Teaching resources

The overall goal of the Literacy for All communities of practice has been to enhance teacher capacity to meet the literacy and communication needs of students with significant cognitive disabilities. Since the project started in 2011, different literacy resources and strategies have been identified and used in the classroom with students, analyzed for their effectiveness and appropriateness, and adapted to better meet the literacy needs of students with significant disabilities.

Teachers participating in the Literacy for All communities of practice have worked with the following professional resources:


Year 1 (2011 – 2012)
Elementary – Grades 1 to 6

Participants used the literacy resources MEville to WEville and Children with Disabilities: Reading and Writing the Four-Blocks Way to support communication and literacy instruction for Grades 1-6 students with significant disabilities.

meville to wevilleMEville to WEville is a research-based literacy teacher resource that integrates reading, speaking, writing, augmentative communication, listening, active participation through  meaningful and engaging learning opportunities. It supports the development of beginning literacy and communication skills and provides a learning and communication context for students with significant disabilities to develop a sense of self and a sense of belonging within a community of learners. It can be used in Kindergarten to Grade 6 classrooms. MEville to WEville has three units: Me, My Family, My School.

Since the first Literacy for All community of practice, MEville to WEville has been revised and is now available from two separate publishers in two different versions.

Click here to view the two options available through Bridges Canada.

51h9Dyn4qmL._SX389_BO1,204,203,200_Written by Karen Erickson and David Koppenhaver, Children with Disabilities: Reading and Writing the Four-Blocks Way provides an overview of what a sample Four-Blocks Day might look like in both a grade-level classroom and in a self-contained special education classroom. It provides a wide selection of ideas, strategies, and resources to support Self-Selected Reading, Guided Reading, Writing, and Working with Words.

This resource was published in 2008 and is still very relevant. However, note these words from co-author, David Koppenhaver… “Ignore the technology ideas, which are mostly outdated, and read to understand the framework and instructional suggestions.” Watch for a new version of this resource!

Preview Children with Disabilities: Reading and Writing the Four-Blocks Way here.


Literacy for All
Year 2  (2012 – 2013)
Elementary – Grades 1 to 6

In the second year, participants went deeper with literacy instruction and explored how the philosophy and the strategies from The Daily 5: Fostering literacy independence in the elementary grades and The CAFE Book: Engaging all students in daily literacy assessment and instruction could be adapted for students with significant disabilities.

9422040The “daily five” is a series of literacy tasks — reading to self, reading with someone, writing, word work, and listening to reading — which students complete while the teacher meets with small groups or confers with individuals. Explicit modeling, practice, reflecting, and refining help to prepare the foundation for a year of meaningful content instruction tailored to meet the unique needs of each student.

51hSyVQecrL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_In The CAFE Book, Gail Boushey and Joan Moser present a practical, simple way to integrate assessment into daily reading and classroom discussion. The CAFE system, based on research into the habits of proficient readers, is an acronym for Comprehension, Accuracy, Fluency, and Expanding vocabulary. The system includes goal-setting with students in individual conferences, posting of goals on a whole-class board, developing small-group instruction based on clusters of students with similar goals, and targeting whole-class instruction based on emerging student needs.


Literacy for All
Year 3 (2013 – 2014)
Junior and Senior High – Grades 7 to 12

The third year of Literacy for All ran with a focus on identifying and reviewing literacy resources  to support both reading and writing, including exploring what a novel study might look like for grades 7 to 12 students with significant disabilities.

3132654Clicker 6
Clicker 6 (software) is an easy-to-use writing support and multimedia tool that enables students to write with whole words, phrases or pictures.

  • Provides quick access to writing
  • Word predictor that suggests words that fit the context of the student’s writing
  • Contains more than 2500 pictures
  • Built-in painting tools
  • Clicker Paint is fully integrated into Clicker
  • Webcam support
  • Students can create their own talking books and presentations

9347398Grass Roots Readers – Animal Series High-interest, low-vocabulary books featuring relevant content, photographs and one or two short sentences on each page. The photographs reflect the text, making the words easier to decode. Free activities and audio can be downloaded for each book.

http://www.grassrootsbooks.net/ca/grass-roots-readers

3199480Start-to-Finish Literacy Starters
The Start-to-Finish Literacy Starters are an extension of MEville to WEville published by Don Johnston, Inc.

