#103: Comprehensive Emergent Literacy: Steps 1-2

In today’s episode, Venita Litvack shares a brief overview of the Comprehensive Emergent Literacy framework and breaks down strategies for the first two steps of the framework.

It’s nice to have a framework and know where we should start with the student rather than just saying, okay, they need literacy, let’s read books. Because we know literacy is so much more than that. And today, we’re going to touch on the five different areas that encompass comprehensive emergent literacy instruction and break down the first two steps with some strategies.

Comprehensive Emergent Literacy Framework

Shared Reading

Shared Writing

Alphabet and phonological awareness

Independent writing

Self-directed Reading

Activities for Steps 1+2 of the Framework

Shared Reading

Strategy: RAAP: Read, Ask, Answer and Prompt
Time: Erickson and Koppenhaver recommend that you do this activity at least two times a day for 10 to 15 minutes a day.
Overview: RAAP is an interactive reading strategy for improving literacy experiences for individuals who use AAC. It encourages aided language input and is a form of modeling on the AAC system, which is really critical for our emergent communicators. It gets the communication partner to slow down and allow the AAC user more processing time.

Step 1. Read page and model two symbols on the device
Step 2. Pause for 5 seconds by maintaining eye contact and look at the AAC learner expectantly. Then ask a WH Question and model two symbols on the device and again, wait five seconds
Step 3. If they didn’t answer the wh question, you’ll answer it for them and model two more symbols on the device, and then pause again.
Step 4. And if they don’t say anything, or if they do say something, you’re going to provide a two to three-word response using the AAC system and verbally. Example: show me the (blank) on the page, like a caterpillar, show me the caterpillar.
Step 5. Repeat this process for every single page of the book.

The RAAP strategy really helps the student who uses AAC to be more active in the reading and less of a passive listener.

Shared Writing Strategies 

Strategy: Predictable Chart Writing
Time: 20-30 minutes a day over a 5 day period
Overview: Predictable Chart Writing is a fun and easy shared writing activity that supports emergent and conventional writers and readers. It’s a way of providing some structure while allowing students to generate their own ideas.

Day 1. Write a chart and repetitive phrase and have every student create a sentence. Example: I like to…
Day 2.  Reread the chart and sentences
Day 3. Cut up the sentences
Day 4. Assign students a word and have them act out the sentence
Day 5. Make a class book

Links Mentioned in the Podcast

The effect of pause time upon the communicative interactions of young people who use augmentative and alternative communication. (Hilary Mathis)
Video of RAAP method in action
Predictable chart writing

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Transcript

Marisha: Hello there. Welcome to the SLP Now Podcast, where we share practical therapy tips and ideas for busy speech language pathologists. Grab your favorite beverage. And sit back as we dive into this week's episode.

Marisha: This month we are talking all things AAC and literacy with Venita Litvack. So head to episode 102, to get the getting started phase. And if you've already been listening to the episodes, just join us to continue learning more about AAC, literacy and comprehensive emergent matters.

Marisha: Just a quick recap. So we've got three main types, immersion, conventional, or both in terms of the intervention that we can use. That really just depends on where the student is at. Are they identifying letters of the alphabet? Are they engaging in shared reading? Do they have a method of interaction? And do they understand that print has meaning? Did I get that?

Venita Litvack: Yeah. Thank you for summarizing that.

Marisha: Awesome. So, just one more time too, because you said 80% of AAC users...

Venita Litvack: Yeah. Like I said, I was trying to find the reference for that because I recently heard it in a training.

Venita Litvack: They said something like 80% of individuals who are nonverbal, which I don't like that term, and I know we're trying to move away from that term, so I said, individuals who are non-speaking, are at the emergent literacy level.

Marisha: Okay, amazing. So this is a super important conversation then, because we definitely want those kids moving towards literacy.

Venita Litvack: Yeah. And they're set up differently, the type of instruction. So it's nice to have a framework and know where we should start with the student rather than just saying, okay, they need literacy, let's read books. Because we know literacy is so much more than that. And we're going to talk about the five different areas that encompass comprehensive emergent literacy instruction.

Marisha: Okay. Let's do it. I can't wait.

