.
• Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of commonly used commercial literacy interventions for the needs of particular students identified with disabilities, in relation to the NYS Common Core Standards (ELA/Literacy) and best practice.
• Select adaptive and assistive technologies to support literacy learning for students with a range of disabilities, including those involving communication differences.
• Plan partnerships with families that involve information sharing and coordination of instructional approaches across contexts.
• Identify the dimensions, costs, and benefits of various models for co-planning and co-teaching for literacy in inclusive classrooms.

Required Texts
Copeland, S.R. & Keefe, E.B. (2007).Effective literacy instruction for students with moderate or
severe disabilities. Baltimore, MD: Brookes.
Kluth, P., & Chandler-Olcott, K. (2009). “A land we can share”: Teaching literacy to students with autism. Baltimore, MD: Brookes.
Lipson, M., &Wixson, K. (2010).Successful approaches to RTI: Collaborative practices for improving K-12 literacy. Newark, DE: International Reading Association.

Course Components

Participants will be evaluated on the following course requirements:
1. Attendance, Preparation, and Participation (10%): Class sessions will be varied and interactive, with many opportunities for students to learn from and with each other. For these reasons you are expected to attend every class, to arrive on time, to be prepared, and to participate in the day’s activities with an open, inquisitive mind, among other dispositions for learning adopted by the School of Education (see Appendix x for more details). If you are unavoidably absent, you are responsible for obtaining information and completing assigned work. Please email/contact me ahead of time to explain absences or tardiness. Excessive absences or tardiness (more than one) will result in a grade reduction(s).

1. Literacy Intervention Brochure (20%): You will choose an established reading intervention (e.g., Road to Reading, Wilson Phonics, Reading Recovery, Read 180, Fast ForWord, etc.) to investigate. Your findings about the program will be summarized in a tri-fold brochure that you will distribute to and discuss with classmates in a small group. Each brochure will address, at minimum, the following components: name and developer of the intervention; what literacy components it focuses on; for whom the intervention would and would not be appropriate, and why; length of each intervention session, and recommended duration of the interventions; description of key intervention components and procedures; summary of the research base for the intervention; and URLs for additional information. You will distribute both hard and electronic copies of your brochures to all class members as well as have an opportunity to discuss your findings during class in small groups.

2. Inquiry Project/Presentation (35%): You will work in pairs to research and present information to the class about a specific topic related to this course. You may choose to inquire about such topics as the research base on teaching literacy to a specific population of students (e.g., those on the autism spectrum, English language learners), to investigate a particular instructional approach or model that strikes you as potentially useful (e.g., reciprocal teaching, guided reading), or to explore research around a specific component of literacy in more depth (e.g., comprehension, spelling, vocabulary). You will create a “presentation”, summarizing key ideas from your inquiry in the areas described above, as well as a two-three-page abstract, with a separate page of at least 10 references, to accompany the presentation. In addition, each student will submit a one-to-two page reflection on the project/presentation (What did you learn about literacy for students with disabilities? What do you still wonder about? How did this project advance your preparation forteaching students with disabilities?) You will present your project and submit your abstract, references, and reflection paper on the last day of class.

3. Re-visioning Case Study (35%): In order to synthesize your learning from the course with that from previous experiences, you will write a re-visioning paper that revisits all relevant materials from a previous tutoring or teaching experience with a learner identified with a disability (e.g., a tutee/student for RED 625, EED 635, etc.). Your paper will address, at minimum, the following components:
• your current thinking about your student’s strengths and needs as a literacy learner
• appropriate assessment methods with RTI, UD, and DI considerations
• recommendations for literacy instruction in the inclusive classroom for your student’s future general education and special education teachers (phonics, vocabulary, comprehension, fluency, written language, spelling, oral language/communication system, as appropriate)
• recommendations for literacy intervention, to be provided in addition to the general education curriculum in literacy, including discussion and rationale of any commercial literacy interventions that are most and least appropriate for him or her
• a plan for progress-monitoring
• a plan for paraprofessional involvement with your student, if needed
• a plan for parental/family input and involvement around literacy for your student
• annotations of at least five recommended resources to be shared with your student’s general education and special education teachers, given his or her profile.

