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Literacy Tip of the Week: April 12, 2020

posted Apr 12, 2020, 7:21 PM by Steven Richardson   [ updated Apr 12, 2020, 7:25 PM ]

Does Guided Reading Work for Students with IEPs?

By Julie A. Taylor, Next Step Guided Reading Consultant,


“I teach special education. Can I use guided reading?” The answer is YES, YES, YES!! Students with learning and language difficulties need specially tailored instruction that meets their needs in all areas – reading text, strategic actions at the point of difficulty, self-monitoring, writing, word study, and comprehension. Since students with IEPs have such varied strengths and weaknesses, they need evidence-based, customized instruction that meets them where they are on the continuum of literacy development and grows them into proficient readers and writers (Foorman et al., Institute of Education Sciences, 2016). Through Jan’s Assess-Decide-Guide framework, teachers learn exactly what students need for instruction in all areas of literacy, and specifically how to meet those needs through teaching and instruction that is receptive, formative, active, and engaging - and most importantly wastes no time!

Jan’s guided reading approach allows teachers to plan lessons by combining elements of powerful literacy instruction into a highly effective framework that wastes no time in giving students the specialized, laser-targeted instruction they need. Jan’s approach to guided reading instruction is precisely what helps to close learning gaps for our most vulnerable students. Teachers learn to make day-to-day instructional decisions based on student needs, so no time passes without students receiving lessons that are planned especially to suit them. This continuous teaching and learning cycle helps students with IEP’s to efficiently increase their literacy proficiently through streamlined lessons that are the most beneficial for them.

Hundreds of special needs children I have taught, including my own children, are living proof of the research that has repeatedly shown that reading ability, not IQ, is tied most closely to school and real-world success (Sparks, Patton, & Murdoch, 2013).

If you are a special education teacher, I recommend using Jan’s progress-monitoring charts for tracking student progress. They are ideal for setting goals and objectives on student IEPs and align perfectly to foundational, language and vocabulary standards. For access, click here.