The "RAP" on Reading Comprehension

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Teaching Exceptional Children





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Reading problems are one of the most frequent reasons students are referred for special education services and the disparity between students with reading difficulties and those who read successfully appears to be increasing. As a result, there is now an emphasis on early intervention programs such as RTI. In many cases, early intervention in reading instruction focuses primarily on foundational reading skills, such as decoding. However, with much of the focus on fluency, reading comprehension may be overlooked. How can special educators implement an effective reading comprehension strategy with young students who exhibit reading comprehension problems? The authors taught the RAP strategy to Gary, Betty, and Jean, third-graders with reading comprehension problems. RAP which stands for Read a paragraph, Ask yourself, "What was the main idea and two details?" and Put information into your own words, is a simple strategy that is easily incorporated into existing curriculum without taking time away from critical content instruction. This three-step strategy can improve the reading comprehension of students with and without disabilities and is extremely flexible. It requires students to engage in reading materials through questioning and paraphrasing to increase their comprehension of the material.