In an effort to better support Clear Creek ISD special education students’ reading skills, Cheryl Moore, coordinator of special education student achievement, has implemented two web-based applications and a multi-sensory approach to word cards at various pilot campuses.
One of these applications is Snap and Read, which can be used with Google Chrome, iPads and more to provide access to text read aloud, which is useful for students who struggle with decoding words. Using programming like Snap and Read removes the “disabling factor” to access curriculum for those with basic reading disabilities, Moore said in a district press release.
“It also eliminates the stigmatization of requiring another person to read text aloud for students to access curriculum materials,” she said in the release.
Moore and her team have found through their visits to the pilot schools that so far, special education students have read almost 3 million words using the tool.
The other application is Reading Naturally Live, which accelerates reading achievement by combining teacher modeling—where a proficient reader narrates a passage with a less-able reader to demonstrate proper phrasing and pronunciation—with repeated reading of stories and passages and daily progress monitoring. Teachers implementing the program have seen a dramatic increase in student engagement in reading, per the release.
Snap Words, a program that uses a multi-sensory approach to acquisition of sight-word vocabulary to help students memorize high-frequency words, is also being implemented in the pilot schools. The program blends visuals, movement and storytelling, which provide multiple pathways for students to memorize these words, CCISD officials said in an email to Community Impact Newspaper.
The program is also available to students outside of special education courses. All elementary campuses have been provided two kits that contain 342 sight word cards, mini-lessons and Sight Words in sentences so students can practice reading their words in sentences. The district’s elementary bilingual campuses have also been provided supplemental kits that contain 126 high-frequency words in Spanish, per the email.
Read Naturally is being used at 22 campuses, and Snap and Read is being implemented at nine campuses. Moore said in the release that, if they continue to see student success, her team hopes to expand and solidify the use of these new tools across the ISD.
She said in an email that once she determines how many student accounts will be needed for next year, she can request the proper funds to expand these programs to the rest of the campuses. Teachers who have not yet been trained will take the online course over the summer so that implementation can begin as early as the first day of school next year.
The changes come after parents of special-needs students publicly pointed out faults in the district’s special education program, including that the district restrains and secludes students in timeout rooms. CCISD hired a consulting and research firm in response. The firm’s report noted “an overreliance on the use of restraints to manage inappropriate behaviors on some campuses.”
One of the over two dozen recommendations the firm gave was to monitor special education outcomes data to ensure academic and behavioral progress in all special-needs students. The data showed that while some areas are behind state targets, special education student achievement is improving at CCISD.