Making Reading Work: Strategies for Students with Learning Disabilities

by Angela Holstedt
Faculty advisor: Dr. Robbie Ludy

Research has shown the ability to fluently read and comprehend written information is critical to a student’s success in school. Vocabulary, recognition of words or concepts, and comprehension are directly interconnected to reading fluency. These three areas are of special concern for students with learning disabilities in reading. This presentation focuses on building and supporting a vocabulary among students and strategies to improve comprehension. The results of the Marzano Meta-Analysis (Marzano, Pickering, & Pollock, 2005) suggest that the classroom strategy with the greatest effect on student achievement in language is that of identifying similarities and differences.

This study incorporates the findings of the Marzano Meta-Analysis with those of the National Institute for Literacy to provide multiple strategies for teachers who aim to make reading a more meaningful experience for all involved. These strategies cover a combination of ways to teach words and concepts. It is focused around the idea that a growing vocabulary allows for greater comprehension, which leads to more reading experiences, and more reading experiences lead to growth in vocabulary. By using these strategies to strengthen vocabulary and comprehension, teachers can help students to build their reading fluency and experience success in other school subjects.