Special Education 695

EDSP 695: Alternative Approaches to Reading Instruction

Prerequisites: EDRD 688 or EDRD 314 and EDRD 414

Credit Hours: (3)

This course examines alternative approaches and individualized interventions for reading instruction for students who have exceptional learning needs. The complex nature of the reading process is explored. Alternative approaches for instruction in the varied reading skills are addressed and students explore how alternative approaches to instruction may supplement, extend or replace ongoing classroom programs in order to meet students’ individualized needs. Motivational, emotional, linguistic and cultural factors influencing reading and instructional planning are considered.


Detailed Description of Content of Course

This course examines alternative approaches and interventions for reading instruction for students who have exceptional learning needs. Alternative approaches for reading skills including decoding/word attack, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension are addressed and students explore how alternative approaches to instruction may supplement, extend or replace ongoing classroom programs in order to meet students individualized needs. Motivational, emotional, cognitive, linguistic, and cultural factors and their influence on reading ability will be explored. Prospective reading specialists and special educators are prepared to meet diverse academic needs of students in the area of reading instruction and individualized intervention. Major topics include:

  •  Linguistic, sociological, cultural, cognitive and psychological bases of reading
  • Issues that may influence reading progress, including motivational, emotional, cognitive and cultural differences
  • Alternative programs, approaches and interventions that address specific reading skills and literacy struggles
  • Use of alternative instruction to meet student needs within the context of the general education curriculum
  • Selection of materials, resources, and media for use in alternative reading instruction


Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

Class sessions for this course include guided discussion about readings, hands-on activities, peer collaboration, audio-visual presentations, book discussions, guest speakers, role-playing, quick writes, and applied technology assignments.


Goals and Objectives of the Course

Goals, objectives, and assignments in this class address National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) Standard 1c Professional and Pedagogical Knowledge and Skills.

The codes included below refer to the CEC Knowledge and Skill Standards and the Virginia  Department of Education teacher licensure competencies. Code for CEC Standards: CC = Common Core; GC = General Curriculum. Code for VADOE Standards: VGC = Virginia’s General Curriculum; and VPS = Virginia’s Professional Studies; VRS = Virginia’s Reading Specialist.  Also included, IRA = the Standards for Reading Professionals as articulated by the International Reading Association .

Upon completion, class participants should be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of the linguistic, sociological, cultural, cognitive, and psychological bases of the reading process and how they influence students' reading comprehension. (VGC 2b3; VPS 5; GC7K4; IRA 1.1, 1.3; VRS 6.a, 6.c)
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the motivational, emotional, and cultural issues that influence students literacy struggles. (VGC 2b3; VPS 5; CC6K1; IRA 1.1, 1.4, 4.1, 4.4; VRS 6.c)
  • Recognize how to create a learning environment that is respectful of, and responsive to, linguistic and cultural diversity and exceptional learning needs. (CC 6K1; CC 6K2; CC7S8; IRA 4.2; VRS 6.c, 6.d)
  • Recognize how to select a wide variety of literature at appropriate levels and various ways of grouping for instruction (VGC 2b3; VPS 5; IRA 2.3, 2.1; VRS 3.h, 3.i)
  • Select reading approaches that replace, supplement, or interface with ongoing classroom programs in order to accommodate varying learning styles and needs of individual students. (VGC 2b3; VPS 5; IRA 2.3; VRS 6.g)
  • Use technology , including electronic media, to do research and prepare the final products of research. (IRA 5.2)
  • Demonstrate knowledge of how to evaluate and select and  a variety of media resources for use in the classroom. (CC7S9; IRA 2.2)
  • Demonstrate knowledge of alternative approaches to working on reading fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension including the integration of art, music and theater. (VGC 2b3; VPS 5; GC6S1; IRA 4.1; VRS 3c)
  • Implement systematic instruction to teach accuracy, fluency, reading comprehension and monitoring strategies. (GC 4S14; GC4S16; IRA 1.4)
  • Demonstrate expertise in systematic spelling instruction, including awareness of the purpose and limitations of “invented spelling,” the orthographic patterns, and strategies for promoting generalization of  spelling study to writing. (VRS 4.b)


Assessment Measures

1.      Individual Child Study Intervention Reports (Key NCATE performance assessment) 

2.      Annotated Bibliography 

3.      Poster Session Reflecting Literature Review


Other Course Information



Review and Approval

1991                    New course approval

October, 2008        Reviewed by Cheri Triplett/Debbie Bays