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What are the reading levels of the materials?
Short answer: Most of the books have a 400-500 Lexile score which equates to about a 2nd-3rd grade level.
To better help you understand the reading level of the curriculum, it’s easier to explain how the books are written rather than assign a grade level to them.
Here’s the process: General education content vocabulary is used along with simple wording and a short sentence format. This reduces the cognitive load (makes it easier to understand), and since it is understandable, students learn a lot of important content. Studying our books develops vocabulary and builds background knowledge.
*Unfortunately, determining accurate grade level reading levels is not possible and therefore existing scores are not reliable. There are too many variables that are not accounted for when scoring both students and reading materials. (See Psychology Today’s article titled “Three Myths About Reading Levels”)
What if my student can't read?
Non-readers will have no problem learning this material.
Here are several components that make this material accessible to students who are not able to read.
- The lesson plans incorporate a tremendous amount of teacher-led short bursts of information immediately followed by simple questioning, so that students learn what is written on each page of the book plus more.
- Each page of the book provides visual input (photographs) that supports comprehension of the topic being discussed.
- The lesson plans include 4 different types of questioning techniques to provide the repetition needed to keep all students engaged.
- Each page in our books has a main idea in bold. There are two sets of flashcards for these words (word or picture) that can be used to keep non-readers engaged in the lesson.
What if my student can’t speak?
Here are several components that make this material accessible to students who are not able to respond verbally.
- The lesson plans include “yes” or “no” questions so students can answer using A.C. devices.
- The lesson plans include pointing questions for students to demonstrate learning.
- Each page of our units has a main idea in bold. There are two sets of flashcards for these words (word or picture) that can be programmed into the device to answer questions and stay engaged in the lesson.
What if my student can’t talk?
Use of “yes” and “no” and main idea cards (either picture or word cards) on a communication device allows students to show what they are learning.
How do you incorporate technology in this program?
Every book has opportunities for using the internet. There are multiple opportunities for students to practice the skills with each book. Students have opportunities with each book to learn how/practice searching the internet to find information or images. Students also have the option to write summaries and words related to the topic on a word processing program. Some books have activities where students search for specific things that students are looking for on the net, such as tickets, phone numbers, etc
How does learning new content from Austin & Lily materials help with comprehension?
A major component of understanding communication, whether spoken or written, is based on what one already knows about the topic. People with special needs are well behind same-aged peers on vocabulary development, general education content knowledge, and loads of incidental information. To address this deficit, special education students should cover the same topics that general education students cover at their own level. At the same time, filling in missing and under-developed understanding of a variety of topics will also build their background knowledge and enhance understanding in all areas of their life. Our curriculum is designed to fulfill this need.
What if my child with an intellectual disability has been told his/her reading level is at a 4th grade level or higher?
A student with this score likely has good decoding skills and can read a lot of words. This student is probably good at answering simple comprehension questions. But, the comprehension and analysis skills expected of a general education 4th grade student would very likely be a major challenge for a student with an ID.
Because learning new content and vocabulary is a major focus, this material will perfectly address the student’s academic needs. Teacher notes are provided for each page of the book so that the information on each page is discussed at a level that is optimal for each student. High functioning students can learn a lot of new information studying our vast library. Consider getting a license so that you have unlimited access.
So, what is a “real student experience”?
A real student experience involves having a book to study, engaging instruction, classroom discussions, assignments, presentations, activities, flashcards to study and then a test. And…..then you start on a new book. It’s never-ending. It’s stimulating and fun, and what general education students experience.
How do people with intellectual disabilities learn material?
Students need material modified to a level that is understandable, instruction that follows best practices, and repetition and engagement with the topics so that the new knowledge is filed in long-term memory and truly understood and known. We have lesson plans for each page of our books. We also have loads of worksheets at different levels for each book. This way you can select worksheets that meet the needs of your student(s).
Can these materials be used in general education classrooms?
Yes! When we first started writing these materials, they were to support Austin and Lily in general education social studies. Because Stephanie and I are both special education teachers, we also designed the materials to be used in self-contained programs as well. Special education teachers who have a license for Austin & Lily materials can use them with up to 15 students on their caseload. Supporting students in general education with appropriate materials has never been easier.
Can this be used at home?
Yes, in addition to the curriculum being used in school settings, we have a lot of parents and tutors using our materials outside of school. The teacher’s notes can be used with one or more students. The materials are fun to work with, and the teaching methods we direct you to use are engaging.
How long does it take to learn how to use the materials?
All it takes is 6 minutes for you to see how the lesson plan is organized, how to teach the material, and how to use the printable assignments. Six Minute Training
I can go on and on for days about all sorts of interesting information that I would also like you to know, but to get started, this video does the trick.
Still stuck? We’re always here for any help you need. Please get in touch!
382 E Krista Way
Tempe AZ 85284
Tel: +1 (480) 204-3515