Every Child is a Potential Reader
If we think about literacy as a powerful communication tool, it is easier to understand that it is more than just the ability to "read" and "write."
From Story Boxes to Literacy Kits and More…
Students with multiple disabilities, including deafblindness face many learning challenges. They do not learn literacy in typical ways. Often they do not have exposure to books and literacy based materials. Children with hearing loss may not have heard stories read aloud, and may not have used books on tape. The goal for these students is to maximize access using specialized formats.
These formats may include any of the following:
- Literacy kits
- Use of story related objects (e.g., using real mittens when reading the story "Three Little Kittens," etc.)
- Books with music, books on tape/CD/MP3
- Books with enlarged or simplified pictures/print, braille and tactile symbols (Visit www.aph.org for examples.)
- Books adapted for children with physical challenges
- Assistive technology
Motivating Functions of LiteracyAs students experience a wider variety of meaningful literacy materials their interest will increase. The student will most likely choose what is both fun and motivating, as well as functional. A student reading a recipe or writing a shopping list may use tactile objects, symbols, large print, or braille. Another student may choose to read an adapted magazine or "write" in their journal during their leisure time.
The primary purpose of a literacy kit is to support and enhance the curriculum with math or reading/writing/language activities through multi-sensory experiences. A kit may include a story box as well as materials for group and individual lessons in any of the literacy formats listed above. It gives the professional the opportunity to be creative when developing expanded lessons which may include the use of computer based activities to enhance comprehension. Each literacy kit is individualized based on the developmental level and sensory needs of each student and is most often teacher made.
- PDF Download (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader): Story Boxes: A Hands-On Literacy Experience by Norma Drissel
- Learn about the Perkins Panda Early Literacy Kit
Students who do not use a pencil and paper may to dictate their thoughts, use a modified keyboard, or a modified word processor. Some students with physical challenges may need to access books or writing activities using switches. When choosing appropriate technology a teacher considers the individual needs of the student in addition to the literacy goals of the activity.