5 Tips for Creating Language Arts IEP Goals from a Speducator in the Field

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Writing effective language arts IEP goals is easier than you think. We’ve put together some wisdom from our experts in the field. Along with the following tips, check out this free IEP Goal Formula Infographic to make your IEP goal-writing a breeze:

1.  Start from the ground up: the better baseline data you collect, the better your IEP goals.

So, where do we get reliable baseline data when it comes to language arts? We want measurable and observable information about the student’s grasp of language: the way a child understands language, and the way a child expresses language (i.e. receptive and expressive language):

Use the STAR and LINKS Lesson Assessment in Receptive and Expressive Language, Spontaneous Language and Academic Skills. These are reli able measures of a student’s level of functioning.

Take advantage of Reading Curricula Probes and Assessments.

Don’t forget routines. Routine data from circle, morning meeting, and independent work is a reliable source for baseline data for reading and writing.

2.  The more often you monitor progress, the greater likelihood you’ll see success. 

    Sharpen your reporting of the student’s Progress on Goals (POGS):

  • Review your current data on lessons and routines.
  • Ask yourself the following questions about the student’s growth over time:

         ★ What reinforcers have worked?

         ★ How long did it take for the student to make progress?

         ★ What challenging behaviors prevented growth and what did that look like?

3.  Details matter—especially when you’re identifying the child’s needs and current performance.

Develop a clear and detailed Present Levels of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance (PLAAFP) statement to serve as the cornerstone of your IEP:

  • For beginning level students, describe the prerequisite skills for language arts. For example: Can the student attend to tasks? Can they scan from left to right? Is the student able to follow a visual schedule, or identify nouns?
  • For higher level students, describe the individual skills the student is lacking. What specific comprehension tasks do they still need help acquiring? What decoding abilities does the student currently have? 
  • Make sure to describe what helps them be successful. For example, the student opens the book when given the cue, “do this,” paired with a model of how to open the book.

4.  Be critical when it comes to choosing skills to target:

  • Once you’ve developed the PLAAFP statement, determine which skills need to be targeted, but don’t pick everything! Focus on the most critical aspects of skill acquisition and independence.
  • Don’t forget functional skills. Consider the social skills that are preventing the student from being successful in a group setting.
  • Focus on developing language. Make it functional for your students. What will help them at home, in the community, in their job, or with their friends?
  • Language arts skills are critical life skills. For example, think about how critical it is for your student to read and understand safety signs.

5.  The SMARTer your language arts goal, the more likely your student will make achievements in communication.

Ensure your goals follow the guidelines of SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results, Time)

  • Make sure all goals are measurable, achievable, timebound, and specific. What exactly should the student do? Is there data to support the goal?
  • Use our resources! The STAR Program Lessons have an objective stated on every lesson and the LINKS website offers an extensive IEP goal bank for teachers to use while developing goals. 
  • Check out our Example IEP Goals and Objectives for LINKS Lessons and Routines.
  • Align goals to student needs, state curriculum, and STAR/LINKS curriculum. Because the curriculum is developmentally appropriate and research-based, work smarter by having everything in alignment from the beginning!

Now that you know how to integrate language arts skills into your IEP goal-writing, what’s a fun way to help your students enjoy language arts activities? 

The upcoming Fairly Tales and Fables theme unit takes students on a journey through eight classic children’s stories. Use this free “My Book of Fairy Tales” activity to help students reach their language arts academic goals—this one goes perfectly with the language arts example in our IEP Goal Formula Infographic!