20th International Conference on Autism, Intellectual Disability & Developmental Disabilities (January, 2019). Council for Exceptional Children, Division on Autism and Developmental Disabilities (DADD). Teaching students with intellectual disability to read using Friends on the Block, a comprehensive, text-centered curriculum.
Article Published in the American Journal on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (September, 2018) This article reports the findings from a single-case design research study on the effectiveness of Friends on the Block with 8 students with intellectual disability. The citation and a link to the article are below. Allor, J. H., Gifford, D. B., Jones, F. G., Al Otaiba, S., Yovanoff, P., Ortiz, M. B., & Cheatham, J. P. (2018). The effects of a text-centered literacy curriculum for students with intellectual disability. American Journal on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, 123, 474-494. doi: 10.1352/1944-7558-123.5.474. http://aaiddjournals.org/doi/abs/10.1352/1944-7558-123.5.474
Society for the Scientific Study of Reading Conference, Brighton, United Kingdom (July 18 - 21, 2018) We enjoyed presenting our research at this excellent conference! In the photo from left to right are Stephanie Al Otaiba (author), Carlin Conner, Jill Allor (author), and Kristi Baker.
Teaching Students with Intellectual Disability to Read Using a Comprehensive Text-Centered Curriculum, Murfreesboro, TN (June, 2018; 2 Day Workshop) Thank you to the wonderful people at the Center for Dyslexia at Middle Tennessee State University for doing such a great job of hosting this sold-out event! Thank you to all who attended!
Testimonials: "My students have made so much progress just since school started in August! Some of my students would have meltdowns when it came time for reading groups. Now those same children get excited for reading time every day. They love the stories especially the ones about the baby. (Sam Gets a Baby Sister and Babies Make Choices). I'm so amazed at how well this curriculum has worked for them. Now there are more special education teachers asking me about it! Thanks for working so hard to get this program up and running!! We love it!!"
Kayla Dyer, Special Education Teacher (Participant, MTSU Workshop) Students include those with intellectual and developmental disabilities Sharon School Sharon, Tennessee
“BJ shows so much enthusiasm for Friends on the Block. If there is ever a reason that we miss his lesson, he reminds me and asks if we can do it later in the day. Both of my paras have commented on how much more reading BJ does in their group work. He is now sounding out words, when in the past he wouldn’t.
BJ has the ability to connect to each book that is presented to him. He enjoys talking about the characters and he remembers their names. He enjoys each and every game that he plays. He is great with building sentences. He has come so far with this program.
This program has done so much for me as a teacher. I am so proud to say I am a part of this reading program. I can actually say, 'I teach children how to read!' with this program. Thank you for developing this program!”
-Special Education Teacher, Research Project Participant -BJ, 10 years old, Student with Intellectual Disability
"Friends on the Block lessons and games are working great! The students are always excited to find out what kind of game we are going to be playing :)"
"I’ve been blown away by how well my student has responded to this program. I love how quickly Friends on the Block jumps right into meaningful text that my student can relate to. She is so engaged during our reading time now – I’m seeing really promising growth in such a short time. She’s been much more accurate in her sight word recognition – I think this is mostly due to the repetition of the words within the story but her accuracy is carrying over to reading the words in isolation as well. I’ve really been surprised by how well she’s been able to recall details and new vocabulary from the story (“ingredients”, “toppings”, etc.). She’s also really enjoyed the extension activities. She was in tears from laughter coming up with silly things to “not like” on her pizza. I also got good feedback from her mom on the work I sent home for extra practice. So far, I think what you guys have developed is spot on."
-Danielle Wesley, Special Education Teacher -Student with Intellectual Disability, 6 years old -Overland Park Elementary, Overland Park, Kansas