Reading Skills

Literacy resources for people with developmental disabilities.

Table of Contents

Reading skills provide a pathway to independence. Being able to read and write opens doors to education, employment, communication, and social inclusion. Reading skills also make it easier for people with disabilities to access information and resources, make informed decisions, and advocate for their own rights and needs.

Supporting Reading Skills for People with DD

TCDD recognizes the importance of literacy and creates opportunities for Texans with disabilities to strengthen their reading and writing skills. Our literacy-focused grant projects increased confidence, community inclusion, and independence in the lives of people with developmental disabilities (DD).

The following TCDD-funded projects advanced reading and writing skills for people with DD:

Reading Skills Stories

The following stories show the impact of TCDD-funded projects on people, organizations, and communities.

Literacy United participants sit at a table together and practice writing.Advancing Reading Skills to Find Employment

In 2019, Literacy United launched the Reading for All project to develop a reading intervention program for people with DD in the Fort Worth area. This TCDD-funded program has worked with more than 150 participants, helping them expand their literacy skills and then use those skills to find employment. The project offers five small reading groups and two employment-skills groups.

One participant named Todd joined one of the Reading for All groups. Initially, he tested on a 2nd-grade reading level. Four years into the program, Todd is now testing at an 11th-grade reading level. He shared that the reading sessions have strengthened his reading ability and his enjoyment of reading. In early 2023, Todd found employment at a pet store.

Photo of Mary Meacham smiling and holding a book.Disability Book Week

April 23-29 is Disability Book Week, which invites people worldwide to become more inclusive with what they read by reading a book that features a main character with a disability.

Mary Mecham created Disability Book Week in 2021 as part of her capstone project for Texas Partners in Policymaking. Partners graduates develop capstone projects to cultivate inclusion in their communities across the state. For her project, Mecham expanded understanding and inclusion through the power of reading. Disability Book Week was an immediate success and is now recognized internationally. You can find a recommended book list, literacy resources, and ways to get involved on the Disability Book Week website.


Disability Book Week Recommended Reading

Access a recommended list of books that feature characters with disabilities. The lists include recommendations for all reading levels.

Join A Next Chapter Book Club

Next Chapter Book Club (NCBC) chapters meet across the state of Texas. Visit the Texas Advocates website to see if there is a chapter in your area. Many chapters offer clubs for adolescents and adults. There is also a wide range of reading abilities. A club member who reads at a third-grade level may be sitting next to someone who cannot read at all.  Likewise, some members are very verbal and others are not. NCBC facilitators are trained to effectively engage everyone in a meaningful and fun book club experience.

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