Teaching a successful reading curriculum which includes five components: phonological awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension challenging for educators of students who have complex communication needs.
Once students have gained emergent literacy skills, it is essential to begin a comprehensive reading curriculum (Erickson, Hanser, Hatch, & Sanders, 2009). A successful reading curriculum will include five components: phonological awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, 2000). Teaching any of these five components can be challenging for educators of students who have complex communication needs; however, using technology affords teachers a wide range of instructional options.
Phonological Awareness – Segmentation and Blending Syllables Collect five objects with labels that include two syllables (e.g., ap-ple, puz-zle). Record each syllable of the target word on a different switch. Press each switch, placing a definite pause between the syllables, to hear the word. Repeat the word with a smaller pause while pushing the switches closer together. Ask the student to identify the word by showing the object or picture. When the word is identified, push the two switches together, press, and repeat the word.
Phonics – Teaching Sound Isolation
A familiar tune that can be used to teach sound isolation to younger students is Old Mac Donald Had a Farm. Using a GoTalk or other device with multiple message capacity, record the sound (not the letter name) for 3-5 target phonemes with one sound on each button. Model the use of the device while singing, and then encourage the student to press the button.
For example:“Old MacDonald had a farm. EIEIO And on this farm he had a T. EIEIO With a t-t here and a t-t there…”
Onset/Rime – Word Families
Using an All Turn it Spinner customize the overlay with phonemes. Choose a target syllable rime that forms words using the phonemes on the overlay (e.g., at, ook). The student selects a phoneme by activating the All-Turn-it Spinner. The teacher says the word created and then the student demonstrates comprehension by matching the new word with a picture or object.
Teaching All Students (broken link) http://teachingall.blogspot.com/2009/08/phonemic-awareness-materials.html
Erickson, K., Hanser, G., Hatch, P., & Sanders, E. (2009). Research-based practices for creating access to the general curriculum in reading and literacy for students with significant intellectual disabilities. (broken link) Retrieved from http://www. ccsso.org/resources/publications.html?search=&page=2
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. (2000). Report of the National Reading Panel. Teaching children to read: an evidence-based assessment of the scientific research literature on reading and its implications for reading instruction. Retrieved from http://www.nichd.nih.gov/publications/pubs/nrp/documents/report.pdf