Here are some things to think about when talking to the IEP team about the goals:
- If your child has a learning disability, it’s important to know what exactly it is and to use the teaching methods that have been shown to work for it.
- For example, kids with dyslexia have trouble connecting sounds to letters. They can make good progress in learning to read using specific teaching methods. These help them learn to break down words into syllables, identify the sounds and know the letter combinations that make those sounds.
- The goals should be based on your child’s specific challenges. Make sure there is a reading specialist in the meeting who understands the details of what the evaluation found, and what your child’s needs are. Ideally one of the people who did the evaluation should be there.
- Goals should always aim for grade-level reading skills. If your child is in 3rd grade, their goals should be geared to 3rd grade skills, not 2nd grade skills. The services should be geared to helping them reach those goals. Ask: “What methods and services will help my child move toward grade level skills?”
- Goals don't have to all be academic. Your vision for your child's success may include social skills, encouraging positive behavior or reducing anxiety. All of these will help with schoolwork anyway, and they can be written into the IEP!
Remember that the goals should focus on grade-level skills!!
Students are expected to build their literacy skills in each grade.
How do you know what your child should be able to do at their grade level?
Click on these resources from Great Schools: (Each will open in a new tab.)
- ELA/Literacy skills by grade
- Choose your child's grade at the top, from grade 3-8
- Videos of what's expected in each grade
- Information for grades K-5, Middle School and High School
- LEAP 2025 Practice Tests
- Scroll down to Practice Tests and pick your child's grade and ELA (English Language Arts)
- These are the statewide performance assessments for Louisiana schools
Each Spring, all Louisiana schools test students in grades 3-12 to see if they are meeting the expectations for literacy and other subjects. They are called the LEAP 2025 tests. (See the Assessment page in the section above, Identifying a learning challenge.)
Sources: LDOE, Great Schools
IEP goals for reading and literacy
If your child has a literacy-related learning disability (like dyslexia) here are some tips to create effective IEP goals and supports.
- Make sure there is a reading specialist in the IEP meeting. Ideally this would be one of the people who did the evaluation. Ask about this when you first schedule the IEP meeting. There should be someone in the district who can play this role.
- Ask for specifics about your child’s reading disability. What components do they struggle with? How will that affect other components, like comprehension or writing?
- Make sure the goals address all the components.
- Ask what instructional (teaching) methods they suggest. Ask if there is research to show these methods work. (“Is this an evidence-based intervention?” “IS it data-driven”? “Is it a multisensory approach?”) For example, the Orton Gillingham method is a proven teaching strategy for kids with dyslexia. Louisiana policy does not specify a specific method, but does specify that it should be “multisensory”. This means it includes different senses: seeing text, hearing sounds, and physically moving cards or blocks into the right order.
- Make sure the goals are specific, clear and measurable.
- Look at examples of IEP goals. Read this web page from Learning Abled Kids: IEP Goals for Reading Fluency and Decoding with IEP Examples.
- The IEP is not only about reading skills. Ask if your child needs any other kind of support. They may need help with fine motor coordination that affects writing. Or they may have social or emotional needs to help them be confident and happy in the school setting.
Sources: LDOE, Great Schools