Grades will be assigned using the following schema:
A 95-100
A- 90-94
B+ 87-89
B 84-86
B- 80-83
C+ 77-79
C 74-76
F <74

If your work does not meet the “C” standard (e.g., minimal completion of assignment requirements), I may ask you to reconsider the assignment and average your grades for your first and second submissions. “B” work will address the assignment requirements in a satisfactory way and demonstrate a solid understanding of course concepts, while “A” work will be characterized by further attention to detail, thoroughness, nuance, and insight. Rewrites will not be accepted unless I specifically ask for them, although I will be happy to confer with you before assignments are due. In general, late work will not be accepted.

In compliance with Section 504 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Syracuse University is committed to ensure that “no otherwise qualified individual with a disability . . . shall, solely by reason of disability, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity. . . .” If you feel that you are a student who may need academic accommodations due to a disability, then you should immediately register with the Office of Disability Services (ODS) at 804 University Avenue, Room 309, 3rd Floor, 315-443-4498 or 315-443-1371 (TDD only). ODS is the Syracuse University office that authorizes special accommodations for students with disabilities. Please let me know if there is any way I might better support your learning in the course.

The following material comes from the Syracuse University Student Handbook (an online version of the Handbook with additional explanations of academic integrity and examples of how it may be violated can be found at
At Syracuse University, academic integrity is expected of every community member in all endeavors. Academic integrity includes a commitment to the values of honesty, trustworthiness, fairness, and respect. These values are essential to the overall success of an academic society. In addition, each member of the university community has a right to expect the highest standards of academic integrity from all other community members. Academic integrity is violated by any dishonest act which is committed in an academic context including, but not limited, to the following:
Use of Sources Plagiarism is the use of someone else’s language, ideas, information, or original material without acknowledging the source. Examples of plagiarism: (1) Paper is downloaded from an Internet source and/or obtained from a paper mill; (2) paper contains part or all of the writings of another person (including another student), copied without citation; (3) paper contains passages that were cut and pasted from an Internet source, without citation.
Course Work and Research (1) The use or attempted use of unauthorized aids in examinations or other academic exercises submitted for evaluation; (2) fabrication, falsification, or misrepresentation of data, results, sources for papers or reports; in clinical practice, as in reporting experiments, measurements, statistical analyses, tests, or other studies never performed; manipulating or altering data or other manifestations of research to achieve a desired result; selective reporting, including the deliberate suppression of conflicting or unwanted data; (3) copying from another student’s work; (4) actions that destroy or alter the work of another student; (5) unauthorized cooperation in completing assignments or examinations; (6) submission of the same written work in more than one course without prior written approval from both instructors.
The culture of K-12 education in the United States encourages teachers to share materials with each other and to adopt and adapt commercially published materials for their particular teaching contexts. It may be quite appropriate, therefore, for you to use in your coursework or field placements activities, handouts, and/or lesson plans that you obtained from a mentor teacher, found on the Internet, or developed with another student teacher. At the same time, units, lesson plans, and curriculum materials are products used in many School of Education courses, including this one, to gauge your individual mastery of concepts and skills central to your success in the profession. Consequently, you are expected to cite sources, including personal communication or professional development workshops, for any material in those assignments that you did not create on your own. Please see me if you have questions about how to do this accurately.
According to University policy, “all works in all media produced by students as part of their course participation at Syracuse University may be used for educational purposes, provided that the course syllabus makes clear that such use may occur. It is understood that registration for and continued enrollment in a course where such use of student works is announced constitute permission by the student. After such a course has been completed, any further use of student works will meet one of the following conditions: (1) the work will be rendered anonymous through the removal of all personal identification of the work’s creator/originator(s); or (2) the creator/originator(s)’ written permission will be secured.”

