Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

MA Special Education


Interdisciplinary and Inclusive Education


College of Education


Kuder, Sydney J.

Committee Member 1

Accardo, Amy

Committee Member 2

Xin, Joy


Exceptional Learners, Fundations, Special Education


Reading--Phonetic method; Children with disabilities--Education


Special Education and Teaching


This study examined the effects of adding Fundations reading program to the curriculum of three fourth grade students with exceptional learning needs to see if it can improve their fluency and comprehension. The students in the study were in a self-contained Multiple Disabled classroom, and had Individualized Education Plans. Disabilities represented in the study include Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, and Other Health Impaired. This educational setting had been chosen for them because it is the environment in which the students have shown the greatest success.

Baseline data was collected prior to introduction of the first unit of Fundations Level 2. Students were given benchmark assessments to determine their instructional reading levels using the Fountas & Pinnell Benchmark Assessment System as well as the DIBELS Nonsense Word Fluency Assessment. Students again were administered these assessments again at the end of the intervention period in February, these results were then compared with participants' growth from the previous school year. In examination of the results, first of the Fountas and Pinnell benchmarks there has been growth across both years studied, although greater growth was noted in the previous school year. Showing how direct and explicit instruction can help struggling readers is of huge importance to elementary and special education professionals. Giving students instruction and then lots of practice to master these skills has shown to be successful for many students, whether they struggle with reading or not.