IEP Goals for Reading

Making it personal: Your child’s IEP goals for reading

If you have recently learned that your child needs an IEP for reading comprehension, you probably have a lot of questions. The complex IEP process and all the forms that come with it can seem overwhelming. For example, you might wonder, “Just how much help does my child really need? Will she be able to stay in her classroom and do things with her regular classmates?” As a parent, you’ll want to learn about how IEPs work, the potential benefits, and what IEP goals for reading will be most effective for your child.

It’s important to remember that the federal laws regarding IEPs were written to include all children who need extra help in school, no matter what their ability level. The wording of the law – and on the IEP forms – covers all children who need special education, from those who are severally handicapped all the way up to those who just need a little help in a single area. However, many children who have an IEP do not require a great deal of intervention. Usually, they are doing well in most other areas of school and only require help in a single area. So, If your child has a reading comprehension IEP, in all likelihood she will continue to participate in all other areas at school with her regular classmates.

What is an IEP?

IEP stands for Individualized Education Plan. This education federal law requires that every IEP be created with input from both teaching professionals and the child’s parent or guardian. And, as a parent or guardian, you have the right to know exactly what the IEP team is trying to accomplish for your child. Team participants, the law states, “including parents” must “receive clear guidance and training” so that they can clearly understand the focus of the IEP. The law also requires that each IEP include other very specific things:

  1. A clear discussion of the child’s present level of academic achievement. After all, improvement can’t be measured unless you know just how well your child is doing in school.
  2. Goals for helping your child that can be measured to see if her IEP program is helping her. These should include goals for the whole school year as well as short-term goals. How her progress toward those goals will be measured should also be included.
  3. A clear listing of just what kinds of help your child will be receiving, as well as exactly when and where she will get that help.
  4.  A clear statement of how much your child will interact in her regular classroom. If she is only struggling with reading, for example, then she should participate in all other classroom activities.
  5. A discussion of when and how she will participate in academic achievement testing.
  6. A clear statement of how you will be kept up to date on your child’s progress.

IEP goals for reading: How to create a plan for your child

The very nature of the IEP makes it a collaborative effort that includes a child’s parents in the decision-making process. This means you will have very real input into the kinds of help your child receives and the goals the school sets for her. As a part of the IEP team, you’ll have a chance to contribute to one of the most important components of the IEP: The learning goals.

Without learning goals, the IEP simply becomes a discussion of the problem. With those goals, solutions are outlined. Understanding the kinds of reading goals that are typically written into an IEP, and knowing what makes them strong and workable, will allow you to participate in the most meaningful way.

IEP goals for reading: What skills might be included?

Like all aspects of reading mastery, reading comprehension is a broad skill that is comprised of many different, smaller skills. Don’t be surprised if your child’s teacher suggests that the problem your child is facing be addressed from many different angles.

Reading skills that might be covered in your child’s IEP can include:

  • Identifying the main idea in a paragraph or passage
  • Retelling a story, including descriptions of the characters and setting
  • Reading aloud, reading silently and even listening to a story being read
  • Answering questions about a paragraph or passage
  • Inferring the answers to questions that aren’t explicitly stated in a story
  • Reading aloud at a specific speed

IEP goals for reading: What makes good comprehension learning goals?

The best IEP goals for reading comprehension include three things. First, they are concrete. This means they very specifically state what the child will learn to do. For example, “After listening to a story, Julie will be able to answer questions about the story.” Secondly, they are measurable. This means a way to measure whether the goal has been met is specifically spelled out. “Julie will be able to answer questions correctly 80 percent of the time.” And finally, they are timely. This means that the goal will include a specific length of time during which the child will meet the measurable goal. “Julie will answer questions correctly 80 percent of the time over five consecutive learning sessions.”

Here are some other examples:

  • After listening to a third grade story read aloud, Micah will correctly identify the main idea and give two supporting details 80 percent of the time, over the course of five learning sessions.
  • Using unfamiliar reading material, Riley will read 60 words per minute correctly 75 percent of the time over three consecutive learning sessions.
  • After hearing an unfamiliar third grade text read aloud, Mia will answer “how” and “why” questions correctly 80 percent of the time during six consecutive learning sessions.

Set up for reading success!

Once your child has a IEP goals for reading that are concrete, measurable and timely, you will know that you’ve given her the best chance to overcome her reading difficulties.

IEP goals for reading: Create your plan for improvement.

Each child’s IEP will vary tremendously; it is, after all, an “individualized” plan. For example, the child’s age, grade level, and individual needs must all be taken into consideration. However, there are certain types of information that all IEPs must contain. With this in mind, below is IEP with measurable goals for reading comprehension created for a fictional child, Alexa Alvarez. Alexa is a third grader who is struggling with reading comprehension.

