Reading comprehension is such an essential skill. Being able to decode is not enough. Once a student has the ability to decode, then they move on to reading comprehension IEP goals.

Most government statistics tell us that about half of our prison population is functionally illiterate. And, there is a high comorbidity rate between dyslexia and suicide.

A woman engaging in reading comprehension with a boy in a library.

Being able to read matters.

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But, it’s also essential that the adults accurately assess the child and that they are not being asked to comprehend before they can decode. Decoding and phonemic awareness in reading comes first.

Reading Comprehension IEP Goals

The IEP goals for reading comprehension are further down in this article. But I want to make sure that parents are aware of what reading comprehension is, before they agree to goals and interventions.

If you are here, please make sure that you also read the blog posts about Inference and Working Memory, as they go hand in hand with Reading Comprehension.

I have another article on How to Improve Reading Comprehension, which is for parents who are waiting for IEP interventions to happen.

A girl is reading a book in a library, developing her reading comprehension skills.

Reading IEP Goals

Each child is different and will respond to different strategies. The devil is in the details: taking the time to get to know the child and what works for them.

Just make sure that your child’s IEP is a reflection of what they need. An unmotivated and frustrated student will likely need more direct instruction and not self-exploration (would likely goof off or daydream).

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A young girl practicing her reading comprehension skills while enjoying a book on a comfortable couch.

What is Reading Comprehension

One time when I was little, we went to NY for a vacation. There, they had Grand Union supermarkets. We didn’t have those in PA. Driving past it, I said to my parents, “What is the grand onion?”

Obviously, I could decode a bit. But I had no context to make an inference, so I could not accurately comprehend what I was reading. That’s the only example I can think of right now.

Comprehension involves not only decoding the words on the page but also actively engaging with the text to comprehend its meaning, purpose, and implications.

Reading comprehension refers to the ability to understand, interpret, and make meaning from written text.

I have a separate article: What is decoding in reading?

Effective reading comprehension requires various cognitive processes, including:

  1. Understanding vocabulary: Readers need to recognize and understand the meaning of words encountered in the text. A strong vocabulary facilitates comprehension by enabling readers to grasp the nuances of language.
  2. Making connections: Readers connect the information in the text with their prior knowledge and experiences. They may relate the text to personal experiences, other texts they have read, or broader world knowledge.
  3. Identifying main ideas and supporting details: Readers distinguish between essential information (main ideas) and supporting details within the text. They recognize the central themes or arguments presented by the author and identify the evidence or examples provided to support them.
  4. Drawing inferences: Readers infer meaning beyond the explicitly stated information in the text. They use context clues, background knowledge, and textual evidence to draw conclusions about characters, events, or themes.
  5. Summarizing: Readers synthesize the main points of the text to create a concise summary or overview. Summarizing involves identifying the most important information and distilling it into a shorter form.
  6. Analyzing text structure: Readers recognize the organizational structure of different types of texts, such as narrative, expository, or persuasive. They understand how authors use text features, such as headings, subheadings, and transitions, to convey meaning and organize information.
  7. Evaluating and critiquing: Readers assess the credibility, reliability, and quality of the information presented in the text. They consider the author’s perspective, purpose, and potential biases, and they may compare multiple sources to evaluate conflicting viewpoints.

Reading comprehension is a multifaceted skill that involves actively engaging with and critically evaluating written text to construct meaning. It is an essential component of literacy development and is crucial for success across academic subjects and in everyday life.

A woman sitting on a couch engrossed in reading a book.

