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ISBN: 978-1598573176 Cost: $50 Format: Paperback.
More Language Arts, Math, and Science for Students with Severe Disabilities (2014), edited by Diane Browder and Fred Spooner, aims to help educators keep pace with the evolving demands of teaching students with severe disabilities. The editors are experienced researchers in special education and evidence-based instruction. A new wave of federal standards for education curriculum and assessment has emerged since the previous edition of this text was published in 2006 (Language Arts, Math, and Science for Students with Severe Disabilities). The education standards for children with severe disabilities are now more congruent with general education grade-level content. Bowder and Spooner express optimism about teaching educators to use evidence-based practices, writing, "It is time to let students once again surprise us by what they can do" (p. xxiv).
Thirty-five authors contributed to this book. Many of the chapters were collaborations between special and general educators. The book has approximately 328 pages, with fourteen chapters separated into four sections. The publisher's website provides downloadable documents for educational use (www.brookespublishing.com/browder/eforms), study questions, and additional activities for instructors (www.brookespublishing.com/browder). Each chapter opens with a vignette to provide context. The vignette is followed by an overview of the relevant research literature, which provides a background for the empirically supported recommendations. Finally, the authors provide practical samples, recommendations, and considerations for implementation. Each chapter ends with a reference section providing additional resources.
There are three chapters in Part 1, "Greater Access to General Curriculum." In chapter 1, Browder and Spooner advocate for inclusion of students with severe disabilities and increasing instruction of academic skills. They provide a context for the new educational guidelines prompted by policies such as No Child Left Behind in 2001 (PL 107-110) and state adoption of the Common Core Standards (National Governors Association Center for Best Practices & Council of Chief State School Officers, 2010), identifying an increased emphasis on [End Page 419] academic instruction for students with disabilities in the United States. Instruction for students with disabilities previously emphasized functional skills. Educators are now required to teach "grade-aligned" or "standards-based" material. The authors argue, however, that the increased focus on building academic skills should not completely replace instruction of functional skills.
Chapter 2 is on the topic of embedded instruction in general education classrooms. Embedded instruction involves providing instructional trials to individual students based on empirically validated techniques. Learning trials should be based on each student's learning goals as identified in the individualized education program (IEP) and Common Core curriculum standards. An important aspect of embedded instruction is routine data collection on student performance to make data-based instructional decisions. The authors summarize the research supporting embedded instruction across a variety of age groups, subject areas, and skills. They provide a four-step process for planning and executing embedded instruction. The authors explain the importance of each step and practical considerations when implementing them. They emphasize the importance of planning for generalization and maintenance of skills. The chapter includes sample data sheets for assessing baseline performance and tracking progress.
Chapter 3 includes an overview of the Common Core Standards. Common Core standardizes grade-level curriculum goals for adopting states and was designed with students' career and college readiness in mind. The authors summarize the structure of the Common Core Standards, including tables displaying examples of the standards for different subject areas. The standards outline content requirements but do not include instructional guidelines for how to teach the content. As with previous curriculum standards, states can write alternative standards based on Common Core for students with moderate and severe disabilities. The chapter authors acknowledge the need for special educators to have professional support for incorporating these new standards and provide suggestions for the reader to explore, including websites with literature, videos, and other Common Core resources.
Part 2, "Teaching Common Core Language Arts," includes four chapters on teaching Common Core Standards in language arts. In chapter 4, which focuses...