Looking over this form will give you a rough idea of the basic kinds of information that go into creating an IEP and will also give specific and measurable goals for a child who is struggling with reading comprehension. Keep in mind, that while federal law protects the rights of children – and their parents – enrolled in special education programs and has specific requirements for what should be included in an IEP, the actual forms used by individual states or school districts may vary.

Individualized Education Program Example  (IEP)

School Year: 2018

Section One – School, Student, and Parent/Guardian Background Information

  1. Name of School: Cherry Creek Elementary School
  2. School District: Jefferson County School District
  3. School Address: 1492 Cherry Creek Drive, Meriden, KS 66512
  4. Student’s name: Alexa Alvarez   Date of Birth: June 19, 2010   Age: 8 years
  5. Student’s address: 449 Apple Way, Meriden, KS 66512
  6. County of residence: Jefferson County
  7. Gender __ Male X Female
  8. Student Identification number: 5584  Current Grade: 3
  9. Language of greatest proficiency: English
  10. Does the student need an interpreter? __ Yes  X No
  11. Race or ethnicity (parents are not required to provide this information) __ Alaskan Native or Native American   __ Black/ not Hispanic __ White/ not Hispanic __ Hispanic  __ Pacific Islander or Asian
  12. Mother/guardian’s name: Yesinia Alvarez Street address: Same as student’s
  13. County of residence: Jefferson County
  14. Telephone number: (555)781-9993
  15. Language of greatest proficiency: English
  16. Does mother/guardian require an interpreter? __ Yes  X No
  17. Father/guardian’s name: Oscar Alvarez Street address: Same as student’s
  18. County of residence: Jefferson County
  19. Telephone number: (555)781-2978
  20. Language of greatest proficiency: English
  21. Does father/guardian require an interpreter? __ Yes  X No

Date when services were initiated: September 10, 2018

Date of initial IEP meeting: September 15, 2018

Purpose of the meeting: To establish an initial IEP, document student’s current levels of reading achievement, and create measurable goals for improving her reading comprehension.

Planned date for review of IEP: January 2019

Date when student became eligible for special services: April 2018

Date for student re-evaluation of eligibility: September 2020

Medical needs to consider: Student wears glasses for reading and has hypoglycemia which can affect her concentration levels.

Section Two – Student’s current levels of academic performance

Alexa is currently at grade level in all areas of academic performance except for reading. On standardized reading tests she scores at the second grade, third month level which is approximately one grade level below where she should ideally be. The main concern is reading comprehension. Her parents note that she has trouble with homework assignments that require reading. Her teacher notes that her struggles with reading comprehension affect her ability to keep up with the class in non-reading related lessons. She is reluctant to answer questions in class based on assigned reading material. She has trouble following the directions of lessons when she is required to read the directions by herself.

Section Three – Yearly goals for student

The goal for Alexa for this year is to improve her reading comprehension skills to the third grade level.

How will success be measured? Alexa’s progress will be measured by her scores on the district-wide standardized reading comprehension tests that are administered every three months.

Specific, short-term objectives: After six weeks of intervention services, Alex will:

  • When reading new material for the first time, read 60 words per minute with 75 percent accuracy for three tutoring sessions in a row.
  • Be presented with grade-appropriate reading material and answer questions correctly 80 percent of the time for five consecutive sessions.
  • When presented with new reading material, successfully use context clues to determine the meaning of words that are unfamiliar to her 75 percent of the time for five consecutive sessions.

Section Four – Implementation of IEP

Which special education services will be provided?

Alexa will attend sessions with the Cherry Creek Elementary School reading specialist.

  • Beginning date: September 15, 2018
  • Where: Reading room
  • How often: Twice a week, during regular classroom reading practice period
  • End date: May 20, 2018

Additional learning aids or services required

At this time the IEP team, including the student’s parents, do not feel that additional learning aids or services are needed. Alexa does well interacting in her regular classroom without extra help.

Are program modifications needed? Are additional support personnel required?

When Alexa is required to read alone for comprehension during regular class time, she will be allowed to request the help of a reading aide from the reading specialist’s department.

  • Beginning date: September 15, 2018
  • Where: In the regular classroom
  • How often: When the student needs extra help.
  • End date: May 20, 2018

Will child participate in regular classroom activities?

Other than the time spent with the reading specialist, Alexa will participate in all regular classroom activities with her classmates.

Will child participate in state and district-wide student achievement assessments?


Will child be allowed any individual modifications to these tests?

Yes. Except during the reading assessment portions of these tests, Alexa will be provided a reading aide to help her while reading the test’s instructions and informational passages.

How and when will parents be notified of child’s progress toward yearly goals? What will happen if sufficient progress is not being made?

The student’s parents will be notified in writing after she takes each standardized reading comprehension test. If sufficient progress is not being made, a new IEP meeting will be scheduled.


Parents/guardians ________________________________________ Date ________________

Teacher ___________________________________________________ Date________________

Additional IEP team members:

_______________________________________________________ Date ________________

_______________________________________________________ Date ________________