Literacy Study Group

What is it?

The Literacy Study Group (LSG) will develop a web based professional development tool to prepare special education teachers to deliver high quality reading instruction to elementary students who have emotional and behavior disorders. (EBD). This is a four year grant funded by Inistite of Education Sciences (IES). This project aims to close the literacy gap that is often experienced by EBD students.

Why is this Important?

LSG was created to address the specific needs of students with emotional behavior disorders around reading. The goal is to link research based practices with classroom practices. Research has found that 

  1. Reading Achievement of Students with EBD is low
    1. Four out of five students with EBD experience significant reading difficulties
    2. Perform lower on standardized tests
    3. Is a primary risk factor for chronic low academic achievement
  2.  Limited Access to Effective Reading Instruction
    1. Tend not to have access to core instruction because they are more likely to be in self-contained class
    2. Research has indicated that teachers in these classes provided little to no instruction in reading
  3. Students with EBD are Responsive to Effective Reading Instruction
    1. Students are responsive to core, supplemental, and individualized instruction
    2. Effective instruction impacts engagement, motivation, and self-management skills
  4. Teachers focus more attending on behavior then instruction
    1. Academic needs are often overshadowed by behavior
    2. Teachers of students with EBD typically only devote about 2 hours a day for instruction
  5. Limited pre-service processional development in reading instruction
    1. Teachers reported not feeling prepared to meet the needs of students and have received limited in service professional development
  6. The literacy needs of students with EBD are distinct
    1. Nearly 9 out of 10 public school students with EBD have language impairments that worsen over time
    2. 2 out of three students have a diagnosable language disorder

How are we doing this?

With the collaboration of experts from IRIS Educational Media (
the University of Oregon’s Center for Teaching and Learning (

and teachers from the Tacoma School district, we are designing learning modules for teachers of students with EBD. These innovative module will give teachers an option to learn evidence based practices, implement these practices into their own classrooms, and receive useful feedback from peers. Our hope is that these modules will provide much needed training to teachers across the nation so that the reading and literacy needs of all students can be met.