Date of Award

Spring 5-14-2021

Document Type

Project (696 or 796 registration)

Degree Name

Master of Science in Special Education


Graduate Studies

Committee Chair

Glessner, Marci and Johnson, Shirley



Teaching children how to read is not an easy task. Students with reading difficulties often continue to struggle even as intensive and individualized instruction and curriculum are implemented with fidelity. Educators need to be well prepared in the science of reading as well as the scope of sequence of reading skills in order to be more effective in designing reading instruction (Duke & Mesmera, 2018; Moats, 2020; Washburn et al., 2011). Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling (LETRS) is one professional development course that helps address these concerns – it focuses on increasing teachers’ language knowledge based on most scientific research (Moats & Tolman, 2019). In addition to having a strong background in the teaching of reading, well-prepared educators analyze progress monitoring data accurately; they give appropriate feedback and then provide explicit instruction and opportunities to practice new concepts (Filderman & Toste, 2018).

This study, through the self-reflection of the researcher, seeks to examine the relationship between increasing teachers’ knowledge of reading instruction and the reading outcomes of students with disabilities. The researcher of this study, an interventionist at an elementary school, participated in the Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling (LETRS) professional development course with the hope to improve the reading outcomes for students with disabilities.

As the researcher participated in the LETRS course, she also taught daily, specialized, and intensive early reading instruction for at least sixty minutes during small-group instruction within the general education classroom. During this time, she focused on integrating her newly learned LETRS instructional strategies to help increase students' early literacy skills in letter names, letter sounds, phonemic awareness, and early writing. This capstone project was not structured in a scientific research design, so the findings are not meant to be interpreted in this manner.



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