Functional reading skills are critical for students on the spectrum and other disabilities. Reading is something that needs to be used and even students who are not book readers can often learn single sight words that can impact their independence in their communities. We need to make sure that our students have the ability to function as independently as possible and that includes being able to read signs, grocery ads, words on the job and words on menus. The Thanksgiving Menu Math that I talked about in an earlier post is an example of a task that includes both math and some functional reading. I thought I would use my Functional Reading Task Cards as an example for IEP goals for functional reading. These cards are loosely based on the Edmark Functional Word Series, although it doesn’t contain all the words and it includes a few other words I thought were important. Essentially they are sight word multiple-choice task cards that the students can use a dry erase marker, pen, or clothespin to choose the word that matches the picture. There are also answer sheets if the students can use them instead and the multiple-choice options can be considered a word bank the students use. The idea behind them is to provide practice in reading comprehension of sight words beyond what a sight word, functional or environmental print curriculum would provide. They are intended to be used for either explicit instruction with the teacher or other staff and/ or for independent work systems.
So, let’s think about IEP goals for reading. This product focuses on comprehension but you can also use them to work on fluency of reading and comprehension together. Also remember that goals are written based on the present level of the student’s performance, so how you use them might differ from student to student. However, I wanted to just use it to talk about some possible goals and objectives and things to think about when writing them.
One of the 3 products in the bundle is Reading the Signs, focusing on reading functional signs. Some have words and some do not and they are differentiated in the instructions. Possible IEP goals might be:
Focusing on accuracy and mastery of specific signs.
Sarah will read and match the written word to 25 common signs in the environment with 90% accuracy for at least a 2 week period.
Keep in mind that I put the mastery criteria somewhat high because this is a basic skill.
If you are looking at a student working on fluency, you could write a goal like:
Sarah will read and match the written word for 25 common grocery words in 3 minutes with 95% accuracy over a 2-week period.
You could also have the student practice with these cards and then circle items in a grocery ad.
Given a grocery ad, Sarah will match pictures of grocery items to their words in the ad with 90% accuracy weekly for at least 2 weeks.
For restaurant words, you could have the student use the goals above for comprehension and / or fluency. You can also work on generalization after working on grocery words with the following goal. (These skills would be worked on after the task cards were mastered and do not require the task cards.)
When given a menu of known and unknown grocery words without pictures, Sarah will state why she could eat for a meal in that restaurant with 100% accuracy for 2 weeks with each of 3 menus in the classroom.
When going to a restaurant, Sarah will order a meal by reading the menu, determining what is available and ordering the meal independently with 100% accuracy over 5 community-based outings.
So, those are some of the goals and extensions that you might have around functional reading skills. If you are interested in the Functional Reading Bundle or any of the 3 products it contains, you can click on the pictures below. Clearly there are many ways and tools to teach functional reading in addition to these specific areas and tools. How do you teach functional reading skills in your classroom?
Until next time (when I’ll talk about how to run productive IEP meetings),