Electronic Journal for Inclusive Education


Reading is the cornerstone of instruction for all students regardless of their ability level because it sets the foundation for future progress and success in virtually all other facets of life (Kliewer & Landis, 1999). Recent legislation and research has suggested that we should be more successful in teaching every student to read (Brower, Wakeman, Spooner, Ahlgrim-Delzell, & Algozzine, 2006).

There are various strategies that educators use to teach reading in a typical classroom setting. However, these strategies are not always the same in special education classrooms, especially in terms of teaching students with significant cognitive disabilities. Browder et al. (2006) defined students with significant cognitive disabilities as students classified as having moderate or severe mental retardation, who may have additional disabilities such as autism or physical disabilities. Individuals with severe cognitive disabilities may use nonlinguistic communication … and exhibit learning characteristics that require greater time to learn and intensive forms of instructional support (p.392).