The specially developed Start-to-Finish Literacy Starters offer stories in multiple representations to provide literacy support and accessibility for emerging readers.


4606205AnyBook Reader uses an innovative sticker system to playback recorded audio. To use the AnyBook Reader, you select a book and place the blank stickers on the pages. Set the Reader to recording mode and place the tip of the Reader on a sticker. This pairs a given page with the recording you are about to make. Begin reading aloud the page while recording what you say. Once you’ve finished reading the page, stop recording. The sticker on that page will now replay what you recorded anytime you tap the sticker with the reader. There are no limitations on which books could be used with the AnyBook Reader (or wall charts, notes on desks, written instructions). It allows students to playback recordings and sound effects by simply tapping stickers. There is no fast-forward or rewind necessary, it instantly plays back recorded audio.

http://www.anybookreader.com
http://www.secrest.ca

anybook-reader-tip-sheet*Click on the tip sheet to learn more about how the AnyBook Reader can be used to support literacy and communication for students with significant disabilities.


6378964BIG Step-by-Step™ and LITTLE Step-by-Step™ Communicators
Record any series of messages directly into the Step-by-Step Communicator and press its activation surface for the first message. Press it again and Step-by-Step automatically steps to the next message.With two full minutes of recording time, you can record as many messages as you need, divided any way you like. Step-by-Step features a five-inch activation surface and is recommended for persons who require a larger target area.

http://www.ablenetinc.com/AssistiveTechnology/Communication/BIG-Step-by-Step-LITTLE-Step-by-Step 

step-by-step tip sheet*Click on the tip sheet to learn more about how the Step-by-Step can be used to support literacy and communication for students with significant disabilities.


3359092Literacy Beyond Picture Books Teaching Secondary Students With Moderate to Severe Disabilities
This step-by-step guide shows teachers how to match middle school and high school students with significant disabilities with appropriate texts and develop inventive themed units that encourage literacy learning.Teachers can build whole units around a selected text and create hands-on activities that engage multiple senses. This resource includes sample activities and lesson plans, ideas for adapting general education materials, and essential information on how to:

  • Build vocabulary and use retelling and guided reading
  • Teach functional skills
  • Incorporate media and assistive technology
  • Involve parents
  • Assess students’ learning and support student’s individual learning goals

Paperback: 203 pages
Publisher: Corwin Press Inc (June 2 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1412971144
ISBN-13: 978-1412971140
http://www.corwin.com/books/Book233103


Literacy for All
Year 4 (2014 – 2015)
Junior and Senior High – Grades 7 to 12

The fourth year of Literacy for All ran with a focus on identifying strategies and literacy resources  to support the writing process for grades 7 to 12 students with significant disabilities.

3132654Clicker 6
Clicker 6 (software) is an easy-to-use writing support and multimedia tool that enables students to write with whole words, phrases or pictures.

  • Provides quick access to writing
  • Word predictor that suggests words that fit the context of the student’s writing
  • Contains more than 2500 pictures
  • Built-in painting tools
  • Clicker Paint is fully integrated into Clicker
  • Webcam support
  • Students can create their own talking books and presentations

clicker6

*Watch a video on using Clicker 6 to support the writing process – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jYfxBHM9WmQ&index=4&list=PL31AC8E3681407475

1403039838

Clicker Books is a book making app that includes extensive writing support for students of all abilities.

  • Customize individual writing support with speech feedback, word prediction or a talking spellchecker
  • Flexible illustration tools
  • Opportunities to listen to completed text
  • Alternatively, students can record their own speech

clicker apps

*Watch a video about Clicker Books –https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NvAjcKy-ilk


7634641Making Words
Dr. Karen Erickson has re-worked Dr. Patricia Cunningham’s popular Making Words phonics lessons to introduce and build decoding skills through 50 phonics lessons for students with complex instructional needs. This resource also incorporates Dr. Cunningham’s time-proven approach to building decoding and spelling strategies featured in her highly-regarded book, Systematic Sequential Phonics They Use (Carson-Dellosa).