Venita Litvack: Great. So I'll briefly share those. The first area of comprehensive emergent literacy instruction is shared reading. Then you have shared writing. Then you have alphabet and phonological awareness, independent writing with full access to the alphabet and self directed reading. And all of these are outlined in that book. So when we start to talk about the different activities that I would recommend when teaching literacy to students who use AAC, I will break them down by those five different areas.

Marisha: Perfect. Let's do it.

Venita Litvack: Great. Are you ready to dive into those activities?

Marisha: Yes.

Venita Litvack: Perfect. In terms of shared reading Erickson and Koppenhaver recommend that you do this activity at least two times a day for 10 to 15 minutes a day. Now I know SLPs, we have different schedules, different settings. So you have to do what you're able to do. When I worked in a school for children with autism, I actually got to go into the classrooms every day for about an hour, but I know that looks drastically different in other types of school settings. Maybe you're only seeing the student one time a week, two times a week. So take this with a grain of salt or what you can do. And we'll actually talk about some ways that you can incorporate these strategies in group lessons. And I am sensitive to the fact that you might not see the child every day of the week so we'll talk about that later.

Venita Litvack: But in terms of shared reading Marisha, you brought this up earlier. One of the strategies that I really like and talk about is the RAAP strategy. And I like it one because I actually studied under one of the researchers, Dr. Kent Walsh, and got to see the impacts that that research got to help present at the ASHA convention, but it was developed by doctors, Cathy Binger and Dr. Jennifer Kent-Walsh. And it's not rap music, but it actually stands for read, ask, answer and prompt.

Venita Litvack: And it is an interactive reading strategy for improving literacy experiences for individuals who use AAC. It encourages aided language input. So a form of modeling on the AAC system, which is really critical for our emergent communicators. And it gets the communication partner to slow down and allow the AAC user more processing time. And along with that processing time, I do like to highlight what the research tells us in terms of the amount of time it takes students to process questions or information that we present to them. So there was a study by Hilary Johanna Mathis entitled "The effect of pause time upon the communicative interactions of young people who use augmentative and alternative communication". And in that they suggest that we provide a wait time of up to 45 seconds and that would support AAC users to claim more conversational turns and use more words.

Venita Litvack: Now, I know 45 seconds seems like a really long time. So I think on average, the research says that between 10 to 20, that was the only reference I was able to find them, that's why I brought it up, but it just illustrates the importance of how much time we need to be giving. And in reality, we're probably giving closer to two to three seconds. So the framework for the raap strategy, when you're reading a book together with a child is on every single page, you're going to do the raap. So the first step is to read the book or read the page and model two symbols on the device. Then you pause for five seconds by maintaining eye contact and looking at the AAC learner expectantly. Then you're going to ask a wh question and model two symbols on the device. And again, you're waiting for five seconds.

Venita Litvack: The reason you're waiting for five seconds is because you're allowing the child to comment, to answer the wh question, whatever they want to do in order to be a active reader along with you. And then the third step is if they didn't answer the wh question, you'll answer it for them and model two more symbols on the device and then pause again. And then if they don't say anything, or if they do say something, you're going to provide a two to three word response using the AAC system and verbally. So you might say something like, your turn or show me the, you know, if there's something on the page, like a caterpillar, show me the caterpillar and you actually repeat this process for every single page of the book. And it really helps the student who uses AAC to be more active in the reading and less passive, less of a passive listener.

Venita Litvack: So that's my shared reading activity that I wanted to share. Do you have anything you want to add to that before I move on to the next area?

Marisha: No, that was perfect. I'd be super curious to see this in action. Do they have examples of this? On YouTube or anything?

Venita Litvack: That's a great question. They definitely have videos. I'm not sure if they're sharing it on YouTube, but there's a name of the lab and I'll try to get that for you. What I'll do is I'll share that in email with you and you can put that in the show notes, but they have a lab and I would assume they put the videos on there, but I'll do my best to get those for you.

Marisha: Okay. Amazing. Thank you so much.

Venita Litvack: No problem.

Marisha: Were there more strategies under shared reading?

Venita Litvack: That's it, but I really could talk about this stuff all day. So I tried to condense it.

