This article synthesizes previous observation studies conducted during reading with students with learning disabilities (LD) and emotional/behavioral disorders (EBD). A systematic search of all research conducted between 1975 and 2000 yielded a total of 16 studies (11 independent samples) that met all preestablished criteria. These studies yielded several findings: (a) There was substantial time allocated for reading instruction, though the time varied based on whether students were in special education or general education or both; (b) students were provided more individual and group instruction in special education; (c) the quality of reading instruction was low, overall, with excessive time allocated to waiting and limited time allocated to actual reading of text; and (d) independent seatwork and worksheets consumed large amounts of time allocated for reading. Only a small percentage of students with EBD were participants in the studies. The findings should be interpreted as generalizable primarily for students with learning disabilities. Overall concern about the quality of reading instruction was discussed, as well as future implications for professional development for teachers and instruction for students.
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