Reading Programs for Kids with Autism
Nothing is more important than finding the right approach to
teach a struggling reader.
Nothing is more difficult.
Because each child with autism has unique skills and
challenges, there can be no final consensus on any one
method. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be even a
preliminary consensus on teaching comprehension, a
deficit for many of our kids.
I have heard reading curricula dismissed with scorn as for
I have heard them praised as highly effective tools.
But nobody has ever given me a list of approaches used to
(though many have given me suggestions-thank you!).
So here’s a highly subjective, assuredly incomplete list for you
with links to more information.
Like everything I write here, this is a starting point.
Please correct, expand, or comment on it.
None of these programs specifically focus on kids with autism.
*Balanced Literacy-this approach is a framework rather a curriculum and can include many different components like shared reading, read alouds, etcetera.
*Comprehensive Literacy-also a set of goals rather than a curriculum, this gives the teacher considerable flexibility. Currently my son’s class is working on simile and metaphor.
*These top two terms are so broad as to be meaningless without further information.
Guided Reading-a specific approach to teaching reading whose essential features include small groups (4-6),
pre-reading preparation, students reading the material to themselves (w coaching), and post reading with praise, questions, and mini-lessons on reading strategy as needed.
Lindamood-Bell (LiPS, Talkies, Visualizing and Verbalizing) LiPS and Talkies address decoding problems-like reading fluency
and orthography. More on V and V below.
Read 180 (Scholastic) A reading intervention program set up in 90 minute sessions that includes an intro by the teacher, then rotates the students between small group work, reading modeling, and reading software work before the whole group does a wrap up with the teacher.
SRA Corrective Reading (McGraw-Hill)
This curriculum offers two strands, decoding and comprehension. They may be used separately or together.
For the comprehension piece, the teacher reads the material and gives the kids questions to answer.
Per district policy, the kids don’t read aloud to each other as a group.
Visualizing & Verbalizing tries to give kids both the ability to visualize what they read and the descriptors to verbalize the content. My son has been doing this-see my previous post on
Wilson Addresses decoding, encoding, fluency, and comprehension with a ten-part lesson plan for use 3-5 times a week, 1-1 or small group. Uses a “multisensory” approach including a “sound tapping” system. This method seems more focused on decoding than comprehension.