Introduction To The Special Issue
Learning Disabilities Research & Practice
The articles of this special issue reflect the recent efforts of the REACH Institute. The U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs funded REACH for five years (1997 to 2002) to conduct programmatic research on how to provide support for students with disabilities in grades 4 through 8 within a rigorous general education curriculum. The purpose of this set of articles, then, is to explore how teachers in classrooms made up of students with academically diverse abilities can provide access for all students to the discourse knowledge they need for academic learning. The authors have special interest in students with disabilities, who particularly need mediated support for complex tasks in new curricula and who also tend to be more reticent about speaking in the classroom. All the articles explore the roles that students with disabilities are playing and what supports or impedes their access to the conversations. Finally, all authors identify the ways teachers are immersing students in "disciplinary talk" and raise questions about the kinds of support students with disabilities, in particular, need in order to build subject-matter understanding.
Woodward, John, and Catherine Cobb Morocco. 2002. "Introduction to the special issue." Learning Disabilities Research & Practice 17(3): 141-143.