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PAR: a Process for Selecting Accommodations for Reading

A guest post from Ben Johnston, Director of Marketing for Don Johnston, Incorporated. This resource sounds great! Thanks for sharing it with us.

With over 140,000 accessible books, Bookshare is a blessing for students with disabilities. This resource would have been unimaginable just ten years ago when days were spent scanning books.  But with more accessible books than ever, how do you choose a reading accommodation best suited to a student’s needs?

Two assistive technology leaders, Denise DeCoste, Ed.D., and Linda Bastiani Wilson, MA, Ed., from Montgomery County Schools in Maryland found the whole process of choosing reading accommodations to be inconsistent and subjective.  With other district staff, they evaluated hundreds of students across their district for reading accommodations annually.  They wanted a more systematic approach, so they created a process to improve the reliability and consistency of their recommendations.  After hearing from other districts with the same challenges, Denise and Linda graciously wrote their framework up as “PAR” (Protocol for Accommodations in Reading) and handed it over to us to publish. We brought it together with leveled reading passages and opened it up as a free download.

PAR helps anyone on an IEP team determine if a student can benefit from a reading accommodation, and if so, it will help guide them to choose the most suitable type of accommodation (text reader, human reader or audiobook).

The PAR manual includes several tools:

  • Protocol—guides data collection that compares independent reading, reading with a human reader and reading with a text reader
  • Reading Samples—provides eight reading passages (four narrative, four expository) and vocabulary questions for each grade level, grades 3rd through 10th
  • Quizzes—Includes comprehension quizzes for each reading passage—factual, topic-related, inferential and vocabulary
  • Multiple Formats—reading passages are available in Word, PDF and ePUB so that you can use them in your preferred text reader (like Read:OutLoud).

You can download PAR from our website where you can also watch Denise explain PAR through an on-demand webinar. PAR has only been available for a month now and is already nearing 2,000 downloads.  I hope you’ll check this new resource out!

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