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Dr. Caroline Ramsey Musselwhite

Monday, January 27, 2014

Beginning Literacy Framework - Still Relevant!

This document (developed through Don Johnston, Inc), was written more than a decade ago, but it's still relevant!

Download the document here
Beginning Literacy Framework    

It's very important for our students who are struggling to become readers to have access to various text types:

Enrichment Texts are designed to:
• Develop language
• Build background knowledge
• Support learning concepts about print and the reading experience
• Engage and develop the love of reading 
     (From Beginning Literacy Framework, p. 4)
These books are typically read to students.  They often include vocabulary that might be new to students, such as 'They roared their terrible roars.  They gnashed their terrible teeth.'  A good example for young children would be 'Where the Wild Things Are' by Maurice Sendak.

Transitional Texts are designed to:
• Provide an increased focus on text, rather than the language and graphics components
• Support students in using the skills and strategies they developed through experiences with enrichment texts and other print-based activities
• Support students in developing simple word-reading strategies 
     (From Beginning Literacy Framework, p. 5)
These books include a strong predictability component.  Students often use picture + pattern to help them read these books.  Sometimes, it's hard to tell whether the student is actually reading individual words, or using memory (of the story pattern) plus graphics.  A great example for young children would be 'Brown Bear, Brown Bear', by Bill Williams Jr.  The student can use the pattern of COLOR + ANIMAL (ex:  Blue horse, blue horse, what do you see).  
Conventional Texts are designed to:
• Introduce new vocabulary within controlled text
• Foster word recognition and decoding skills
• Remove predictability, helping students apply knowledge about sentence structure
     (From Beginning Literacy Framework, p. 6)
Conventional books follow the 'made you look' principle, in which students must look at all words in order to read the text.  Graphics may still be used to provide support for more difficult words.  Students who have significant disabilities often do not get enough of these books.

National Early Literacy Panel Report

I'm often asked where to quickly find the NELP, or National Early Literacy Panel Report.  It's not so hard to google, but in case you're having trouble finding it, the link is below.  Happy reading!

National Early Literacy Panel Report 

Friday, January 24, 2014

Emergent Writing Workshop: Chico, CA, February 28, 2014

WHO:  This workshop is for teachers, therapists, parents, and others supporting students with moderate to significant disabilities who are struggling to write. 

WHAT:  The workshop will cover:
• Vocabulary Sets for Writing
• Scribbling With the Alphabet
• Assessing Emergent Writing
• Supporting Content Writing
• Letters and Poems
• Celebrating Writing

WHERE:  Manzanita Place, Chico, CA


Download the flyer below:
Chico Emergent Writing FLyer

Language and Literacy: Vote by Letter + Categories

WHO:  This is for students who are learning to use the alphabet for initial sounds, and also learning to separate items into categories

WHY:  For students are nonspeaking, initial letter knowledge is particularly important.  When initial letter cueing is combined with categories, students have access to a much larger vocabulary.  For example, clothing - P might be pants or purse, while snack - P might be popcorn or peanuts or pretzel. 

HOW:  Include categories + letters in games and activities.  These are listed in order of difficulty.  Guess My Word is easiest as the student has a picture to look at during the game.  Bag Game is a bit harder as student looked at a picture, but then must remember it.  Predictable chart writing is harder because the student must think of something in their head, then use category / alphabet to translate the thought and share it.

Guess My Word (AlphaCategories Game)
- One student gets a picture card (ex:  giraffe)
- A partner helps them to find the category clue (ex:  animal)
- Friends make guesses using light or high tech language sets
- Target student gives another clue (ex:  zoo)
- Friends make more guesses
- Target student gives a letter clue (G)
- Friends make guesses until someone gets it right

The Bag Game App:  Categories + Letters
Play the Bag Game
- One student works with adult to pick an item, which is then hidden
- Proceed as for Guess My Word (giving category clue, then letter clue)

Predictable Chart Writing:  When writing a book 'I Like ______', student picks a response, then partners help him give clues:
- It's a toy (friends guess)
- It starts with B (friends guess until they figure out the word ball)

1) Alphabet display, such as:
- Alternative Pencils CD
- Apps such as AbiliPad  or  Panther Writer
- Apps such as Magnetic Alphabet  or Word Wizard (for showing a few letters at a time)
- The keyboard on an AAC device
- Alternate computer keyboards such as IntelliKeys or Big Keys

2) Language representations that can be categorized such as:
- AAC apps with language such as Touch Chat, Proloque2Go, or Words for Life
- AAC devices with extensive language sets such as Unity or Picture Word Power
- Light tech sets with language such as those described in Using Light Tech Sets to Support Literacy

3) Symbols indicating categories such as clothing, food, animals, plus sub-categories (ex:  under animals, you might have zoo, farm, pet)

Thursday, January 23, 2014

AAC for Students With Complex Communication Needs

ADE / ESS / Assistive Technology Workshop

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Dr. Caroline Ramsey Musselwhite

Slots are limited so sign up now!

Download the flyer here!
AAC for Students with Complex Communication Needs


Word Study Workshop:  Apps Included!

Afterschool workshop at Southwest Human Development

Only $10!!

Presenters are:
Caroline Ramsey Musselwhite
Deanna K Wagner

Download the flyer here.
Word Study Workshop

Thursday, January 9, 2014

AAC Language & Conversations - Workshop in North Andover, MA April 26, 2014

AAC Language and Conversations:  Make It Fun, Make It Interactive!

A workshop for Easter Seals

Date:  April 26, 2014
Location:  Merrimack College (North Andover, MA)
ASHA Ceu's Available!

Download the flyer below

AAC Language & Conversations, April 26, North Andover, MA

Reduce PDF Size Quickly - Tech Tip!

How To Reduce Your PDF Size on a Mac

1.  Use Preview to open the PDF
2.  Save As using a different name (but don't save it yet!)
3.  Go to Quartz Filter and select Reduce  File Size
4.  Click Save

Voila - a much slimmer PDF (mine went from 56.6 MB to 6.8 MB!!)

See picture for specifics

Emergent Writing and AAC Workshops in Seattle!

2014 Special and General Education Conference
Inclusion, Collaboration, and Differentiated Learning

March 5th, 6th, and 7th
Grand Hyatt Conference Center and Hotel
Downtown Seattle

Provided by Rehab Seminars

I have had the great fortune to be a part of this conference in the past.  They are always VERY well organized and executed.  It should be a fantastic three days!

Download the flyer below (hint:  my workshops are on pages 7 & 11!)
Seattle Conference Brochure