Scaffolds for learning to read in an inclusion classroom

Elaine R. Silliman, Ruth Bahr, Jill Beasman, Louise C. Wilkinson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


This article describes a study on the scaffolding of learning to read in a primary-level, continuous-progress, inclusion classroom that stressed a critical thinking curriculum and employed a collaborative teaching model. Two emergent reading groups were the focus of study - one group that was taught by a general educator and the other by a special educator. The primary purposes were to discern the teachers' discourse patterns in order to define whether scaffolding sequences were more directive or more supportive and the degree to which these sequences represented differentiated instruction for children with a language learning disability (LLD). Two students with an LLD and two younger, typically developing peers were videotaped in their emergent reading groups during an 8-week period. The distribution, types, and functions of teacher scaffolding sequences were examined. Both team members primarily used directive scaffolding sequences, suggesting that the assistance provided to children emphasized only direct instruction (skill learning) and not analytical thinking concerning phonemegrapheme relationships (strategy learning). Distribution of scaffolding sequence types directed to the four students indicated that the two children with an LLD were receiving reading instruction that was undifferentiated from the two typically developing, younger children. In order for children with an LLD to benefit from inclusion, explicit, systematic, and intensive instruction in phonological awareness and spelling-sound relationships should be implemented within the context of multilevel instruction that balances skill- and strategy-based learning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)265-279
Number of pages15
JournalLanguage, speech, and hearing services in schools
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Inclusion
  • Language learning disabilities
  • Phonological awareness
  • Scaffolding
  • Word recognition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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