This kit uses NINE evidence-based strategies to improve reading comprehension in children with hyperlexia and ASD: priming, accessing prior knowledge, story analysis and summary, planned redundancy, cloze sentences, phrase and sentence strips, pronoun referent practice, vocabulary training, and visualizing.
- Derive meaning from what is read
- Take the perspective of characters in the story
- Comprehend the main idea
- Comprehend three story types: realistic fiction, fantasy fiction, and narrative nonfiction
Each of the six units in this kit contains two stories—one written at the first- to second-grade level and one written at the second- through fourth-grade level. There are three types of stories included in the kit:
- Realistic Fiction—Stories depict situations and characters that may be somewhat familiar to the reader.
- Fantasy—Stories gently introduce talking animals, and the reader is required to accept situations that are not real.
- Narrative Nonfiction— Factual material is embedded within a fictional narrative. The characters depict how children may record observations and organize factual information.
Each story has an illustration on every story page, an illustrated vocabulary page, and as many as 11 learning opportunities to facilitate comprehension. Because children with ASD often have difficulty formulating answers on their own or physically writing answers in the blanks, six of the activities include answers written on durable, reusable phrase and sentence strips (491 total strips). The strips provide a multiple-choice format, and the physical act of picking up the strip and placing it on the worksheet helps students focus on the task. The lesson activities are:
- Priming—The student discusses how the title gives an indication of the main idea of the story, matches phrase strips to questions, and talks about the story pictures.
- Vocabulary—The student discusses background information and what the he knows about each vocabulary word and picture.
- Definitions—The student matches words to definitions on phrase strips and expands on each definition.
- Access prior knowledge—The student associates the story topic and events with prior experiences.
- Read the story—The student reads the story. Instructor prompts are included to help the student comprehend the story (e.g., point out ideas that are inferred, summarize the main idea, talk about the relevance of particular details, and reinforce story vocabulary and content).
- Story summary—The student retells the story using sentence strips and then retells the story to someone else.
- Basic story analysis—The student talks about the main idea, setting, characters, and plot of the story and matches phrase strips to questions.
- Problem/Solution—The student asssociates his own experience to problems and solutions in the story and in real life and matches sentence strips to questions.
- Higher-level story analysis—The student answers questions that may be ambiguous and learns to infer while matching phrase strips to questions.
- Visualizing—The student draws pictures about the story.
- Pronoun referents—The student connects pronouns to the person(s) or thing(s) they refer to in sentences from the story.
A "Practice with Pronoun Referents" section and a Picture/Word Dictionary are also incuded in the book.
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- When used as a part of a multiple strategy method, there is evidence that reading comprehension is improved by explicit vocabulary instruction, comprehension monitoring, cooperative learning, use of graphic and semantic organizers, question answering, question generation, story structure, and summarization (National Reading Panel, 2000).
- Although deficits in reading comprehension are frequently reported among individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), the studies reviewed demonstrate that students with ASD can acquire reading comprehension skills (Chiang & Lin, 2007).
- Priming, cloze sentence formats, and anaphoric cueing (pronoun referents) improved comprehension in students with ASD, though anaphoric cueing supported the greatest improvement (O'Connor & Klein, 2004).
- Literacy interventions that target critical oral language and literacy skills have been well documented as areas of need among many students with ASD. SLPs can draw on this information when designing and implementing transdisciplinary literacy interventions for this growing population of students whose literacy needs are currently underserved (Lanter & Watson, 2008).
- Visual supports are believed to assist with recall and comprehension in students with ASD because many of them have strengths in visual cognitive processing (ASHA, 2006).
- Readers with autism were able to take advantage of cues to background knowledge to activate and associate the referenced event at a general level, but they were not able to use that knowledge to interpret and remember specific information. These results suggest that difficulties in discourse understanding that are experienced by high-functioning individuals with autism may stem from a difficulty in making use of relevant background knowledge to interpret ambiguities in language (Wahlberg & Magliano, 2004).
The Reading Comprehension Kit for Hyperlexia and Autism Level 2 incorporates these principles and is also based on expert professional practice.
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. (2006). Guidelines for speech-language pathologists in diagnosis, assessment, and treatment of autism spectrum disorders across the life span. Retrieved May 28, 2010, from www.asha.org/policy
Chiang, H., & Lin, Y. (2007). Reading comprehension instruction for students with autism spectrum disorders: A review of the literature. Focus on Autism & Other Developmental Disabilities, 22(4), 259-267.
Lanter, E., & Watson, L.R. (2008). Promoting literacy in students with ASD: The basics for the SLP. Language, Speech and Hearing Services in Schools, 39, 33-43.
National Reading Panel. (2000). Teaching children to read: An evidence-based assessment of the scientifi c research literature on reading and its implications for reading instruction. Retrieved May 28, 2010, from http://www.nationalreadingpanel.org
O'Connor, I., & Klein, P. (2004). Exploration of strategies for facilitating the reading comprehension of high-functioning students with autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 34(2), 115-127.
Wahlberg, T., & Magliano, J.P. (2004). The ability of high-functioning individuals with autism to comprehend written discourse. Discourse Processes, 38(1), 119-144.