Please note that this resource is included in the Don Johnson MEville to WEville with Literacy Starters Curriculum package.


Talk About

From Scholastic, Talk About is a series of 24 non-fiction books designed to provide models of everyday English language for students who are learning English or who have limited English language skills regardless of their age or grade. Talk About introduces students to the structure, patterns, and vocabulary of everyday language through talking, reading, and writing.

Talk About Everyday Things books talk about the students themselves and those people whom they interact with daily. Each 16-page book contains four important points or concepts relating to its topic.

Each Talk About Everyday Things book features:

  • illustrated content vocabulary to assist comprehension
  • patterned text that provides a structure for oral and written language
  • labels to help identify nouns
  • a photo glossary of extra content words
  • a visual literacy page that provides for comprehension in a variety of forms, for example, maps, charts, menus, plans
  • the word count
  • content and high-frequency words repeated throughout the text

To learn more about Talk About, visit: http://www.scholastic.ca/education/talkabout/images/ta_overview_cdn_d001.pdf


Literacy for All
Year 5  (2015 – 2016)
Grades 1 to 12

The fifth year of Literacy for All focused on emergent writing using First Author Writing Curriculum as a primary resource. Predictable chart writing was also explored as a strategy to support writing development.

Depending on where individual students were in their understanding of the functions of print and print conventions, teachers either focused on developing alphabet and phonological awareness or word identification and decoding (Systematic Sequential Phonics They Use) to further support the development of written language.

Participants also explored the use of alternative pencils for those students with physical, cognitive or linguistic challenges who were unable to hold or successfully use a traditional pencil or physically manipulate a standard keyboard.

Finally, meaningful and purposeful communication was recognized as being at the heart of learning to read and write. Teachers worked to ensure that each of their students had a means of communication and interaction. To learn more about the importance of communication in literacy development and supporting students with complex communication needs, visit – ADD LINK


First-Author-Mini-Lessons-Guide-Cover-1First Author Writing Curriculum was designed to provide explicit daily instruction in both writing, and speaking and listening that is grounded in early writing development.

Students’ daily writing is self-directed and follows short mini-lessons. Mini-lessons model the instructional approach associated with process writing (e.g., planning, composing, publishing and sharing). Students use Tip Sheets as cognitive strategy supports while they write. These Tip Sheets are used as prompts to reinforce the skills taught during the mini-lessons.

The first 30 days of instruction are mapped out for both student and teacher success. After that, teachers choose lessons that support their unique classroom needs and instructional goals.

Communication and self-expression is emphasized through a weekly activity called Author’s Chair when students have an opportunity to share out their writing from the week. This social interaction helps students develop their speaking and listening skills and how to ask questions and give feedback.


First-Author-Writing-Measures-Section-Cover-1-smFirst Author Writing Curriculum includes several writing measures that monitor progress and are used to set goals and measure outcomes. These multiple formative and summative measures guide instruction. The anchor measurement tool is a 14-point scale called the Development Writing Scale which is sensitive to the slightest progressions from scribbling to paragraph writing.

Formative writing measures guide teachers to assess early student writing from scribbling to paragraph writing on both qualitative and quantitative characteristics. The measures help teachers clearly see where students are at in their writing development and where instruction should be directed to achieve the next level.

Learn more about First Author Writing Curriculum  – http://donjohnston.com/firstauthorcurriculum.

To order First Author Writing Curriculum – https://www.bridges-canada.com/products/9598-1.


pcwPredictable Chart Writing is a type of modeled writing that was initially developed by Dr. Patricia Cunningham as a technique for helping all students, irrespective of their language skills, to be successful in the writing process.

Predictable chart writing can easily be differentiated to support individual student learning needs. For example, some students learn that what they say can be written in words. Other students learn that you write from left to right, starting at the top of the page and work to the bottom. Other students will learn how to structure sentences using capital letters at the beginning and punctuation at the end. Teachers can focus on a specific skill to demonstrate as the dictated sentence is written down.

