The Repository @ St. Cloud State

Open Access Knowledge and Scholarship

Date of Award


Culminating Project Type

Starred Paper

Degree Name

Special Education: M.S.


Special Education


School of Education

First Advisor

Marc A. Markell

Second Advisor

Joan M. Kellett

Third Advisor

Kenneth W. Kelsey

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.


Two starred papers:

"Issues in Special Education Assessments with Limited English Proficiency Students"

Over the next two decades, American society will become increasingly multiethnic and multilingual (Utley & Obiakor, 1997). Utley and Obiakor indicated the number of children living in poverty will substantially increase, as will the number of homes where children speak a primary language other than English. Students who are poor or of a minority race or language are at a greater risk of needing special education services (Renchler, 1993). There is a booming population growth of limited English proficient students (LEP) in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. In 1996, Minneapolis Public Schools served 6,613 (LEP) students in grades K-12. That number is up 3,970 from 3 years ago. St. Paul's enrollment rate is at an all time high also. During the 1996 school year, St. Paul Schools had 7, 178 LEP students which increased to 11,348 during the 1996 school year (Ouellette-Howitz, 1997).

The implementation of Public Law 94-142 in 1975 (The Education Act for All Handicapped), the Rehabilitation act of 1973, Section 504, and the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s provided the legal support for special education as well as bilingual education (Estrin, 1993). In the past decade, nine states were mandated to provide services to students with disabilities and limited English proficiency. These nine states have initiated bilingual and special education programs to meet the needs of their growing minority populations.

When there is an increase in student population, there should also be an increase in the number of students with learning disabilities. In 1992, a study was completed on the disproportionate percentages of students with Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD) in African-American, American Indian, and all groups (Minnesota Department of Children, Families and Learning, 1998). The African-American group had 12.3 %, American Indian had 9.8 %, and other groups had 6.9 % of their respective populations labeled as SLD.

"Strategies to Improve Reading Fluency and Reading Comprehension"

Reading fluency and comprehension are the single most important skills a student will learn in the beginning of their school years. CEC Today (Council for Exceptional Children, 1997) and Foorman, Fletcher, and Francis {1999) reported the causes of reading difficulties include: brain dysfunctions, genetics, poor instruction, lack of prior knowledge/experiences, lack of reading readiness, poor study skills, problems maintaining attention, and cultural differences. These areas can be overcome with early intervention and intensive reading instruction (Council for Exceptional Children, 1997, Fitzsimmons. 1996, Foorman et al., 1999; LOA Newsbriefs, 1998; Sturomski, 1997). Since all academic subjects require some type of reading, a student - would have a difficult time learning in other academic areas reading fluency and comprehension are not mastered early on in their school career.

The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development [NICHDJ (1995) studied the topic "Why Children Succeed or Fail at Reading." They found that students first lose their self-esteem and soon grow ashamed as they compare themselves to classmates who are learning the lessons easily (NICHD, 1995). Grossen (1997) suggested that the best predictor of a future r~ading disability in kindergarten or first grade is the students performance on a combination of achievement on: phonemic awareness, rapid naming of letters, numbers and objects, and print awareness. Once children fall behind in the growth of letter/word identification, it may require very intensive interventions to bring them back to a level equal to their peers (Torgessen, 1998). NICHD (1995) suggested the best way to alleviate this problem is to identify the students with learning disabilities before they reach third grade. This does not mean that older students cannot be helped, only that teaching students to read at an appropriate level becomes progressively more difficult as they get older (NICHD, 1995). The best resolution to the problem of reading failure would be to provide resources for early identification and prevention (Torgessen, 1998).

The purpose of this pape. r is to review the specific terms and identify ' ' the best teaching strategies to improve reading fluency and comprehension that are supported by research. Most of the researched strategies referred to in this paper involved students that are in special education and are, therefore, well suited to help teach students with learning disabilities. This topic was of interest because the researcher wants to use the strategies that are research-based and proven effective with learning disabled and mild to moderately mentally impaired students. References used in this research were dated in or before 1985. The University of Kansas, LD Online and Learning Disabilities Association were web sites that generated a list of references that were used. The reading and comprehension strategies needed to be backed by research to be included. Since all students learn differently, the proven strategies researched here will provide a good base of strategies to use with learning disabled and mild to moderately impaired students.

OCLC Number




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