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My daughter didn’t qualify for an IEP…Can we do 504 Plan due to her reading fluency problems?

June 11th, 2009

Dear Bonnie,

I have a 16- year old sophomore (homeschooled all her life) who is very bright and compliant. However I had suspected for some time that there was some sort of processing or automaticity problem because of her reading. After testing with a local public high school a reading fluency deficiency was noted in our IEP meeting this morning. Since her score was not completely awful (47th percentile for battery A and 30 for B) they did not approve her for extended time. I was modifying for her long before she was tested. I feel that high-risk testing will be very difficult and just plain unfair to her throughout high school, since it cannot possibly give her a fair assessment without extended time. I plan to proceed with 504-assessment in the fall. Is that a waste of time? Will your Five Minutes… book be of help with this?

Thank you,

Lisa Sharpe

You do want to follow through with the 504 Plan. It is a Plan, not an assessment. Since she was evaluated and you had an IEP meeting even though she didn’t qualify for services, it is now documented that she does have fluency problems that are contributing to difficulties at school. So, you should be able to get accommodation for her regarded extended time for assignments as well as a variety of other things. I wrote an article on 504 accommodations that lists a variety of common accommodations that might be put into the plan. There are two more articles on accommodations that should be useful: 10 Quick & Easy Accommodations for ADD & LD Within the Classroom and 10 More Easy to Implement LD & ADD/ADHD Accommodations in the Classroom or at Home.

The Five Minutes to Better Reading Skills book set (teacher’s and student’s books) will help you to address her fluency problems. Sally Shawitz, M. D., author of Overcoming Dyslexia states, “I urge parents of dyslexic children [or any child] to make fluency training – repeated oral reading – their number one priority. Because it involves reinforcement rather than teaching a child a new concept, it is ideally suited for the home.”

Parents often wonder how much time fluency training takes. Dr. Cecil Mercer, a researcher from the University of Florida published his research results in 2000:

Substantial gains in reading fluency came from repeated oral reading of various sorts such as letters or words for five or six minutes a day.  The key to the success was doing the repeated oral reading over a period of time e.g. six months to twenty-three months.

When using Five Minutes to Better Reading Skills you typically see progress within a three to five times of doing it. To see and maintain the progress, you will want to do it over a six month to twenty-three month time frame. We see tremendous progress by doing it only twice a week.

Debra Wilson, author of S’Cool Moves for Learning, did a five-year independent study using Five Minutes to Better Reading Skills. She states, “The reading fluency of kids in our school district improved dramatically.”

There is a short video of me using Five Minutes to Better Reading Skills with one of my students. It has been used very effectively with all ages, even adults with dyslexia.

Hope this is helpful.

Bonnie Terry, M. Ed., BCET

3 Responses to “My daughter didn’t qualify for an IEP…Can we do 504 Plan due to her reading fluency problems?”

  1. Gemma says:

    Percentage of correct responses is not the same as percentiles. While 30% and 47% would be considered failing on a test, the 25th through 75th percentiles are within the average range.

    • bonnieterry says:

      You are absolutely correct, percentiles and percents are two different things. Percentile refers to the distribution of replies, or as Webster states, “any of the values in a series dividing the distribution of individuals in the series into 100 groups of equal frequency” Percentage is referring to the part or portion of the whole (100%).

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