We were lucky enough to trial Reading Avenue at home with my daughter, Leia. Leia is 13 and has Angelman Syndrome. She uses a 48 plus side PODD and a 60 expanded key word page set on the Compass app. Because Leia has complex communication needs, we are passionate about teaching her to read and write because when she manages to do so, she will be able to say what she wants to say, when she wants to say it.
Whilst these ideals are well-intentioned, they also cause no end of work. Updating books and talkers, finding tasks, printing and laminating resources’ takes time. Given that we are a family of five, plus dog, I work and study part-time, time is a precious commodity. Reading Avenue has helped reduce a lot of the work for me, no longer do I have to search for and/or produce endless resources. They are there for us with a simple log-on.
As Reading Avenue is based on research and evidence it is reassuring that using it helps you to be using best practice. It is based on the work from CLDS that we were already trying to do at home, that made it familiar to us and therefore easy to understand. Although, it is very simple to use so no previous background would be necessary.
We used the assessment tool and Leia came out as most suited to Level C, although some of her writing skills matched to Level B, this fits with what we know about Leia as a learner. This means that whilst we do mainly C, we dip in and out of the activities in B too, as well as a few from A.
There are many different topics in Reading Avenue to fit in with standard school topics. We started on The Animals section as this is one of Leia’s favourites. Another aspect of Angelman Syndrome is that they have high standards and will not tolerate anything that is too boring.
Fortunately, Reading Avenue seemed to be acceptable. We really liked it and was very pleasantly surprised that it is free with a Boardmaker Online subscription. However, the final words should come from Leia. Here are her thoughts on Reading Avenue:
"The books are excellent. My favourite activity is compare and contrast."