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Literacy Instruction for People with Mental Retardation: Historical Highlights and Contemporary Analysis

David S. Katims
Education and Training in Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities
Vol. 35, No. 1 (March 2000), pp. 3-15
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23879702
Page Count: 13
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Literacy Instruction for People with Mental Retardation: Historical Highlights and Contemporary Analysis
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Abstract

The story of the treatment of people with mental retardation dates back to the beginning of recorded history. However, documented attempts at systematic literacy instruction, including efforts to teach reading, writing, and spelling to individuals with mental retardation, is a relatively recent phenomenon. This article begins with a brief review of historical highlights of literacy education for people with mental retardation over the last two hundred years. The second part of the article investigates the current state of literacy instruction for people with mental retardation as represented in a sample of contemporary professional textbooks in special education pertaining to descriptions of academic characteristics, assessment procedures, and instructional procedures. Movement away from highly sequenced, hierarchical, and isolated skill and practice routines toward more contextualized and holistic reading orientations for people with mental retardation is discussed.

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