Literacy instruction for AAC users seems to be popping up frequently in Facebook groups, ATChats, and other blogs! Unfortunately, it hadn’t been a focus of mine until this past year. But now that it is, I’m excited to share what we’re doing!
I was very focused on making sure everyone had an AAC system to communicate. And that IS an important step. But I wasn’t focusing on WHAT comes NEXT?! Last year, I listened to the presentation Carole Zangari did at the Minspeak PALSS webinar last year. She discussed the importance of making sure our students become literate and shared the curriculum she is working on for preschool classrooms. A couple of coworkers and I were psyched to try to implement something similar at school. That presentation is not available but it’s similar to this one. I highly recommend reading through it!
This school year I had the opportunity to go to presentations by Caroline Musselwhite, Gretchen Hanser, Karen Erickson, and Susan Norwell. They inspired me to just GET STARTED! It took some time, planning, and convincing others to get on board, but we’re doing it! The first step was describing the four block model to my coworkers and coming up with a plan to get them going!I strongly suggest reading the Four Block Model book for children with disabilities! Here is a brief overview!
Guided Reading – This block teaches students how to comprehend text. The goal of this block is to increase background knowledge, vocabulary meanings, comprehension strategies, and reading fluency through repeated readings. A crucial component to this block is to Anchor Read and Apply.
To be honest, some of our students still early emergent readers and not quite ready for this block! But that’s why we work on shared reading with them instead. Check out this presentation to learn more about the difference.
Self Selected Reading – This block is important as it allows student interests to drive an interest in reading! This block helps develop expressive language, reading comprehension, and students’ ability to select interesting reading materials. Teachers may help guide this block by providing students with books similar to the one they are looking at in Guided Reading or by encouraging students to pursue reading materials of personal interest!
Writing – This block helps students learn to independently write for real purposes. This block utilizes shared writing, writing mini-lessons with revisions an editing, and writing on self selected topics.
Working with Words – This block is one of my favorites! It’s purpose is to help students learn to recognize high frequency words faster and to decode and spell phonetically regular words.