We have been really enjoying our journey implementing the Four-Block Model in several classrooms. As with anything new, we have discovered a few things we had to problem solve our way through. Our school has gone through a huge AAC overhaul over the last 2 years with a large number of students receiving high-tech devices in a very short amount of time.  Teachers and paraprofessionals continue to adjust to the change and some are finding it difficult to model on devices.

At the same time we are overhauling AAC we are also working on how we teach literacy. After a wonderful presentation at ATIA, we began doing shared reading lessons in several classrooms where we have early emergent readers. We are following a modified CAR strategy during these lessons. The teacher reads a page and models commenting about what is happening on the page. Next, they ask for or invite participation from students (this could be just pausing or asking “what do you think?”). Once a student participates, they respond by repeating what the student said and adding information. Often this requires some creativity to relate what the student has said back to the text (try working the word “bathroom” in the book “Brown Bear”).  You can download the CAR visual we use here. CAR

When first starting shared reading lessons in a few classrooms, we ran into 2 distinct barriers:

1: Adults were unsure where the words they wanted to model were. We have told them it is okay to make mistakes and where to search for words on the devices, but they still were very hesitant to do this in cases where they were leading a lesson.

2: Adults were so used to asking questions on every page of a text, that simply commenting about the page was new and a little difficult.

Our solution was to tape the icon sequences for things they could comment on during a shared reading lesson. We hope that this provides an example of what commenting looks like and that they continue to gain confidence with new vocabulary. We always encourage teachers to stray from the suggested comments and add their own and the goal is to fade these supports out.

Here are a few examples:you can download the comments for this book here

photo 1

Download the comments for this book here.photo 2 photo 3 photo 4 photo 5

Download the comments for this book here.

This book contains repetitive text, that we also wanted the teacher to model with the hope that students would begin to as well.

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We also start off our shared reading lesson in the pre-school classroom with this song sung to the tune of “The Farmer in the Dell” (you can download it here):

story song

 We hope this gives you some ideas and would love to hear how you have been implementing the Four-Block Model in your school.

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