Picture Books for Older Readers Update

Picture Books for Older Readers Update

It’s the end of the Book Week here in Australia – so I thought I’d do a quick book based post. Early in August I wrote a post about Picture Books for Older Readers which is linked to a Pinterest Board of the same name.  I’ve had several people ask me for a text based version of the Pinterest Board – so I’ve created this and you can now download it here. Thanks to all the people who’ve suggested extra books for the list – please keep the suggestions coming!  And I hope you’ve enjoyed reading lots of books for…

Continue Reading
ISAAC 2014 Handouts

ISAAC 2014 Handouts

The ISAAC 2014 Conference in Lisbon was fabulous! Big congratulations to the Conference Co-Chairs, Luis Azevedo, Margarida Nunes da Ponte, Pedro Encarnação and Isabel Amaral. Also a big thanks and congratulations to ISAAC, the organisers and everyone involved, including the amazing volunteers who were such good hosts. For those of you who attended my sessions at ISAAC, I’ve finally written this very short post to provide links to handouts from all the sessions I presented and co-presented.  Thanks for the email reminders from people! Pre-Conference Workshops Speaking APPropriately: AAC & Apps (Jane Farrall) (click to download text handout)   “There…

Continue Reading
Picture Books for Older Readers

Picture Books for Older Readers

I often get asked for suggestions of picture books for older readers.  Books, written at a simple level, that have content to appeal to teenagers or adults. Tar Heel Reader is the best source I’ve found for books like this – but there are also many commercially available books that meet this need. The fabulous Sally Clendon says that her criteria for a picture book for older readers is one that makes her laugh. I couldn’t agree more – if the book can get an adult (or group of adults) laughing then it’s a great one to use with early…

Continue Reading
Brain Computer Interface at ISAAC 2014

Brain Computer Interface at ISAAC 2014

Last week I was very fortunate to attend the ISAAC Conference in Portugal.  One of the highlights for me was learning more about Brain Computer Interfaces (BCIs) and even getting to try one. Dr Melanie Fried-Oken, who is a really fabulous and practical researcher in the area of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) presented about the work they are doing with BCIs at Oregon Health & Science University. While she made it very clear that this technology is still in development stage, with researchers rather than users driving the direction at the moment, she also said that the technology is…

Continue Reading
AGOSCI Big Mouth Literacy Camp

AGOSCI Big Mouth Literacy Camp

This is a belated post about the 2014 Big Mouth Literacy Camp – but I headed off to the ISAAC Conference straight after camp and didn’t get a chance to write this until today. Big Mouth Camp was a different event this year as it had a literacy AND AAC theme for the first time. 25 AAC users and 20 adults attended the camp, which was held at Glenallen School in Melbourne over the July school holidays. The whole group The theme was “Prank Patrol” and lots of writing instructions on how to do pranks and writing about pranks after…

Continue Reading
AAC: Systemic Change for Individual Success

AAC: Systemic Change for Individual Success

The attitudes, beliefs and knowledge of communication partners are pivotal in the success story of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC). The people around every individual with complex communication needs must believe that everyone has a right to communicate.  We must provide them with a communication system that enables that right. We must believe in their ability to use language and give them a system that enables them to use language. The people around them must believe in their ability to learn language – and we need to implement aided language input and other forms of language/communication teaching and learning to…

Continue Reading
Balanced Literacy for all: Guided Reading Resources

Balanced Literacy for all: Guided Reading Resources

This is a very quick blog post to let you know that I have recently added a bunch of new resources about Guided Reading onto a new Guided Reading page on my website. Guided Reading at Adelaide West Special Education Centre Guided Reading Resources Guided Reading: Learners with Complex Communication Needs These are some old resources from my previous website that have been uploaded again by request! These are guided reading packs for use with students with complex communication needs who don’t yet have a comprehensive communication system. Guided Reading: Focus on Science These are some new resources developed in…

Continue Reading
Letter Writing: Writing for Real Reasons

Letter Writing: Writing for Real Reasons

Writing is a very complex task in literacy.  It has many components. Whenever we write, we need to think of an idea, then think of the language to describe the idea, then we need to think of the words and how we spell them – and finally we have to think about how we are going to select the letters for each word.  As we become more skilled and practiced writers, these skills become more automatic.  But in the beginning, each of these skills takes a lot of effort and planning. Writing also needs to have purpose.  We need to…

Continue Reading
Word families and Onset Rime: early literacy instruction with learners with CCN

Word families and Onset Rime: early literacy instruction with learners with CCN

As we learn to read, word recognition plays an important part in our literacy journey. Automatic word recognition is essential for fluent reading. We need to be able to recognise words quickly to be able to read quickly. However, word recognition isn’t just taught via whole words. One of the ways we learn to automatically recognise words is by decoding them. Decoding helps us to memorise words so that they become automatically recognised words eventually. Decoding is also an important skill for early readers as it helps them to figure out words they don’t know. Word families or onset rime…

Continue Reading
Too late to learn to read & write? No!

Too late to learn to read & write? No!

Last week I had a wonderful experience.  I’ve been smiling ever since.  Then yesterday I read a blog post by David Koppenhaver and decided that I needed to write about my experience. One of my favourite quotes is from Dr David Yoder. “No student is too anything to be able to read and write.” I firmly believe this – and the longer I work the more evidence I have to support it. Just over 10 years ago I met a young man – Tom. He was 17 years old and in his penultimate year at high school. Tom was referred…

Continue Reading