IEP Goals for Reading Comprehension

  1. When given a grade-level text, STUDENT will read and demonstrate comprehension of grade-appropriate literary texts (e.g., stories, legends, poems). (Use objectives to make this specific and measurable.)
  2. The Student will use total communication (AAC device, PECS, and verbalization) to read and demonstrate comprehension of at least 12 new functional vocabulary words and related short phrases through reading and then completing a variety of vocational activities given minimal gestural cues within the larger school environment (i.e. school building, campus) in 4/5 opportunities.
  3. The student will demonstrate reading comprehension of print texts with minimum assistance given 4/5 recorded opportunities.
  4. When presented with text on his instructional level, the student will use context clues to determine the meaning of unfamiliar words in reading materials with 80% accuracy, as measured by written work samples, by the end of (IEP Date).
  5. The Student will read and verbalize short phrases pertaining to vocational activities and complete functional vocational activities throughout the larger school environment (i.e. school building, campus) in 4/5 opportunities.
  6. After reading or looking at a simple storybook, STUDENT will identify the main idea 80% of the time in 4 of 5 trials.
  7. When presented with a passage at the instructional level, STUDENT will read to confirm initial predictions with 80% accuracy in 4 of 5 trials.
  8. After reading a story, STUDENT will explain the sequence of events with 80% accuracy in four of five trials.
  9. Given minimum assistance,  the student will read a short story (up to two paragraphs) and answer rotating who, what, and where questions, why questions, and how questions in 4/5 recorded opportunities.
  10. After reading a story at the instructional level, STUDENT will identify the main idea and two supporting details with 80% accuracy in four of five trials.
  11. When presented with how, why, and what-if questions after reading a story silently, STUDENT will answer comprehension questions with 80% accuracy in four of five trials.
  12. By (date), after reading a grade-level story, the student will ask a  peer (5) questions that demonstrate understanding (e.g. “Why do you think Susan decided to leave the party?”), then answer (5) questions about the text asked by a peer in 4 of 5 trials as measured by teacher-charted records.
  13. When asked, STUDENT will identify homonyms, synonyms, and antonyms and use them appropriately in sentences with 80% accuracy in four of five trials.
  14. After reading a story, STUDENT will identify the effect of a certain action with 80% accuracy in 4 of 5 trials.
  15. The Student will match pictures to words and words to pictures for a minimum of 20 new functional vocabulary words in 4/5 recorded opportunities, given visual support and minimum assistance.
  16. After reading a short passage and answering comprehension questions, STUDENT will locate, in the text, information to support answers, 4/5 times with 90% accuracy.
  17. The student will match sentences to pictures and pictures to sentences for a minimum of 20 new functional vocabulary words in 4/5 recorded opportunities, given visual support and minimum assistance.
  18. After reading a short passage, STUDENT will use implied meaning to answer comprehension questions, 4/5 times with 80% accuracy.
  19. Provided with visual support (i.e. color coding, highlighting, etc.), the student will read short text and answer “where” structure questions with minimal gestural assistance given 4/5 opportunities.
  20. After reading various statements, STUDENT will identify fiction and nonfiction statements, 4/5 times with 90% accuracy.
  21. Given minimum assistance, the student will demonstrate reading comprehension by completing two-step written directions, which encompasses reading two sentences and answering “who, what or where” questions in 4/5 recorded opportunities.
  22. After reading various statements, STUDENT will distinguish fact from opinion, 4/5 times with 90% accuracy.
  23. Provided with a short text (maximum of five sentences), the student will read and answer structure questions to demonstrate comprehension with minimal gestural assistance given 4/5 opportunities.
  24. After being given various information, STUDENT will use text organizers to locate and categorize information in printed material, 4/5 times with 90% accuracy.
  25. The student will answer inferential questions (i.e. “How does the main character feel after the event?”) regarding print text with minimum assistance given 4/5 recorded opportunities.
  26. After reading a passage, STUDENT will recognize the figurative use of language, 4/5 times with 80% accuracy.
  27. IEP Student will increase comprehension of a variety of printed materials to ___________- as measured by
    ___________ (running records, IRI, anecdotal data, observation, performance assessment, etc.)
  28. After reading a passage, STUDENT will identify the mood of the reading selection with 80% accuracy in 4 of 5 trials.
  29. Provided with visual support (i.e. color coding, highlighting, etc.), the student will read a short text (maximum of five sentences) and answer “what” structure questions with minimal gestural assistance given 4/5 opportunities.
  30. After reading a story, STUDENT will identify details most important to the plot with 80%accuracy in 4 of 5 trials.
  31. Given visual support, the student will demonstrate comprehension of at least 12 new functional words, including vocational and safety vocabulary, as demonstrated by the following objectives with minimal gestural cues within the larger school environment (i.e. school building, campus) in 4/5 opportunities.
  32. ________ will increase ability to understand and respond to literature from various genres and geo-cultural groups to __________ as measured by _______ (State Scoring Guide, teacher survey, performance assessment, etc.)
  33. When given a reading passage, STUDENT will use questioning strategies to increase comprehension of what was read 4/5 times with 90% accuracy.
  34. After reading a passage, STUDENT will understand the passage’s tone, character, point-of-view, and theme 4/5 times with 90% accuracy.
  35. After reading a passage, STUDENT will identify the author’s purpose 4/5 times with 90% accuracy.
  36. After reading a passage, STUDENT will recognize the difference between fact and opinion 4/5 times with 90% accuracy.
  37. When given a passage, STUDENT will read and predict the outcome 4/5 times with 90% accuracy.
  38. After reading a passage, STUDENT will recognize the figurative use of language 4/5 times with 90% accuracy.
  39. After reading a passage, STUDENT will identify the cause of the situation 4/5 times with 90% accuracy.
  40. After reading a passage, STUDENT will predict the main problem 4/5 times with 90% accuracy.

