Description of Contents
The objective of this resource is to help educators in the teaching of students who have a significant learning difficulty in reading and writing, or who have a disability.
For this purpose, it takes as a reference both the results of the most relevant investigations about the central topic (knowledge of reading and writing), and efficient learning practices developed with students who present this disability.
Specifically, the material starts its first chapter analyzing the diversity of learning difficulties, and then studies in depth each one of them, especially those related with the knowledge of reading and writing. Afterwards, it details the processes which make the base of all of the difficulties previously analyzed, as well as the development areas which are more affected by them. Subsequently, it suggests strategies and instructional procedures to evaluate and intervene when facing these types of students. Furthermore, effective and specific strategies and instructive processes are included, in order to be able to teach to these students. Among them, it suggests adaptations of curriculum directed towards allowing these types of students to achieve the educative objectives. Moreover, it presents adaptations regarding each of the processes in which a student can present difficulties (i.e. attention, memory, metacognition, organization, homework, social skills, etc.) and proposes the Learning Programs and Support resources from Saskatchewan as examples of good practices.
Specifically, the main contents of the book are:
- Understanding of the learning difficulties.
- Development of reading comprehension and instruction
- Instruction of writing expression
- Assessment and intervention
- General learning considerations
- Planning the transition
- Self orientation
Writing and reading comprehension are both basic skills for academic success, in such way that those students who are not competent readers demonstrate a high risk of suffering, not only learning, but also behavioral, emotional and social difficulties. All of these are risk factor related with school dropouts. When facing this kind of situations, teaching staff can be significant on the change of an academic trajectory in risk of failure, by intervening early on these difficulties, and providing explicit, intensive and exhaustive instruction. In fact, when these difficulties arise, it is essential to adapt the educative program to the strengths, necessities and characteristics of the students’ learning process. For this purpose, this material is highly useful, since it provides information about assessment, instruction, assisting technology, planned transition and self orientation for students with the aforementioned writing and reading comprehension difficulties, and disabilities.
The structure of the material is ordered and clear, with an obvious scientific base, which provides, in an organized and systematized way, the necessary information for the present day addressing of these problems. Coherently, the organization of the contents eases the comprehension of the problems, and, subsequently, the learning of strategies to resolve it. Moreover, the fact that along the text, several tables, charts and graphics are provided, turns out very useful in the comprehension of the information.
The delivery of this material to a great number of destinations results easy due to the fact that it is written in English and it is available for free on the Internet; and it results of easy access, so there is potential for a good distribution.
For all of the above, the strengths of this material to point out are: its scientific rigor, its clarity and organization, and its usefulness; for it analyses the problem, and proposes specific strategies at the disposition of the teaching staff. Each one of the aspects (analysis and intervention) would be less valuable if presented separately. In the same fashion, it is also a strong point that there is a part dedicated to the intervention, as well as specific strategies for learning adapted the difficulties in each of the implicated processes, plus another part dedicated to the transitions, and another with self orientation recommendations. All of this eases the teaching staff’s workload with these type of students, and, for this, elevates its utility, for it provides with numerous resources to address the problem in an exhaustive and wide way.
Regarding its drawbacks, it would only be the specification of the learning difficulties addressed, and its great extension. That is, this material should be complemented with many others of the same characteristic, but dedicated, at least, to the difficulties in Math and other physical disabilities. For this purpose, we would be demanding from the teaching staff a great amount of time, which in many occasions, they do not have, given the amount of tasks that are assigned to their working day.
On balance, this material is relevant for the School Safety Net Project, since there is a type of absenteeism that is manifested in a rejection and a lack of adaptation from students towards the school. Among others, the difficulties in learning, in general, and in reading and writing, in particular, are elements that relate to school failure and student discouragement, which may provoke early school leaving.