Category: Literacy

Top Five Favorites: Alphabet Toys

Many of the individuals I work with are emergent readers.  We work a lot on letters and letter sounds.  Teachers, parents, and I often use this section from the Bridge Rating Scale with our emergent readers to see what areas of alphabet and phonological/phonemic awareness we need to work on.

Here are the top five toys that I use the most when working on alphabet knowledge and some phonological/ phonemic awareness skills.

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Using the Tell Me Program in Your Classroom

A few years ago, I heard Carole Zangari present on the Tell Me Program at a PALSS conference.  I was watching live with a teacher and another SLP and we immediately wanted to get started!  It took a couple of years until the program was available for purchase through Attainment Company, but it was worth the wait!    This year, I’ve worked with several classrooms using this program and have been so impressed with the increase in students’ language and AAC use.  Hang in there, this post is a bit on the longer side but has some great resources!

The program comprises of a ten day (two week) learning sequence revolving around one book.  The books tend to be simple and familiar.  Many have predictable pictures or text.  Each two week sequence has:

  1. Target vocabulary words and a target letter. – We decided to do two target letters per book for contrast.  (Check out this post by Jane Farrall where she talks about providing at least two and up to six “letters of the week” for alphabet learning.) 
  2. Shared Writing lessons
  3. Shared Reading lessons 
  4. Quack Quack Questions – Simple questions that can be answered using target or concept vocabulary.
  5. Dramatic play.  – This has been a favorite component of ours and has encouraged carryover of target vocabulary into other contexts. 

There are many other components to the program, but these are the ones that we have been most successful in implementing!

I saw a post on Facebook about how the amazing mom from the “Hold My Words” page, created a chart book to go along with the program.  You can check out her video post here.  She used a few pieces of poster board to create her chart book and it seems ideal for home schooling or individual sessions.  However, using the program at school, we needed to create something that could be easily replicated for several classrooms.  With that in mind, we created a visuals book that has the target words on the front and pages inside for the song, who poster, what poster, story map poster, letters of the week, and quack quack questions.  For each of the eleven books in the program, we created a unique visuals book that we printed on tabloid paper, laminated, and bound.  After the eleventh book, another teacher and I came up with a generic template for the book and visuals.  You can download our template for the book and icons!  You can also see the book and icons we made for the “I Went Walking” book.  If people are interested, I’m happy to share the visuals from the other ten books!  You can email me at amandasoperslp@gmail.com for access to the rest.

We also put together a dramatic play kit for every unit.  We make sure to include accommodations for our switch users!  This is a great time to work on language carry-over using the words of the week!

Let us know how you use the Tell Me Program in your classroom!

Adapted Book Kit – Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site

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It’s been forever since I posted!  Things have been pretty crazy this school year but I think I’m finally getting back on track.  More posts to come 🙂  I recently have been doing a lot of individual sessions with some of my more complex kiddos with a focus on AAC and literacy.  I frequently use the Bridge Protocol to assess where my students are with regards to emergent literacy.  I love this tool because it really breaks down emergent literacy skills and allows you see progress in smaller increments.  It also has helped the teachers and paraprofessionals that I work with to have a better of idea of where their students are at and what skills they need to provide more opportunities for.  (I was getting pretty sick of everyone only writing goals for “turning the page” as an emergent literacy skill with NO other ideas!)

A few weeks ago, I was at Barnes and Noble I spotted this sound story version of Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site.  I am in love with it because it has a cute, quick story that goes along with the sounds on the side.  So often, sounds books are either short (in pages)and have no real story line or they have a story line that makes sense with the sound symbols but it is SO LONG.  This one is perfect!

I looked at the Foundations of Reading and Oral Language areas of the Bridge Protocol to keep myself on track while adapting.  I really wanted to work on how my students handle/interact with books and increase their engagement.

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With that in mind, I decided to texture adapt the sound symbols to give students (with and without vision impairment) something more to interact with.  My SLP intern and I tried to be very purposeful with what we chose and worked hard to make sure the textures make sense with what the symbol represents.  Here’s what we came up with.

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We also decided to include the plush toy that goes along with the book to encourage interaction for some of our students who have not yet discovered a love for reading!

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You can find the PowerPoint that goes along with the adapted book kit here.  Enjoy!

How To Adapt Graphic Novels in PowerPoint

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Earlier this year, I found out that my beloved Baby-Sitters Club books had been turned into graphic novels. I immediately thought of a few pre-teen girls I know that would love to read these books on their eye-gaze devices. In our previous post, we discuss using Office 365 on Accent Devices to display adapted PowerPoint books. This would also be possible using the PowerPoint App on the iPad.

