According to Vaughn, Wanzek, Woodruff & Linan-Thompson, 2007 (cited in a chapter by Light & Mc Naughton, 2013 in the text , Augmentative and Alternative Communication by Beukelman & Mirenda, 2013) …
Typically developing children in Grades 1 through 3 should receive an estimated 90 minutes of literacy instruction per day.
Students at risk for developing literacy should receive 130 to 150 minutes per day.
Students with Complex Communication Needs understandably may require even more given their slower response rates.
Knowing this to be the case, educators routinely try to infuse literacy into other areas of school programming. Here are two examples of how a school is succeeding in their attempts to 'pump up' their literacy agenda.
Heightening the Literacy Agenda Through the Use of E-Books
While serving as an embedded AAC consultant in a school for children with physical disabilities, we embarked on an intensive motor access training program using digital books as the vehicle for training motor access. Thirteen children who had long struggled with achieving viable motor access that would enable them to use more sophisticated voice-output communication devices, were given 15 minutes of daily, intensive motor access training using digital books.
Each digital book had four clickable buttons (1. go back, 2. read the page, 3. listen to sound and 4. turn the page), accessed in a predetermined order. This format allowed us to work intensively on motor access skills using a universal data sheet, i.e., a data sheet that worked for all access modes! (intellikeys keyboard, trackball, single switch, two switch scanning, head mouse technology, joystick, trackpad).
Hundreds of books were converted to this format, e.g., all the books in the Scott-Foresman reading series (K through Gr 4), hundreds of popular picture story books, and the Clifford the Dog series!
It is important to note that although the OTs paced the ‘master plan for each student’ the responsibility for motor training was shared by OTs, SLPs, personal aides, and the AAC consultant. Given the large number of converted books, students were able to choose books in keeping with their interests. The daily data collected allowed the team to measure student progress and make ‘informed decisions’ re: viable motor access.
In summary, this program provided this group of at risk students with daily motor access training AND by extension, 15 minutes of exposure to their ‘bigger picture’ literacy agenda.
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Heightening the Literacy Agenda Through the Use of ASbySs
In similar fashion, Animated Step-by-Steps® (ASbySs) strive to provide a forum for providing students with opportunities to apply the key skills they are acquiring through their direct literacy instruction. ASbySs allow school staff to infuse more text into a broad range of classroom routines (cooking projects, poems, songs for morning meeting, social games, arts & crafts projects, science projects, and social studies projects). Some of this can be achieved in a large group format using the interactive whiteboard or in a smaller group at a learning center using an iPad. When ASbySs are displayed on an Interactive Whiteboard, the pen tools can be used to provide ‘teachable moments’ for applying the keys skills that students are learning in their ongoing direct literacy training program e.g., highlighting words also found on the classroom’s word wall, segmenting words into syllables to facilitate pronunciation, decoding specific target words or reinforcing phonological skills ‘on the fly’.
In summary, ASbySs can informally extend / generalize the lessons learned in a direct literacy program into authentic meaningful and highly motivating literacy experiences throughout the school day.
…’til the next post … (new posts every Monday)
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©2017 Carol Goossens’, Ph.D.
Augmentative Communication Consultant