When you think of literacy instruction for students with significant learning needs, do any of these activities come to mind?
Generally, these are the kinds of activities that fall under the heading of functional literacy. While they can be motivating, it's a stretch to call them instruction. Why? Because literacy instruction, in its true nature, will support students in generalizing their knowledge across all reading and writing contexts. Ultimately, the only symbol set that allows you to say what you want to say when you want to say it is the alphabet. So let's agree to teach it!
What can you do for your beginners?
Look for materials that:
Does this list sound like a tall order? If it does, that's okay. Pick one of these things and implement it this week. Then add another next week, and so on. Or, for a good model in providing accessible, comprehensive literacy instruction, sign up for a free trial of Boardmaker Online. Take a look at Reading Avenue under the curriculum tab. It includes Daily Quick Lesson Guides that you can use directly or as a model for creating your own instructional activities.
Ultimately, can you think of anything more functional than learning to read and write? In the words of Senior Associate Director Emeritus David Yoder (of the Center for Literacy and Disability Instruction UNC-Chapel Hill), "No child is too anything to learn to read and write."
Let's all get started today!