The California School Psychologist provides valuable information to promote reading success among students.
The first article (Christo & Davis, 2008), shares the results of a study that examined the relationships between the cognitive processes of rapid naming, phonological processing and various literacy skills, using data from 65 students in grades two through five. This study used multiple measures, including; phonological processing, rapid naming, reading comprehension, isolated and nonsense word reading, and spelling. Regression analyses revealed that rapid naming was a stronger predictor of word reading, reading comprehension and spelling, relative to phonological processing. Decoding skills were found to account for the largest amount of variance in word reading and spelling. The authors discuss the importance of considering these results when assessing and designing interventions with reading disabled children. Based on the results of this study, the authors emphasize that psychologists should assess underlying processes of rapid naming and phonological processing to better understand the student's skills, and inform intervention strategies.
A guide for school psychologists to use in the consultation process when working with teachers to address students' reading difficulties is provided in the second article (Lilles, Griffiths, Lee, Cardenas, Chacko, & Jimerson, 2008). This article details important facets of instructional consultation and important considerations to take into account including: a) entering the consultation relationship, b) effectively identifying the problem and underlying cause, c) identification of the appropriate intervention, monitoring implementation integrity, and d) the termination of the consultation relationship. This article also provides information regarding possible effective intervention strategies, resources to obtain additional information, and a valuable checklist for school psychologists. The authors encourage school psychologists to use a consultation process to contribute resources and support to teachers to improve student reading ability, and prevent negative outcomes associated with poor reading skills.
The third article (Huang, Nelson, & Nelson, 2008) reports the results of a study designed to investigate increases in reading fluency following a research-based tutoring method using repeated reading, which was implemented with two second-grade students. This study involved two high school students who trained to be the tutors to provide the directed repeated reading experience. In addition, one parent and one older sibling were trained to repeat the tutoring process at night. The author also monitored treatment integrity through observation and tutor contact. The results indicate that the six, 30-minute sessions per week resulted in significant increases in sight word vocabulary, fluency and comprehension. Using this study as an exemplar, the authors emphasize that school psychologists should provide leadership in developing intervention strategies that are research-based and also gather data to examine student outcomes, and treatment integrity to enhance the success of all students. This study provides an excellent example of efforts to bring science to practice to benefit students.
Implications of the 2004 Reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA, 2004) as it relates to service delivery is discussed in the fourth article (Powers, Hagans, & Busse, 2008). Specifically, the article emphasizes that there is an opportunity to shift the classification of Learning Disabilities (LD) from a "refer-test-place" to a Response-to-Intervention (RtI) service delivery model. This article includes the results of survey data collected from 249 school psychologists across California, highlighting the need to modify school psychology pre-service training and ongoing professional development to enable school psychologists to become effective instructional consultants. The authors advocate and delineate instructional consultation in a tiered assessment and intervention model. This article offers a discussion of instructional consultation skills and knowledge to promote the learning outcomes of students with achievement deficits, including students with disabilities. The authors emphasize that school psychologists working within the contemporary RtI service delivery model need to be well prepared to collect systematic, instructionally relevant assessment data and consult with teachers on how to apply these data to design effective interventions that are appropriate for varying levels of individual need.
The fifth article (Sansosti & Noltemeyer, 2008) also focuses on implementing a Response-to-Intervention (RtI) model, with particular emphasis on reviewing educational change conceptualizations and research, and highlighting factors that may facilitate or impede current educational reform. This article discusses (a) RtI as a current educational reform initiative, (b) Fullan's (2007) theoretical model as a framework through which to present information related to educational change, and (c) offers suggestions regarding how such educational change literature can inform and improve the implementation and future sustainability of RtI in schools. The authors emphasize the importance of the first year of implementation and the importance of devoting sufficient time and resources to properly plan RtI initiatives at all three phases of the change process: adoption, implementation, and institutionalization. The authors also offer several practical recommendations for planning effectively for RtI initiatives, highlighting the importance of: a) supportive leadership, b) collegiality, c) affirmative teacher beliefs and knowledge, and d) sufficient capacity of both systems and individuals.
