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Literacy in the Inclusive Classroom

With thoughtful planning, reading and writing instruction can be adapted to meet the needs of every student in the classroom. Get ideas to help you design an inclusive language arts program, including tips about your classroom library, integrating technology, visual supports, read aloud strategies, teaching comprehension, and more.

The basics

Inclusive Literacy Learning
With careful and creative planning, literacy instruction can be adapted to meet the needs of every student in the classroom. Five ways teachers can provide a literacy education for all learners are offered here.

5 Ways to Create an Inclusive Reading and Writing Program
Get practical tips to help you design your inclusive language arts program, including ideas about your classroom library, integrating technology, using graphic organizers and other basic tools, and giving students choice.

Do You See What I Mean? Visual Literacy Supports for Students with Disabilities
Many learners with disabilities are visual learners and are best able to understand and remember content when they can see it represented in some way; in other words, they need to “see what we mean.” Three visual supports helpful for teaching and supporting literacy development are described here: picture books, graphic notes, and story kits.

20 Ways to Adapt the Read Aloud in the Inclusive Classroom
Discover 20 ideas for including all students in classroom read alouds. These suggestions may work for students who need to fidget during whole-class instruction, those who need materials to keep focused, and those who require alternative ways of demonstrating attention, engagement, and interest.

How to Implement Shared Reading in an Inclusive Classroom (opens in a new window)
Shared reading is an instructional activity in which students read with the teacher. The goals of shared reading include reinforcing letter-sound correspondences and concepts about print, exposing students to a variety of texts, prompting high-order thinking and rich conversations, and helping students perceive themselves as readers. (From LD@School)

Recognizing Different Types of Readers with ASD
Students with ASD can have strengths or challenges in either word recognition and language comprehension that will impact reading comprehension. It is important to assess, monitor, and track the word recognition or decoding skills and language comprehension skills as you evaluate reading comprehension.

Supporting the Literacy Development of Students with Autism
Some students identified with autism can participate successfully in whole-class rich literacy experiences, with the right kind of support. Learn about strategies for designing lessons that are appropriate, engaging, and challenging for every learner in the inclusive classroom.

Tell Me About the Story: Comprehension Strategies for Students with Autism
Reading comprehension is often a concern for the teachers of students with autism. The comprehension strategies described in this article may help some students gain comprehension skills and improve their ability to read and communicate about written material.

Reading Literacy and Comprehension Curriculum for Students on the Autism Spectrum
Find examples of research-based curriculum and programs that can be used to teach literacy and reading comprehension to students on the autism spectrum.

Including Literacy Instruction in Daily Schedules for Students with Autism
Embedding literacy training opportunities with schedule training represents a strategy that may have surprising and positive outcomes for some students with autism. Schedules contain a small set of vocabulary for sight word recognition and offer natural opportunities for repetitive exposure to this core set of words.


The clips below with reading expert Linda Farrell are part of the Reading Rockets special series, Looking at Reading Interventions. Watch additional interviews with Ms. Farrell as well as one-on-one tutoring with K-3 students.

How we can help struggling readers

Every student can become a better reader

How do you teach children with dyslexia to read?

The clips below are from our video interview with autism expert Dr. Sylvia Diehl.

Executive functioning and reading comprehension

Adapting teaching strategies for students with learning challenges

Adapting the summarizing strategy for students with ASD

More great resources on literacy and inclusion

The Inclusion Lab: Brookes Publishing (opens in a new window)