“Meet their need and they will read.”

We’re glad you found us! A successful reading program must meet three requirements: it has to engage the learner, work well for the brain, and meet school requirements for literacy progress.

Our Special Reads program does all three.

Since 2000, we have helped schools and families teach reading to learners with Down syndrome, autism, and other delays.


Currently implemented in 31 countries around the world, our Down syndrome reading program gives learners of all ages a jump-start in learning to read. Our literacy program and strategies work two ways: to engage both the learner and the brain.

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We offer FREE SHIPPING within the United States, and we accept school Purchase Orders. 

¡NUEVO! ♥ Special Reads en Español. Scroll down!


“Some of my (Special Ed) students have surpassed Gen Ed classes!”

“I’m amazed that my students picked up decoding naturally after starting your Emergent Bundle! My principal and Special Ed director are also highly impressed…the inclusion teacher told me some of my students (self-contained life skills) have surpassed hers in Gen Ed classes in reading!” –C.M., TX


Our 3-in-1 Complete Down Syndrome Reading Program includes materials and instructions for 3 reading levels: Emergent/Pre-Primer, Primer, and First Grade.

Our expanded Complete Down Syndrome Reading Program now includes reading books, flash cards, a comprehension evaluation series, and full instructions for teaching Emergent/Pre-Primer, Primer, and First Grade Levels. Reading levels are not age-related, but rather  indicate mastery of reading level. Ideal for educators and homeschoolers.

  • 7 Glossy Picture Books
  • 10 High-Frequency Books covering all 3 levels
  • 3 Sets of High-Frequency Flash Cards
  • “Whole Child Reading” book
  • Parent & Educator Guide for Teaching and Testing
  • Quick-Start Guide
  • Comprehension Evaluation Series: Pre-Primer/Emergent, Primer, and First Grade Levels

You can confidently lead your learner from zero to second-grade reading readiness with this Complete Program.


Our Emergent Reading Level for Down syndrome now includes a Comprehension Evaluation book, ideal for educators and homeschoolers.

No matter the age of your beginning reader with Down syndrome, this newly expanded Emergent Reader Bundle will get a future reader started! Whether your learner can read just a few words or a few dozen words, this is the place to start.

  • 5 Glossy Picture Books
  • 3 High-Frequency Word Books
  • 1 Set High-Frequency Flash Cards
  • “Whole Child Reading” book
  • Parent & Educator’s Guide for Teaching and Testing
  • Quick Start Guide
  • NEW Comprehension Evaluation Book, Emergent/Pre-Primer Level


Our Primer Level Bundle now includes a Comprehension Evaluation book, ideal for educators and homeschoolers.

Ready to move on to the next level? Regardless of age, this expanded Primer Reading Bundle is the next step toward independent reading for individuals with Down syndrome! All books progress sequentially. Follow the link to look inside the books to determine if this level is right for your learner; bundle names are not age-related, but related to reading proficiency.

  • 1 Glossy Picture Book
  • 4 Primer Level High-Frequency Word Books
  • “Whole Child Reading” book
  • Parent & Educator’s Guide for Teaching and Testing
  • Quick-Start Guide
  • 1 Set High-Frequency Flash Cards
  • NEW Comprehension Evaluation Book, Primer Level

“My students made huge progress quickly!”

“I purchased your Emergent Reader Bundle, and my students made huge progress quickly…Since using your materials, they suddenly started blending and decoding…The parents are thrilled! Some of them cried when they first heard their child read. Thank you!” -C.M., Texas

“We love and adore your program…it truly, truly works!”

Thank you thank you!!! My first grader (with Down syndrome) received an Accelerated Reader award usually given to second-to-fourth graders. I cried while I filmed him walking down the aisle while the students chanted his name…Natalie, your program made this possible! I used your program the summer before Kinder, and he went into Kinder reading…We absolutely love and adore your program, and it truly, truly works!” -J.K., Florida


Natalie Hale - Awards

Founder, Special Reads for Special Needs
  • National/International Speaker
    • -NDSC
    • -NADS
    • -NDSS
  • Award Winning Author
  • Reading Educator & Consultant
  • Reading Program Developer

Energize and inspire your audience at your next conference, parent or educator group with Natalie’s practical and proven methods for teaching reading to learners with Down syndrome!

Whole Child Reading: We go in through the Heart, and teach to the Brain!

The Second Edition is now available! This updated, expanded edition is your essential Quick-Start Teaching Guide for reading. Reader-friendly, short, and to the point, it was written for today’s uber-busy parents and educators. This is a book that belongs on every parent’s kitchen table and every primary educator’s desk, well-worn and bookmarked.

“This book changed my life!…I would recommend it for any parent of a child with DS!” -Amazon review

“I’m literally blown away and cannot believe this book isn’t mandatory reading for teachers who work with children with special needs.” – Amazon review

What Customers Say…

Children Photos

“It is a joy to watch our students learn new words and become more interested in books!” 

“We have been using your Special Reads for Special Needs program at Notre Dame School since November 2016 and we LOVE this program! It has been a joy to watch our students learn new words and become more interested in books! Before this program, one non-verbal student was unable to read simple words, and now she is reading not just words but BOOKS! We love how the pictures are so vibrant in color, and they really are self-explanatory due to how specific the graphics are. Thank you for creating such an amazing resource that can allow ALL students to learn how to read.”  – C., K., & M., Canada

“My son had NO interest in reading, but now he’s getting it!”

“I just purchased “Whole Child Reading.”  I also  have “Down Syndrome Parenting 101” ( love it!). We have your Emergent and Primer Reading Bundles.  My son (7, Down syndrome) has had NO interest in reading but is responding well to your program. We started it a little over a month ago and he’s getting it! Thank you so much.” –J.C., Arkansas

“I’m a special ed teacher, and your book Whole Child Reading is the best thing I’ve read in a very long time!”

“I’m a special education teacher teaching 4-5th grades. I got “Whole Child Reading,” and I couldn’t put it down. I have actually had 5 others from our building buy it as well. One was our school psychologist…she loves anything having to do with the function of the brain. I have the book dog-eared, highlighted and have changed how I do things with my kiddos. Your book is truly the best thing I, as a special education teacher, have read in a very long time. It makes sense!!!!” – C.H., Oklahoma

For many more unsolicited testimonials, please visit our Testimonials Page!


Our First Grade Reading program now includes a Comprehension Evaluation book, ideal for educators and homeschoolers.

This First Grade reading program is the last step before reaching second grade reading readiness! It’s fun, entertaining, and helps learners qualify for the next literacy level. Full teaching instructions are included for educators and parents alike. Follow the link to look inside the books to determine if this level is right for your learner.

  • 1 Glossy Picture Book
  • 3 High-Frequency Word Books
  • “Whole Child Reading” book
  • Parent & Educator’s Guide for Teaching and Testing
  • Quick-Start Guide
  • High Frequency Flash Cards, First Grade Level
  • NEW Comprehension Evaluation Book, First Grade Level

!Nuevo! En Español

The “Whole Child Reading” book is now available as the Lectura integral para niños eBook along with the Core Program in Spanish.

Esta traducción al español de la edición actualizada y ampliada del popular libro de instrucciones a menudo es calificada como un “generador de cambios” tanto por educadores como por padres. Enseñar a leer a alumnos con retrasos en el desarrollo, como síndrome de Down y autismo, puede ser todo un reto, pero el método que usamos en Lectura integral para niños abre la puerta al éxito rápido y a la confianza.

Lectura integral samples