In Literacy Skills Development For Students with Special Learning Needs: A Strength-Based Approach authors Leslie Broun and Patricia Oelwein offer teachers a comprehensive toolkit of strategies for teaching literacy to students with special needs, including those with learning disabilities, autism/ASD, and Down syndrome.
The book introduces teachers, speech and language therapists and literacy coaches/interventionists to the Oelwein systematic whole word approach to sight word acquisition skills. In this unique and effective approach, students learn to recognize orthographic “pictures” or symbols (words) as representing a person/place/idea/movement. Students develop personalized sight word vocabularies through a three-step process of matching, selecting, and naming that engages students’ visual, kinesthetic, auditory and digital skills. This process is ideal for students with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) as well as neurotypical students with reading and communication difficulties who lack phonological awareness because it enables them to organize language for communication through the reading process.
Teachers will learn strengths-based strategies to build skills in the following areas:
The Oelwein method for the development of literacy skills is framed in the following key principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL):
Grounded in UDL, the strategies presented in the book are accessible, useful and relevant, making them effective for all kinds of learners.