Setting IEP Goals: Reading Comprehension

How to Set Measurable, Achievable IEP Goals

Boy sitting on bed reading book
Boy sitting on bed reading book. Getty Images/Florin Prunoiu/Image Source

When a student in your class is the subject of an Individual Education Plan (IEP), you will be called upon to join a team that will write goals for her. These goals are important, as the student's performance will be measured against them for the remainder of the IEP period, and his success can determine the kinds of supports the school will provide. Below are some guidelines for writing IEP goals that measure reading comprehension.

Find more general information about IEP goal setting here.

Writing Positive, Measurable Goals for IEPs

For educators, it's important to remember that IEP goals should be SMART. That is, they should be Specific, Measurable, use Action words, Realistic, and Time-limited. Goals should also be positive. A common pitfall in today's data-driven educational climate is the creation of goals that lean heavily on quantitative results. For example, a student may have a goal to "summarize a passage or story, relating essential components with 70% accuracy." There's nothing wishy-washy about that figure; it seems like a solid, measurable goal. But what's missing is any sense of where the child stands currently. Does 70% accuracy represent a realistic improvement? By what measure is the 70% to be calculated?

Here's an example of how to set a SMART goal: Reading comprehension is the goal we are looking to set.

Once that's identified, find a tool to measure it. For this example, the Gray Silent Reading Test (GSRT) may suffice. The student should be tested with this tool prior to IEP goal setting, so that a reasonable improvement can be written into the the plan. The resultant positive goal may read, "Given the Gray Silent Reading Test, <student's name> will score at grade level by March."

Developing Reading Comprehension Skills

To meet the stated IEP goals in reading comprehension, teachers may employ a variety of strategies. Below are some suggestions:

  • Provide engaging and motivating materials to retain the student's interest. Be specific by naming the series, resources or books to be used.
  • Highlight and underline key words and ideas.
  • Teach the student about sentence and paragraph construction and how to focus on key points. Again, be very specific so that the goal is measurable.
  • Provide information and clarification about how a text or resource is organized. The child should know the features of a text including the cover, the index, subtitles, bold titles, etc.
  • Provide ample opportunities for the child to discuss written information.
  • Develop summarization skills focusing on the beginning, middle and ending key points.
  • Develop research skills and strategies.
  • Provide opportunities for group learning, especially to respond to written information.
  • Show how pictorial and context clues are used.
  • Encourage the student to ask for clarification if she becomes confused.
  • Provide one-on-one support frequently.

Once the IEP is written, it is imperative that the student, to the best of his ability, understands the expectations.

Help her track her progress, if realistic. Including students in their IEP goals is a great way to provide a pathway to success.

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