The use of a Response-to-Intervention (RtI) approach for identifying children with possible learning disabilities for special education is the focus of the sixth article (Restori, Gresham, & Cook, 2008). The authors note that federal law no longer mandates the need for a discrepancy for determining an SLD. This article: (a) provides a brief review of the discrepancy model, (b) provides a compendium of the issues related to the IQ-discrepancy model for school psychology practitioners in California, (c) reviews the issues related to the use of intelligence tests within an RtI model, and (d) provides a rationale for applying RtI across school districts in California. The authors advocate that the data resulting from the application of RtI methods will allow school psychologists and teachers to focus on issues related to intervention, rather than issues related to classification and eligibility.
The seventh article (Fisher, Komosa-Hawkins, Saldana, Thomas, Hsiao, Rauld, & Miller, 2008) offers valuable information pertaining to the education of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, and questioning (LGBTQ) students. The article discusses how LGBTQ students are at risk for developing academic, social, and emotional problems due to harassment and bullying experienced at school and also notes that few schools implement policies and programs to support LGBTQ students. The authors emphasize that school psychologists are in a unique position to help schools be responsive to the needs of LGBTQ students. Emphasizing a public health framework that focuses on primary, secondary, and tertiary levels of prevention and intervention for LGBTQ students, the authors encourage school psychologists to implement strategies and make recommendations for school-wide changes to promote positive development for all students. Specific recommendations for school psychologists include; educating administrators about relevant laws and policies, conducting staff development activities, facilitating school-wide diversity trainings, serving as the advisor of a gay-straight alliance, conducting group and individual counseling, and evaluating outcomes.
How to address the needs of children with autism in the school context is the topic of the eighth article (Skokut, Robinson, Openden, & Jimerson, 2008). This article discusses scientifically based and promising interventions that may be used to promote the social and cognitive competence of children with autism. Brief descriptions and succinct reviews of outcome data are provided for: a) Discrete Trial Training (DTT), b) Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT), c) Learning Experiences: An Alternative Program for Preschoolers and Parents (LEAP), d) The Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS), e) Incidental teaching, and f) The Treatment and Education of Autistic and Related Communication Handicapped Children (TEACCH). The authors aim to bring science to practice by providing school psychologists and other educational professionals with a primer for selecting evidence-based approaches to address the needs of children with autism. The authors emphasize that given the diverse array of challenges faced by children with autism, empirically based intervention strategies should be tailored to the individual child's specific needs and goals.
This collection of articles provides valuable information that may be used by educational professionals working with children, families, and colleagues to enhance the academic success and promote positive developmental trajectories of students. The authors provide valuable information and insights that advances our understanding of numerous important topics. The California School Psychologist contributes important information regarding promoting the social and cognitive competence of all students.
Christo, C. & Davis, J. (2008). Rapid naming and phonological processing as predictors of reading and spelling. The California School Psychologist, 13, pp 7-18.
Fisher, E. S., Komosa-Hawkins, K., Saldana, E., Thomas, G. M., Hsiao, C., Rauld, M. & Miller, D. (2008). Promoting school success for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, and questioning students: Primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention and intervention strategies. The California School Psychologist, 13, pp 19-32.
Huang, L. V., Nelson, R. B., and Nelson, D. (2008). Increasing reading fluency through student-directed repeated reading and feedback. The California School Psychologist, 13, pp 33-40.
Lilles E., Griffiths, A., Lee, A., Cardenas, S., Chacko, Y., & Jimerson, S. R. (2008). A consultation model to facilitate reading success. The California School Psychologist, 13, 41-53.
Powers, K., Hagans, K., & Busse, R. T. (2008). School psychologists as instructional consultants in a response-to-intervention model. The California School Psychologist, 13, pp 55-66.
Restori, A. F., Gresham, F. M., & Cook, C. R. (2008). Old habits die hard: Past and current issues pertaining to response-to-intervention. The California School Psychologist, 13, pp 67-79.
Sansosti, F. J. & Noltemeyer, A. (2008). Viewing response-to-intervention through an educational change paradigm: What can we learn? The California School Psychologist, 13, pp 79-91.
Skokut, M., Robinson, S., Openden, D., & Jimerson, S. R. (2008). Promoting the social and cognitive competence of children with autism: Interventions at school. The California School Psychologist, 13, pp 93-107.
Shane R. Jimerson University of California, Santa Barbara
Address correspondence and reprint requests to Shane R. Jimerson; University of California, Santa Barbara; Department of Counseling, Clinical, and School Psychology; Center for School-Based Youth Development; Phelps Hall; Santa Barbara, CA 93106-9490 or e-mail Jimerson@education.ucsb.edu