Overview of Topics and Due Dates

Session Topic(s) Readings/Assignments
Class 1:
Monday Introductions and syllabus overview

Literacy for all

History of literacy instruction for students with disabilities Connor, D. J. (2011). Questioning “normal”: Seeing children first and labels second. National Council of Teachers of English, 16(2), 1-3.
Kliewer, C. & Biklen, D. (2001). “School’s not really a place for reading”: A research synthesis of the literate lives of students with severe disabilities. Journal of the Association of Persons with Severe Handicaps, 26(1), 1-12.
Class 2:
Wednesday Defining inclusive schooling and considering possibilities:
• DI
Allors, J., et al. (2010). Individualized research-based reading instruction for students with intellectual disabilities: Success stories. Teaching Exceptional Children, 42 (3), 6-12.
Fuchs, D., Fuchs, L., &Stecker, P. (2010). The “blurring” of special education in a new continuum of general education placements and services. Exceptional Children, 76 (3), 301-323.
Kluth& Chandler-Olcott, chapter 2
Lipson &Wixson – Chapters 1-4
Class 3:
Monday Literacy Assessments:
• Norm-referenced/criterion-referenced
• Formative/summative
• Systematic observations
• In relation to RTI…
• Measurement selection, administration, and instructional planning
Introduction to literacy programs for brochure project Cornelius, K. E. Formative assessment made easy: Templates for collecting daily data in inclusive classrooms. Teaching Exceptional Children, 45(2), 14-21.
Deeney, T. (2010). One-minute fluency measures: Mixed messages in assessment and instruction. The Reading Teacher, 63, 440-450.
Hock, M. F., Brasseur, I., Deshler, D., Catts, H., Marquis, J., Mark, C., &Stribling, J. (2009). What is the reading component skill profile of adolescent struggling readers in urban schools? Learning Disability Quarterly, 32, 21-38.
Kluth& Chandler-Olcott – Chapter 4
Lipson &Wixson – Chapter 5-6
Class 4:
Wednesday Understanding literacy curriculum and adaptations for students with disabilities (learner needs):
• Emergent literacy
• Elementary
• Middle school
• Secondary Kluth& Chandler-Olcott – Chapters 3, 5, & 6 – NYS Common Core Standards

Class 5:
Thursday Designing literacy interventions, curriculum, and adaptations
DUE: Literacy brochures Blachman, B. A., Schatschneider, C., Fletcher, J. M., Francis, D. J., Clonan, S.M., Shaywitz, B. A., &Shaywitz, S. E. (2004). Effects of intensive reading remediation for second and third graders and a 1-year follow-up. Journal of Educational Psychology, 96, 444-461.

Copeland & Keefe- Chapters 4 & 10
Kluth& Chandler-Olcott- Chapters 3, 5, 6 & 8

Class 6:
Monday Designing literacy interventions for students with communication disabilities

Accommodating communication differences

Assistive and adaptive technology

Barbetta, P., & Spears-Bunton, L. (2007). Learning to write: Technology for students with disabilities in secondary inclusive classrooms. English Journal, 96 (4), 86-94.
Boone, R., & Higgins, K. (2007). The role of instructional design in assistive technology research and development. Reading Research Quarterly, 42 (1), 134-160.
Copeland & Keefe- Chapter 9
Kluth& Chandler-Olcott – Chapter 7
Sturm, J., &Clendon, S. (2004). Augmentative and alternative communication, language, and literacy: Fostering the relationship. Topics in Language Disorders, 24(1), 76-92.
Class 7:
Wednesday Collaborating with families Chandler-Olcott, K., &Kluth, P. (2009). “Mother’s voice was the main source of learning”: Parents’ role in supporting the literacy development of students with autism. Journal of Literacy Research, 40 (4), 461-492.
Dolezal-Sams, J. M., Nordquist, V. M. &Twardosz, S. (2009). Home environment and family resources to support literacy interaction: Examples from families of children with disabilities. Early Education and Development, 20(4), 603-630.
Class 8:
Thursday Literacy Co-teaching

Intervention teaming

DUE: Inquiry Project/presentations Causton-Theoharis, J. et al. (2007). Paraprofessionals: The sous chefs of literacy instruction. Teaching Exceptional Children, 40 (1), 56-62.
Dieker, L., &Murawski, W. (2003). Co-teaching at the secondary level: Unique issues, current trends, and suggestions for success. The High School Journal, 86 (4), 1-13.
Schnorr, B., &Davern, L. (2005). Creating exemplary literacy classrooms through the power of teaming. The Reading Teacher, 58 (6), 494-506.

By July 25th
426 Ostrom Ave
Main entrance office mailbox. DUE: Re-visioning Case Study (hard copy only)