Learn more about predictable chart writing – Literacy Instruction for Students with Significant Disabilities


word predictionAlternative Pencils
In order to develop literacy skills, all students need have a way to write using the full alphabet no matter what level of understanding they appear to have about print.

Writing is undeniably an essential component of literacy instruction for students without disabilities.  Without question it is a part of their daily instruction.  In order for students with significant disabilities to develop as readers and writers, daily writing is equally, if not, more important.  However, this becomes a challenge when most students with significant disabilities are unable to hold a traditional pencil.

Learn more about alternative pencils – Literacy Instruction for Students with Significant Disabilities


abcAlphabet and Phonological Awareness
An important component of beginning reading instruction is effectively teaching letters and sounds. Alphabet knowledge is quite simply the knowledge of individual letter names, sounds, and shapes.

Related to letter and sound knowledge are phonological awareness, the ability to hear and manipulate sounds in oral language, and phonemic awareness, the ability to hear and manipulate phonemes, the smallest units of sound in oral language.

To learn more about alphabet and phonological awareness and strategies for teaching – Literacy Instruction for Students with Significant Disabilities


ssptuWord Identification and Decoding
Students who know most of the letters most of the time would benefit from word identification and decoding through word work.

During word work, explicit instruction on the patterns of English spelling is provided. Students are taught how to use letter patterns to decode and spell new words when they are reading and writing.

Participants used Systematic Sequential Phonics They Use as a resource to teach this word work.

To learn more about word identification and decoding and strategies for teaching – Literacy Instruction for Students with Significant Disabilities


Literacy for All
Year 6 (2016 – 2017)
Capacity Building Year – Grades 1 to 12

The sixth and final year of Literacy for All was designed as a capacity building year. School jurisdictions across the province of Alberta were invited to host their own Literacy for All Community of Practice to support teachers of students with significant disabilities.

Each of the 10 participating jurisdictions determined their own literacy focus and goals, as well as identified strategies and literacy resources that would best meet the learning needs of students in their community.

Key resources and instructional strategies included:


word-predictionAlternative Pencils

In order to develop literacy skills, all students need have a way to write using the full alphabet no matter what level of understanding they appear to have about print.

Writing is undeniably an essential component of literacy instruction for students without disabilities.  Without question it is a part of their daily instruction.  In order for students with significant disabilities to develop as readers and writers, daily writing is equally, if not, more important.  However, this becomes a challenge when most students with significant disabilities are unable to hold a traditional pencil.

Learn more about alternative pencils – Literacy Instruction for Students with Significant Disabilities.


51h9Dyn4qmL._SX389_BO1204203200_-235x300Children with Disabilities: Reading and Writing the Four Blocks Way

Written by Karen Erickson and David Koppenhaver, Children with Disabilities: Reading and Writing the Four-Blocks Way provides an overview of what a sample Four-Blocks Day might look like in both a grade-level classroom and in a self-contained special education classroom. It provides a wide selection of ideas, strategies, and resources to support Self-Selected Reading, Guided Reading, Writing, and Working with Words.

Preview this resource here.


Core_bd_Kara_Gourlay_Bdmkr_shareCore Vocabulary in Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)

Core vocabulary is a small set of simple words, in any language, that are used frequently and across contexts (Cross, Baker, Klotz & Badman, 1997).

To learn more about core vocabulary and access to communication, visit http://literacyforallinstruction.ca/access-to-communication and http://praacticalaac.org/strategy/teaching-core-vocabulary.


emerging-literacy-checklist-233x300The Emerging Literacy Behaviours Checklist was developed to enable teachers to assess and track progress of students with significant disabilities as they develop emerging literacy skills.

This checklist can be used several times throughout the year to monitor progress, inform instruction and document growth. Use the Observation Notes section to record the learning context, and your observations and reflections, including use of scaffolds, assistive technologies or personal communication devices that support this student’s access to literacy.


