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What I Learned This Week: Special Education

I have absolutely loved this fall semester so far! Not just because the leaves are changing and the weather is getting cooler, though that helps, but because this is the first semester that I am taking all major courses for Special Education! I have already learned so much in my classes and in practicum and it is only week 4!

One thing that stood out to me this week came from my Teaching Reading/Language Arts to Elementary Students with Disabilities (CPSE 425) class. This week we focused on the importance of explicitly teaching students the letters of the alphabet as well as the sounds these letters make. These skills may seem obvious, but are not for many students, especially those with severe disabilities. Understanding letter names and sounds are foundational skills that all students must master with all letters of the alphabet in order to progress further in their reading and writing abilities.

In my practicum school this week, I was able to assist the teacher in teaching this skill to a few of her 2nd graders. The teacher had flashcards with various pictures on them that all started with the letter t. For example, top, table and tag. She showed the students a card and instructed them to say the word the picture represented, the first sound of the word, and then the first letter of the word. This helped the students learn the letter t along with the sound it makes in specific words. I loved being able to practice what I learned in class in my practicum setting!

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