Case studies of resource room reading instruction for middle school students with high-incidence disabilities
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The middle school special education resource room may provide the last opportunity for students with high-incidence disabilities who have reading goals and objectives on their IEPs to acquire basic reading skills. Fortunately, a body of literature exists that attests to effective interventions and instructional components for adolescents who struggle with reading. An analysis of the observational studies of reading instruction for students in elementary special education resource rooms has shown little evidence of the influence of what are known to be effective reading interventions for students with high-incidence disabilities. However, a similar convergence of evidence regarding the utilization of reading research in middle school resource rooms is lacking. This multiple case study examined the use of evidence based reading interventions (decoding, fluency, vocabulary, and reading comprehension) and effective instructional components (advance organization, practice, corrective feedback, grouping, and reduction of task difficulty) in middle school special education resource rooms. A replication logic was employed to identify and select four teachers. Teachers were viii selected on the basis of special education certification, years of experience, service delivery setting (i.e., resource room), student disabilities, and language of instruction. The following qualitative methods of data collection were utilized: direct observation, formal interviews, and review of documents. Qualitative data analysis procedures were employed to obtain a description of reading instruction. Findings indicated that teachers implemented decoding and fluency interventions, In contrast, vocabulary interventions were limited to verbal association level routines, and only one teacher implemented a reading comprehension intervention. Most of the time allotted to comprehension was spent in assessment rather than instruction. Findings also indicated that the teachers provided decoding and fluency practice with corrective feedback but were less consistent in their use of advance organization. The teachers provided limited amounts of instruction in alternative grouping formats. Based on the needs of middle school students for vocabulary development and reading comprehension strategy instruction, there is a need to identify the reasons teachers do not use of evidence based vocabulary and reading comprehension interventions and to identify effective ways to help teachers implement vocabulary and comprehension interventions.