As always, you can put any of the above goals into the IEP goal formula to make sure that it is relevant and measurable.

Reading comprehension IEP goal worksheet.

Please note, I also have: IEP Goals for Writing Skills

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Reading Fluency IEP Goals

Here are six example IEP goals for reading fluency:

  1. **By the end of the IEP period, when given a grade-level passage, [Student] will increase their words correct per minute (WCPM) from [current WCPM] to [desired WCPM] as measured by three consecutive oral reading fluency assessments administered every nine weeks.
  2. **Over the course of the IEP, [Student] will demonstrate improved expression and prosody while reading aloud by scoring at least [percentage]% on a rubric assessing intonation, stress, and rhythm during oral reading tasks conducted bi-weekly.
  3. **By the end of the school year, [Student] will improve their reading rate by accurately reading grade-level texts at a minimum pace of [desired words per minute] with 95% accuracy during weekly progress monitoring assessments.
  4. **Within the IEP timeline, [Student] will increase their sight word recognition and automaticity by correctly identifying [number] out of [total number] high-frequency sight words within grade-level passages during weekly one-minute timed reading assessments.
  5. **By the end of the IEP period, [Student] will demonstrate improved phrasing and chunking of text by correctly pausing at appropriate punctuation marks and reading in meaningful phrases, as evidenced by scoring at least [percentage]% on a rubric during weekly oral reading assessments.
  6. **Over the course of the IEP, [Student] will develop increased confidence and motivation in reading fluently by participating in at least [number] fluency-building activities (e.g., reader’s theater, partner reading) per week and self-assessing their progress towards fluency goals using a provided checklist.

Examples of IEP Reading Goals

Here are other areas of reading, though most of this post focuses on comprehension.

  • Decoding-By the end of the IEP period, when given a list of 40 multisyllabic words containing closed, open, consonant-vowel-e, and vowel team syllable types, the student will be able to decode 36/40 words correctly as measured by teacher records.
  • Fluency-By the end of the school year, the student will read grade-level text orally with accuracy, appropriate rate, and expression at 90 words per minute with 90% accuracy, as measured by teacher records on three consecutive occasions.
  • Finding Key Ideas and Details-By the end of the IEP period, when given a skill-appropriate passage, the student will identify the main idea and provide at least three details related to the main idea with 90% accuracy in three out of four trials.
  • Inferences– I have a whole separate post on inference.
  • Vocabulary-By the end of the IEP period, the student will use context clues and other strategies, such as consulting a dictionary, to help determine the meaning of unfamiliar words, with 80% accuracy in four out of five opportunities.

Tests to Evaluate Reading Comprehension

Remember, for IEP evaluations, schools are required to evaluate a child in every area of suspected disability. If they do not suspect it, you need to bring it to their attention. Also, once you get your evaluation results back, look up the protocols online. Many times a test is given to a child that evaluates reading skills, but not necessarily comprehension. If you disagree with your school district’s findings, read about what an IEE is and how to ask for one.

There are other parts such as fluency and decoding. You want to make sure your child has been evaluated for the proper concern. Also, some test publishers only develop assessments for certain age groups or grades.

Reading and Writing IEP Goals

Make sure your child is evaluated properly and you can always ask questions in our free chat forums.

{this post was originally published in 2013 but was edited to check links}

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