First-Author-Mini-Lessons-Guide-Cover-1First Author Writing Curriculum was designed to provide explicit daily instruction in both writing, and speaking and listening that is grounded in early writing development.

Students’ daily writing is self-directed and follows short mini-lessons. Mini-lessons model the instructional approach associated with process writing (e.g., planning, composing, publishing and sharing). Students use Tip Sheets as cognitive strategy supports while they write. These Tip Sheets are used as prompts to reinforce the skills taught during the mini-lessons.

Learn more at http://donjohnston.com/firstauthorcurriculum; order at https://www.bridges-canada.com/products/9598-1


First-Author-Writing-Measures-Section-Cover-1-smFirst Author Writing Curriculum includes several writing measures that monitor progress and are used to set goals and measure outcomes. These multiple formative and summative measures guide instruction. The anchor measurement tool is a 14-point scale called the Development Writing Scale which is sensitive to the slightest progressions from scribbling to paragraph writing.


meville-to-wevilleMEville to WEville is a research-based literacy teacher resource that integrates reading, speaking, writing, augmentative communication, listening, active participation through  meaningful and engaging learning opportunities. It supports the development of beginning literacy and communication skills and provides a learning and communication context for students with significant disabilities to develop a sense of self and a sense of belonging within a community of learners. It can be used in Kindergarten to Grade 6 classrooms.

Click here to view the two options available through Bridges Canada.


dsfPredictable Chart Writing is a type of modeled writing that was initially developed by Dr. Patricia Cunningham as a technique for helping all students, irrespective of their language skills, to be successful in the writing process.

Learn more about predictable chart writing – Literacy Instruction for Students with Significant Disabilities


New resources that our participants highly recommended:

Alphabunnamedet Stage

by Linda M. Phillips and Denyse V. Hayward

Alphabet Stage opens the curtain on the fascinating world of letters with a cast of entertaining characters and props. An amusing performance unfolds as each new letter adds another novel element to the drama while previously introduced letters remain onstage. This impressive work incorporates the most recent emergent literacy research to introduce the alphabet and early literacy skills to children.

Linda M. Phillips is a Centennial Professor of reading and language research at the University of Alberta and Denyse V. Hayward is an Associate Professor of speech and language research at the University of Alberta.

Published May 2017

9780325062488The Unstoppable Writing Teacher: Real Strategies for the Real Classroom

by M. Colleen Cruz

Veteran teacher and author Colleen Cruz has seen it all and done it all in the writing classroom—and she’s got something to admit: this is hard work. Real hard. In The Unstoppable Writing Teacher, she takes on the common concerns, struggles, and roadblocks that we all face in writing instruction and helps us engage in the process of problem solving each one.

From dealing with writing workshop skeptics to working with students both gifted and challenged, and of course combating that eternal barrier—lack of time—Colleen offers tried-and-true strategies to address and overcome obstacles.

There is a “Name Your Monster” section that helps teachers identify  individual writing roadblocks and offers sustainable support through her blog, colleencruz.com. “We can’t solve all the problems we’re faced with in writing instruction,” Colleen promises, “but we can choose how to respond to them. And our responses will make all the difference.”

Published May 2015

9780325078229The Writing Strategies Book: Your Everything Guide to Developing Skilled Writers

by Jennifer Serravallo

In The Writing Strategies Book, Jen Serravallo shares 300 effective strategies grouped beneath 10 crucial goals:

Getting Started
Goal I: Composing with Pictures (18 strategies)
Goal 2: Engagement: Independence, Increasing Volume, and Developing a Writing Identity (27 strategies)
Goal 3: Generating and Collecting Ideas (38 strategies)
Goal 4: Focus/Meaning (25 strategies)
Goal 5: Organization and Structure (40 strategies)
Goal 6: Elaboration (45 strategies)
Goal 7: Word Choice (31 strategies)
Goal 8: Conventions: Spelling and Letter Formation (22 strategies)
Goal 9: Conventions: Grammar and Punctuation (35 strategies)
Goal 10: Collaborating with Writing Partners and Clubs (19 strategies)

Published 2017