Cracking the Code of IEP Success with High Leverage Strategies!

by | Jul 12, 2023


Do you remember the joy of solving a particularly challenging puzzle? The sense of satisfaction and triumph? In many ways, teaching students with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) can feel like solving a complex, ever-changing puzzle. Today, we’re here to talk about the missing piece to this puzzle – High Leverage Strategies.


High Leverage Strategies: The Master Key to IEP Success

High Leverage Strategies, the superheroes of special education, are a collection of effective teaching methods proven to significantly enhance student learning. These strategies are the keys that can unlock the gates of IEP success, turning those frustrating “I don’t get it” moments into triumphant “Aha!” experiences.


Let’s journey together into the world of High Leverage Strategies, where we’ll unveil their potential to transform the lives of our IEP students.


The Power of Explicit Instruction

Imagine you’re learning to drive. Wouldn’t it be easier if someone told you exactly what each lever does, demonstrated it, then guided you while you gave it a try? That’s the essence of Explicit Instruction, a structured, systematic, and effective teaching approach.


Take Mr. Johnson’s fourth-grade class, for example. He was struggling with teaching fractions to his students, especially those on IEPs. When he switched to Explicit Instruction, clearly demonstrating and explaining each step, his students not only understood the concept but began applying it to solve complex problems. Check out The Explicit Instruction book by Anita L. Archer and Charles A. Hughes for a comprehensive guide on this approach.


Phonics Instruction: Building Blocks of Reading

Remember when you were learning to read and how each letter sound was like a key to deciphering words? That’s the magic of Phonics Instruction, teaching the relationship between sounds and the letters that represent them.


Take a cue from Ms. Thompson, a second-grade teacher. She utilized phonics games and interactive activities to help her IEP students with reading difficulties. The result? Improved reading skills and enthusiastic readers! The Jolly Phonics program is an excellent resource with engaging materials to support phonics instruction.


Phonemic Awareness Instruction: Sound Matters

In the world of Phonemic Awareness Instruction, every sound counts. It’s like the base in a game of Jenga; without a strong foundation, everything topples. It involves the ability to hear and manipulate sounds in words, a fundamental step in reading development.


Ms. Parker, a first-grade teacher, created sound sorting activities and used children’s books to promote phonemic awareness in her class, which boosted the reading development of her IEP students. Check out Phonemic Awareness: Playing with Sounds to Strengthen Beginning Reading Skills by Wiley Blevins for more techniques and activities.


Fluency Instruction: The Flow of Reading

Reading fluency is like cruising down the highway with no hiccups. It’s not just about speed, but also accuracy and proper expression. Guided repeated oral reading practices can enhance students’ reading fluency, comprehension, and overall reading achievement.


Mr. Evans, a third-grade teacher, uses paired reading and encourages students to record their reading to listen for fluency and expression. It turned his IEP students into confident, fluent readers. The Reading Rockets Fluency Resources offer invaluable guidance on this.


Vocabulary Instruction: The Magic Words

Vocabulary is the key that turns the lock of comprehension. Knowing a word’s meaning can significantly improve a student’s understanding of what they’re reading. And guess what? Ms. Davis, a fifth-grade teacher, pre-teaches vocabulary using visuals and context clues, which dramatically improved her IEP students’ reading comprehension. You can follow suit with Marzano’s Six Step Process, an engaging and effective vocabulary instruction method.


Progress Monitoring: Keeping Track of Growth

Ever tried to reach a destination without a map? That’s why we have progress monitoring – it’s our roadmap to IEP success. Regular assessment of students’ academic progress can guide instruction and help students understand their own learning progress.


Mrs. Patel, a school leader, implemented a school-wide progress monitoring system, providing teachers with real-time data to adjust instruction and students with feedback on their growth. Try aimswebPlus, a research-based system for frequent progress monitoring and data-based decision-making.


Collaboration: The Cornerstone of IEP Success

Our journey isn’t a solo endeavor. Collaboration among teachers, parents, and other professionals is critical for IEP success. Remember, it takes a village to raise a child, and that village can make a world of difference for IEP students.


In conclusion, High Leverage Strategies are the master keys to cracking the code of IEP success. So, let’s step up, use these strategies, and transform our classrooms into launching pads for every IEP student’s success. We’re all in this together! Happy teaching!



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