Taos Elementary School:

Taos, NM

This research study was conducted in the special education classrooms of Ms. Steger and Ms. Blair. These classrooms contained a variety of learning styles and abilities. Block scheduling for reading instruction at the school made it difficult to create homogenous classes. The average size of a reading class was 5-9 students and included students who qualified for special services such as Specific Learning Disabled (SLD), Speech / Language Impaired (SLI), Emotionally Disturbed, and mild to severe dyslexics. Most students who qualified for Special Education services had first received instruction in the Open Court Reading Program, a research-based curriculum used in the elementary general education classes in the Taos School District. Despite having had good teaching with Open Court, these students exhibited poor response to instruction and were not learning reading and writing strategies in their classrooms. To best meet the needs of the students, Ms. Steger and Ms. Blair implemented Project Read Phonology in their Special Education program. [Both] teachers feel that this project was a successful beginning for initiating a multisensory, structured, direct teaching approach to reading and spelling. Both teachers were encouraged by the initial post-test data which showed gains for their students in reading and spelling. The multisensory component of the program and direct teaching of concepts appeared to address the various learning styles of the students as they mastered the skills needed for improvement in reading and spelling.