If you have questions about your child’s overall reading progress, ask…Parents of children with disabilities who are receiving “special education” reading
instruction need information to participate in writing the IEP (Individualized Education Program) and in working with their children at home. When speaking with your child’s teacher(s) or education specialist, use the following questions to help you gather the information you need in the boxes provided. And remember if you do not understand something, ask to have it explained thoroughly.
1. What is my child’s grade level in reading? What does that mean she can do?
2. Where does she need to improve?
(Specifically phonics, decoding, vocabulary, comprehension, or fluency)
3. Is there a difference between how well my child reads individual words and
how well she understands what she reads? If so, what can we do to improve
the weaker areas? (Specifically decoding v. comprehension)
4. Are you using a specific program to teach my child? If so, what skills does this
program teach? (The school uses Direct Instruction as their methodology but ask what specific book they are using, lesson, and grade level of book. What Reading Recovery or Intervention Reading program are they using?)
About Reading Improvement Questions Parents Can Ask…
5. If you are not using a specific program, what strategies are you using to teach my child to identify words, read smoothly and understand what he reads?
6. What kinds of things are you doing to help my child succeed in reading?
(such as provide support by a reading specialist, provide different materials).
7. What can I do at home to help my son/daughter read well?
(For example: Can you suggest workshops, reading lists, parent/child materials that
I may borrow, or website supports?)
8. How will I be notified about my child’s reading gains? Can you update me every
If you have questions about Word Recognition (Decoding), Sounds (Phonics), Vocabulary and/or Fluency in Reading, (these are the 4 of the 5 components of reading instruction) ask…
1. Has my child ever been tested for language and sound awareness? If so, how
recently and what did the testing show?
2. What is being done in the classroom to help my child avoid pausing unnecessarily at words?
3. What strategies are being taught to help my child work through difficult sounds
or words when reading?
4. What are some books, poems, nursery rhymes, word games, books, videos, audio materials, etc. that I can use at home to help my child with word recognition, sounds and/or reading aloud? (Dolce Reading lists by grade level are also useful)
5. For practicing reading at home, would you help me select material(s) that my child can read comfortably (i.e., where 90% of the words are ones my child knows)? (Children do not enjoy reading when they find it too difficult so be sure that your child's reading level and books are level appropriate. Better to too easy than too hard)
If You Have Questions about Reading Comprehension (another component of reading instruction), ask…
1. When my child is having trouble understanding what she reads, what do you do
to help her understand the material?
2. Would you show me what you are doing?
3. Can you tell me about some other activities that I can do at home to help her
understand what she reads?
4. What resources can you give me to use at home to help my child?
5. What kinds of activities can we do before and after my child has read to help her understand the information?
If you have Questions about Reading Instruction in Other Subject Areas, ask…
1. Which accommodations does my child need in core academic and special area
classes to support her reading, writing and spelling needs?
(You need to make sure that the special ways of addressing these literacy needs are specifically described in your child’s IEP.)
(You may also want to ask about the specific special education teacher your child has, their experiences and credentials, and how often they communicate and/or collaborate with your child's classroom teacher(s). Be sure they are working together on your child'a education.)2. What are my child’s other teachers doing to support and help her in light of her reading, writing and/or spelling needs?
THE SUPPORTS YOUR CHILD NEEDS MUST BE INCLUDED IN HER IEP. It is better to over provide than under provide, easier to remove unnecessary services than to add services later.