Marisha: Okay. So let's do some shared writing strategies then.

Venita Litvack: All right, perfect. So in terms of shared writing again, Erickson and Koppenhaver recommended to do this for 20 to 30 minutes a day, and this doesn't have to be done just by the SLP. This can be done by the classroom teacher as well. So if you're finding this information helpful, you can share this framework with the teachers that you collaborate with, but predictable chart writing has been found to be really helpful for these shared writing activities. So I'm going to talk about the framework that was outlined by Hanser, Cunningham, Hall, and Williams, separately of course, they had different research studies looking at predictable chart writing, but in summary, predictable chart writing is a fun and easy shared writing activity that supports emergent and conventional writers and readers. It's a way of providing some structure while allowing students to generate their own ideas.

Venita Litvack: And it provides many different activities that occur around the predictable chart over a five day period. So this is going to look very different depending on whether you are in the classroom every day, doing collaborative teaching, or if you see the student one to two times a week, but again, the classroom teacher can definitely implement this. So I'm going to discuss the activities across all five days with you. So on day one, you are going to write a chart. So for that, you're going to need chart paper, or you can use a big dry erase board on the front of the classroom and a single message device. So what happens is that you're going to pick a phrase that's repetitive. So let's say we're going to use the phrase, I like to. If you're working in a group, every student who uses AAC in the group, or every student in your group, they're going to tell you something that they like to do.

Venita Litvack: So the phrase is repeated for each student. So let's say you have five students. Maybe student one says, "I like to swim." The next student may say, "I like to sleep." The next one might say, "I like to eat." And the only word that changes is the last word, but they get to write their own sentence or finish their own sentence by providing something that relates to them. And then on day two, you are going to reread the sentences as a group, and you're going to put them on individual sentence strips. So you're going to together as a group, reread the chart while pointing to each word, you can clap out the words. You can rap the word, you can sign the words, but it's just getting them to recognize that those words are individual units of meaning as you're rereading them. And then on day three, you're going to cut up the sentences.

Venita Litvack: So you want to make sure that you have the students sentence, their own sentence on two separate sheets of paper, because they need one as the model and the other one you're going to cut up and they're going to rearrange the words to remake the sentence and play with the words, maybe they can even make a new sentence. So the goal of this step is to help support students in understanding that sentences are made from left to right. And that students don't have to create a perfect sentence. They just have to get comfortable with using these words, manipulating these words and the process of writing. And then on day four, they get to act out the sentence, which is fun. So you would give each student their AAC system or a single message device with the word of the sentence programmed into it. So let's say you have five students in the group.

Venita Litvack: One student would be I, the other student would be like, another student would be to. And then it can be one of the words that the students had said, maybe I like to swim. So they're going to read the sentence together. So the person that has I was going to do I, and then the next one's like, and the next one's to and the last person would say swim. So they're acting out the sentence by saying their individual words, and you can actually have them if possible, depending on their physical limitations line up in the order of the sentence too. And that gets them to understand like the structure of a sentence. And then on day five, the last day of the week, you would make a book with all of the students' sentences. So one-on-one, you're going to support the students in making their page, which will be part of a class book.

Venita Litvack: So if the first student said, "I like to swim", you would help them find a picture to go along with that, to support the texts. And then they get to make one page of the class book. Then the next student might have, I like to eat and they'll find a picture for that. And they get to make the second page of the class book. And at the end you can print it out and add it to your class library. And it's really nice because it's a book that they created together as a group and can reference and get to know each other a little bit better. And one resource for making the book, which I really like is called Tarheel reader, which I'm going to talk more about later.

Marisha: Thanks for listening to the SLP. Now podcast. This podcast is part of a course offered for continuing education through speech therapy PD. So yes, you can earn ASHA CEU's for listening to this podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, please share with your SLP friends and don't forget to subscribe to the podcast to get the latest episodes sent directly to you. See you next time.

marisha-mets-about-mobile

Hi there! I'm Marisha. I am a school-based SLP who is all about working smarter, not harder. I created the SLP Now Membership and love sharing tips and tricks to help you save time so you can focus on what matters most--your students AND yourself.

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