Sunday, October 10, 2010

Reading, Spelling, & Writing ~ Upcoming IEP Meeting? You MUST Ask These Questions!

This is a copy of a publication from the Wrights Law website that is incredibly useful for parents preparing for an upcoming IEP meeting, especially for those parents with children who struggle with reading, spelling and writing. The questions provided within this (and it's counterpart, Reading) are crucial and will allow parents to focus on the issues and ask the 'right' questions. The best thing a parent can do (other than obtain an advocate or attorney) is to educate themselves and have a list of questions or topics they feel must be addressed to their child's success. We also recommend tape recording all meetings for future reference and to ensure no misunderstandings regarding your conversation or expectations. 
It was recently pointed out to us by a former staff member that the school does not do much independent writing and what they do write, little is done towards the craft of writing (specifically editing and revising). We have not heard of a writing program that the school uses although we have heard rumors that they may be working with a writing program vendor in the future. We respectfully request that all parents push this initiative as writing skills are developed through practice and this impacts all of our students.
Again, any edits or comments that were added by us have been placed in italics as this document is originally from Wrights Law.
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. And remember if you do not understand something, ask to have it explained thoroughly.
If You Have Questions about Spelling, ask . . .
1. What impact does my child’s reading ability have on his spelling?

2. How do you blend reading, writing and repeated practice activities in the classroom to help my child become a better speller?
3. How do you decide what words my child will have for spelling?

4. Are they words my child will use in writing?
Questions Parents Can Ask About Spelling, Writing & Testing

5. What supports are used in the classroom to promote accurate spelling? Can I use these at home? If not, are there other supports that will work at home?
6. If your child seems to do well on spelling tests yet shows little improvement on spelling when he writes, ask: Can you tell me some ways I can support his transferring spelling test words into his writing?

If You Have Questions about Writing, ask

1. How is my son’s writing affected by his reading abilities?

2. How are you helping my child learn to write his own ideas more clearly?

3. How often does my child write each day?

4. What kinds of writing activities does he do?

5. Can you tell me what writing strategies you are teaching my child so that I can prompt him to use them when he writes at home?

If You Have Questions about Testing, ask

1. Will my child be able to pass the state’s End-of-Grade test in reading?

2. What are you doing to prepare her for the test?

3. What testing accommodations are available for my child?
(For example, extended time, writing in the test booklet, modified environment,
instructions read aloud, one on one)
****(If your child is allowed extended testing time, be sure to ask where he will be during this time. They SHOULD NOT be in the classroom after the regular testing time has ended - UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. This is not fair to the child nor a true indicator of their abilities).

4. If your child is not working on the same reading level as many of her
same-age peers, ask: Can you tell me how you are measuring her progress in reading to make sure that she continues to progress and does not fall further behind?

***(Be sure to question the GRADE LEVEL that your child is reading at during their instruction time. As MVRCS groups by ability, they could have an entire 'group' reading well below grade level. This level has been used against parents when the school is looking to retain a child).

All services are provided at no cost for families! For more information, please contact:
ecac (exceptional children’s assistance center)
907 Barra Row, Suites 102/103, Davidson, NC 28036
704-892-1321 • 800-962-6817 (parent info line) •
This document was created through a collaborative effort by parents, educational consultants, teachers,
professors from UNC Chapel Hill and UNC Charlotte, and ECAC Staff.
Funding has been provided by The North Carolina State Improvement Project, Public Schools of North Carolina, Exceptional Children Division

1 comment:

  1. ALL parents of kids in grades 2 and up should be asking these questions. I think it is so sad how little focus is given to spelling, and more importantly, writing in this school. Parents, push, push, and push again a writing program!
    Oh, and check the grade level your child is working at....if they are getting straight A's but are only working at a 2nd grade level (when in 4th grade), they could be retained. Ask what efforts are being done to decrease the gap in ability between your child and the other kids in their grade level. Also, how many kids are in their reading/math group (because most of these kids are all reading at about the same level). Just more food for thought.