Unfortunately, I didn’t quite realize how daunting it would be to adapt the entire chapter book. I promise that it will be available for anyone who can demonstrate proof of purchase for the book when I it is complete. Until that time, I thought I would provide some instructions for how to I adapt graphic novels (I have listed a few suggestions, provided by a very helpful Barnes & Noble employee, below).

Roller Girl                              El Deafo                                        Amulet

                      

Continue reading for step-by-step instructions for adapting graphic novels in PowerPoint.

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Eye Gaze PowerPoint Book Template

PowerPoint can make adapting books a breeze. We recently took the same features we use when making books for the computer or iPad and created a book for an Accent 1400 with NuEye. The Accent 1400 allows the user to download Microsoft with PowerPoint 360. This opens up the endless activity possibilities available through PowerPoint.

AlphaOops! H is for Halloween is the first book we tried this with and it was a hit!  Each slide contains 4 icons that the child can click to turn the page, hear audio of the page, go back, or exit the book.

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Continue reading for a free template and step-by-step directions.

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Writing Activities Using Instant Messaging Apps For Kids

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An important rule in implementing comprehensive literacy instruction is that children need to be presented with multiple opportunities to write for multiple purposes (click here to read a great post from Caroline on the 3 T’s of Writing). When I reflect on my own day, I can include communication through text message and social media as two of my main forms of written expression. I made a Facebook Status Writing Activity a few months ago, and wanted to explore text messaging apps for kids next. I downloaded Roo Kids and PlayKids Talk, but will only be sharing information about Roo Kids, due to the security features of PlayKids Talk preventing Amanda and I from trying it (PlayKids Talk uses a photo of the user’s parent to determine if they are old enough to use the app and apparently Amanda does not pass for over 21).

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Pete the Cat and His Magic Sunglasses//Video Book

Pete the Cat

I love Pete the Cat books! They are about a fun character, contain positive messages, and come with great songs and videos. I saw the newest book when I was at Barnes & Noble last week and had to get it. Pete the Cat and His Magic Sunglasses is a wonderful story about optimism and a positive outlook. It also fits right into summer activities because of those COOL, BLUE, MAGIC sunglasses.

Yesterday, I downloaded the video that goes with the book on the Pete the Cat website. Using a few hyperlinks and the  video trimming tool, I was able to make a fun video book. You can download it here by clicking either picture below.

Book Cover Book PageAfter a quick Pinterest search, I also found this website with printable templates to make your own glasses. I envision a fun writing activity where students make their own glasses and then choose 3 adjectives (Pete’s are COOL, BLUE, and MAGIC) to describe them. The class can make a book with the sentence “Look at my _____, ______, ______ sunglasses.” with a photo of them wearing their sunglasses.

I would love to hear back from you when you use this activity!

AAChronicles #13

AAChronicles

On Wednesday, one of the fabulous teachers we work with asked her student, “Let’s write about Father’s Day today. What do you want to write about your grandpa/uncle?” The student immediately responded “funny to play, little, love” on his Accent.

Hope this put a smile on your face at the end of a long week!

Great Expectations Program // An Excellent Resource For All Students

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I recently discovered the Great Expectations program from the National Braille Press. The program is designed to bring

“… popular picture books to life using a multi-sensory approach — songs, tactile play, picture descriptions, body movement, engaged listening — all designed to promote active reading experiences for children with visual impairments.”

I have found that although some of the activities as specific to students with visual impairments (activities focused on reading braille and using cane), most of the resources on the website can be used for all children. After all, “songs, tactile play, picture descriptions, body movement, engaged listening” are used by effective teachers and therapists across disciplines.

The website has a list of featured books that they provide resources for.

 

featured books  Each title comes with a list of tips and activities you can use when teaching the text. You can also purchase the book in braille through the site. The resources for each book include descriptions of the pictures. This is great for students with visual impairments, but is also a good resource for teachers who are learning how to use the descriptive teaching model to instruct students using AAC.

Dragons Love Tacos Activties

Thanks to this website, I have fallen in love with the book “Dragons Love Tacos“.

Dragons Love Tacos

If you have a copy of the book, I am happy to share my adapted, high contrast, PowerPoint version and my PowerPoint for the song. Just send me an email or message me through Facebook or Twitter with proof that you own the book.

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I hope you enjoy this resource as much as I do.

-Lauren