Hack Student’s Reading Comprehension with These IEP Goals

If your special-ed students struggle with reading comprehension, one way to help them is by integrating specific, measurable, and attainable goals in their IEPs. This way, you can ensure the children overcome their reading challenges and make steady progress over time.

To help you come up with an effective and actionable plan, we’ll show you how to set reading comprehension IEP goals and strategies so your students can quickly improve their reading skills. Let’s take a closer look!



Write Positive, Measurable Goals for IEPs

When you’re setting the reading IEP goals for your students, make sure you identify goals that are:

  • SMART: The goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-based.
  • Positive: Positive goals should reflect realistic progress. For example, having a goal such as “identifying synonyms with 80% accuracy” is a SMART goal. But when determining the target goal, you should consider whether that number will show an accurate improvement for the individual child. To set reasonable improvement goals, you can test the student on the same task to understand their current performance level. Then you can set specific, measurable goals more accurately.

To understand better if your goals are realistic, you can refer to the state academic standards for reading comprehension.

40 IEP reading goal examples



Identify the Types of Reading Skills

There are 6 main reading skills you should target when setting the IEP goals:


IEP students should also be able to identify and clarify unfamiliar words and their meanings. They can either use a dictionary or determine the word’s meaning by contextual clues in the text.

IEP goal example: By the end of the year, the student should be able to identify the meaning of at least 85% of words within a text using different strategies.


This reading skill consists of accurate word analysis, identifying long syllable words, and listing the different syllable types.

IEP goal example: By the end of the school year, the child should be able to decode 25/30 words correctly from a list with vowel-consonant-e, open, and closed vowel words.


Students should be able to read and comprehend different grade-level literature styles (poems, short stories, dramas) proficiently.

IEP goal example: By the end of the trimester, the student should demonstrate grade-level reading and comprehension using a standardized reading test like Test of Reading Comprehension (TORC), Developmental Reading Assessment (DRA), or the Star Reading assessment.


This skill involves reading different prose and poetry excerpts with sufficient accuracy, pace, and intonation.

IEP goal example: By the end of the school year, the child should read grade-level text at 100 words per minute with 90% accuracy and appropriate intonation.

Identifying main ideas and details

This skill shows that the student can identify the main idea of a given text and provide three key details that support this idea.

IEP goal example: By the end of the trimester, the student should be able to identify the main idea of a grade-level text and provide three details related to the idea with 85% accuracy.

Making inferences

This skill shows the student’s ability to understand information that might be implied but not directly stated in the text. The child should be able to extract evidence from the text that supports the analysis of the text’s literal and implicit meaning.

IEP goal example: By the end of the year, the student can use text-based evidence to make and support inferences with 80% accuracy.

Check how to promote reading comprehension in students with learning disabilities.

Promoting Comprehension



Come up with Strategies to Develop Reading Comprehension Skills

To accomplish the IEP goals, you can adopt these strategies in your next reading class:

  • Familiarize the student with the standard text organization. The child should be able to recognize and identify things like the book cover, titles, subtitles, paragraphs, sentences, etc.
  • Exercise summarization – the student should be able to identify and briefly summarize the text’s beginning, middle, and end.
  • Study the basics of sentence and paragraph construction.
  • Give opportunities for the children to discuss the written text and ask any questions they might have.
  • Highlight the text’s key ideas and main points.
  • Teach some basic research techniques and strategies.
  • Provide materials that will engage the students and retain their interest. Give the name of the resources and books used.
  • Encourage group exercises, so the children can take the initiative and start the discussion.
  • Draw the students’ attention to contextual and pictorial clues in the text.
  • Remain available for one-on-one discussion in case the child needs further clarification and help.

Check more effective reading practices to implement in your next class.

Other Effective Reading Practices

Track Your Students’ IEP Reading Comprehension Goals with Datability

Setting up and tracking all sorts of different IEP goals can be challenging. To advance in your IEP goal organization, you can use Datability’s services. The platform can help you set all the right IEP reading comprehension goals and track each student’s progress.

Additionally, you’ll have all the student’s data reports and analysis to understand better where the student experiences difficulties and easily share this data with parents, school administrators, and other teachers.

If you want to find out more about Datability and how the platform works, you can schedule a call with us, and we’ll answer all of your questions.

Meanwhile, you can check out our blog to learn the latest trends, news, and best practices in special ed.

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