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How to Accommodate Students in the General Education Classroom {Reading}

As a resource room teacher, I only get 30-45 minutes with some of my students. They spend a whole lot of time in the general education classroom. Meaning, they need accommodations! Accommodations can help them to be successful with grade level material.

Below, you'll find reading accommodations that can be used in the general education classroom or in your resource room.

Graphic Organizers 

Graphic Organizers are a perfect tool for differentiation and accommodation in the general education classroom. Students who are well trained in knowing what to do with a graphic organizer can often apply it to a passage at their independent reading level. I have found that my kids aren't always writing in complete sentences, but they are able to get ideas on paper! 

Use a Screen Reader

It's 2020, people! It would be fabulous if all of our kids could read each and every thing in front of them. But let's be honest, that isn't realistic. If you are sharing a document or website with your students, use a screen reader. You can download them for free as a Chrome Extension! 

Read Questions Orally

I like to read questions aloud to my kids before we get started reading. It helps give them a purpose for reading and it helps them find a few key ideas or words to pay attention to. Reading the questions aloud won't solve all of a student's reading difficulties, but it will help them focus as they read.

I like this accommodation for two reasons. First, it is easy to transition from YOU previewing the questions to THEM previewing the questions. It also helps them get in the habit of practicing a test tasking strategy that many teachers preach to our students to try! 

Number Paragraphs and Questions

In today's test-taking world of education, numbering paragraphs is often something that we see done on high stakes tests. I like to follow suit and help my students by writing the paragraph number under the question.

It helps my kids in two ways.

#1 They can easily chunk the test by reading a paragraph or two and stop to answer the question(s).
#2 They aren't hunting and sorting all over the passage for the answers.

We know reading and testing is difficult for some of our kids, let's set them up for a little bit of success! 

Rephrase the Question

Guys, we talk a lot. People writing test questions talk a lot. Everything handed to our kids is text heavy. Help them by rephrasing the question. See if you can make it simpler. Try to slllloooooow it down. See if that helps them to understand WHAT they are supposed to be doing. 

Let Them Draw

Reading is tough. Many of our students don't visualize or know what to do inside their head as we read aloud, much less when we complicate it more by having them do the reading.

I like to have my kids draw what is happening in our reading stories each week. Some texts lend themselves to a picture better than others, but it's a good practice to help them visualize and make the reading come to life.

Provide Sentence Stems

I like to have my students use sentence stems to help them get their answers started. Most of my kids are able to answer open-ended questions independently, but only if they have a sentence stem. We use this cheat sheet all year long. I shared more about these sentence stems in this blog post! 

Preteach Vocabulary Words

Many students with disabilities have difficulty with vocabulary. Between low verbal comprehension scores or lack of complex vocabulary at home, they need help understanding key vocabulary words.

I like to help my kids better understand vocabulary with pictures, examples, stories, or synonyms. Even the words hidden inside questions can make it difficult for students to answer. Break it down and try to help them understand what they're reading or being asked to do.

What accommodations do you find to be the most helpful?

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