A Resource for Teachers, Clinicians, Parents, and Students by the Brain Injury Association of New York State.
Problem: The student can read (decode) words, but does not seem to understand what he reads, especially with longer reading materials.
Academic Possibility: Inadequate decoding fluency

Step 1: Organize observations relevant to the problematic behavior/issue

  • Who is reporting the problem?
  • When does it occur? (Include time of day, activities etc).
  • Where does it occur?
  • What tends to precede the problematic behavior/issue?
  • What tends to follow the problematic behavior/issue?
  • What is the age and functioning level of the student?
  • Previous documentation/charts?

Step 2: Identify possible contributors to the problematic behavior/issue

In many cases, there are several contributors to the student’s identified problem. These contributors may interact with each other, therefore, it may be necessary to combine tests from different categories of possibilities. The existence of several interacting contributors may become obvious as you proceed through individual intervention experiments.

Inadequate decoding fluency: Some students have difficulty comprehending what they read because their word decoding is slow and labored. (See Tutorial on Reading Comprehension.)

Relevant Observations: The student may read/decode words slowly; she may make frequent decoding errors; she may frequently have to reread sentences to get all the words right.

Useful experiments for assessment and intervention:

  1. Observe and record the frequency and/or intensity of the problem behavior when a new teaching strategy or support is being implemented versus when it is not being implemented.
  2. Possible decoding-related teaching strategies or supports (See Tutorial on Reading Comprehension): Create an environment that provides decoding support for the student. Examples: Read with the student and decode all difficult words for her. Allow the student to listen to a tape recording of the text prior to or while reading.
  3. If reading comprehension improves during intervention, it may be that this student’s problem behaviors are in part a result of decoding problems. (See Tutorial on Reading Comprehension.)

Possible referrals: School psychologist or reading specialist for reading assessment; instructional support specialist for instructional strategies

A program of the Brain Injury Association of New York State, and funded by the Developmental Disabilities Planning Council.

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The Brain Injury Association of New York State
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