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What is a Specific Learning Disability?

A specific learning disability is defined as a disorder in one or more of the basic learning processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, that may manifest in significant difficulties affecting the ability to listen, speak, read, write, spell, or do mathematics. Associated conditions may include, but are not limited to, dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia, or developmental aphasia.

A specific learning disability does not include learning problems that are primarily the result of a visual, hearing, motor, intellectual, or emotional/behavioral disability, limited English proficiency, or environmental, cultural, or economic factors.

Visual Definition of Specific Learning Disabilities
Specific Learning Disabilites
General Overview of Specific Learning Disabilities

Listen to Dr. Sheldon Horowitz from the National Center for Learning Disabilities describe what it means to have a Specific Learning Disability. 

Dr. Sheldon Horowitz (above) represents the National Center of Learning Disabilities and he is a pioneer in the field. You can learn more about him and the resources he shares HERE and HERE

In addition to the National Center for Learning Disabilities, LD Online is a fantastic resource for teachers. The link to LD Online is HERE


Would you like to learn more about Learning Disabilities? Visit the Learning Disabilities Association of America page for an easy to read overview on a variety of related topics: Learning Disabilities Association of America

Good Reading Material


Get to Know Your Students!

Here are examples of handouts that you can utilize in your classroom to learn more about how your students learn best. 

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Resources by Subject Area:


  • Newsela is FREE for teachers and contains a wide variety of reading material at various Lexile levels.

  • Read Works offers short, high interest articles and related comprehension questions. Click here to visit their website and sign in for free.  

  • K-12 Reader has a library of supplemental activities that you could use to address IEP goals in ELA. The website is

  • FREE sight word cards here:

  • Mini-Offices for ELA can be a great resource to facilitate your students' ability to work independently on a task. You can locate mini-offices for math by clicking HERE


  • The Florida Center for Reading Research remains an excellent resource to support you with remediating your students with learning disabilities during DI time. Their student center activities can be located by clicking HERE


  • Reading Rockets is an excellent resource. They have a "Classroom Strategies" page that offers a lot of helpful information. Click the logo to learn more.







A resource that you may want to check out is TARHEEL READER. This website provides you with access to hundreds of short stories that you can use in your classroom to teach the Access Point Standards. It is important that you REGISTER so that you can gain access to the full collection of stories. Directions to register on Tarheel Reader are as follows:

  1. Go to

  2. Click on the icon located at the top left corner of the page

  3. Click on "Login"

  4. Click on "Register"

  5. Enter your demographic information

  6. Enter the registration code: Literacy! (case sensitive)

Once you have created your account, you may search for books by clicking on the icon located at the top left corner. To search for any book, click on "FIND A BOOK." To search for collections and short stories, click on "COLLECTIONS".


  • TouchMath is an excellent multisensory resource for teaching mathematics to SWDs. Click here to access resources that you can use in your classroom. 

  • NCTM Illuminations offers interactive lessons and activities. Check it out by clicking HERE

  • Larson Mathematical Practices offers FREE math manipulative printables. Click HERE
     to go to their website.

  • The National Library of Virtual Manipulatives offers you free virtual manipulatives to use on your interactive board. You can select your grade level band and the math topic that you are teaching. Check it out by clicking HERE

  • Mini-Offices for Math can be a great resource to facilitate your students' ability to work independently on a task. You can locate mini-offices for math by clicking HERE.

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Please read Weekly Briefing 22592 for information on how you can access Learning Ally for your students. Click on the Learning Ally icon to learn more about this audiobook program. Learn more.

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