Evaluating the Effectiveness of the Down Syndrome Research Foundation’s Reading Program Within a School Setting
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The purpose of this study was to improve this researcher’s ability to teach reading, through becoming trained in a specialized reading program, specifically designed to teach students with Down syndrome to read and apply that to a particular student. A baseline assessment was developed by this researcher and was given to the student by a research assistant before the commencement of the program instruction, and again after the program was completed. A review of professional literature revealed that the idea that children with Down syndrome could be taught literacy skills is relatively new. Also, it showed there is little consensus which methods are the most effective, and there is room to add new theories and techniques to the debate. This offered support to this researcher’s study. The subject of the study was a student in the researcher’s school. The strategy used was specific instruction offered in individualized, daily sessions. Pre, and post assessments measured progress and the data gathered showed positive results in reference to literacy skill acquisition. However, the study failed to determine if the specialized strategies, or the individualized instruction, or both were the reason for the improvement. The findings of this study suggest that all children Down syndrome or not could experience significant benefit from one on one, regular and specialized reading instruction. This researcher recommends that all educators consider familiarizing themselves with special needs specific reading instruction techniques if at all possible. The positive results of this research have lead this researcher to believe that not only are the techniques used in the Down syndrome Research Foundation’s reading program effective when working with students with special needs, but they are also effective when used with students with typically developing students as well.