AAC, AT, Families, Inclusion, Literacy, UDL

Printable Making Words Cards

by Samuel Sennott

Making Words lessons are a terrific way to help learners actively construct letter sound correspondences and learn patterns of sounds that work together.  It is a reccomended lesson type in the Four Blocks Framework’sWorking with Words block.

Check out these printable letter cards. They are two inch symbols.   Simply print them with the lower case on one side and the uppercase on the other.  Originally, the pages were constructed with Mayer-Johnson’s Boardmaker/SD Pro.  I recommend using card stock and laminating them with glare free laminate.  Using 3 by 5 index cards cut in half can be helpful for writing down words from the lessons as well.

letter cards shot

Download the Printable PDF files:

  1. a to t lowercase
  2. A to T uppercase
  3. u to z lowercase
  4. U to Z uppercase

Also, you may find these files to be helpful from the 4 Blocks Site maintained by Joe Fuhrmann, Kankakee (IL) School District First Grade Teacher at Lafayette Primary Center 

Recommended Reading:

  1.  Systematic Sequential Phonics They Use by Patricia Cunningham
  2. Children with Disabilities: Reading and Writing the Four-Blocks® Way by Karen Erickson and David Kopenhaver
  3. Teacher’s Guide to the Four Block’s by by Patrica M. Cunningham (Author), Dorothy P. Hall (Author), Cheryl M. Sigmon

March 31, 2008 Posted by | AAC, Literacy, phonics, writing | 2 Comments

OLPC and AAC for the Developing World with Adam Bowker at ASHA 2007

By Samuel Charles Sennott


This poster board session at ASHA was authored by Adam Bowker and Dr. Janice Light, both from Penn State. There is one powerful, clear message that was presented here: that you could never hand a child with disabilities something like a Dynavox Series 5 Device in a developing nation. Yet if everyone has XO’s and the learner with a communication disorder accesses it with switches it is no big deal. This is a strong message and chance for universal design. What do you think about that for AAC in the nation or nations that you care about in the world? What do you think about that for AAC in the United States?

I mistakenly forgot to take an image of the excellent poster, but here are the top resources for finding out about the OLPC project. The main project site The wiki site that provides in depth information, specific hardware specs, as well as ways to get involved such as the listservs and wikispace sections. The best way to try one of these laptops out. The deal is that you donate one and you get one. $399 with an extended period to December 31rst.

Most importantly in the USA, this movement comes as a challenge to specialized instruction, ese, sped, whatever we name it. My interpretation of this movement is that we, the people who care deeply about the education of people with special needs, need to create and design the one laptop per child in the United States. It is certainly coming and it is up to us to be ahead of the curve in arguably the best chance we have at narrowing the gap.

Just think about the alternative: trying to retro fit what is created and given to us. I have been following part of the developments by monitoring the OLPC Project, the intiatives in the state of Maine, and the Intel Classmate.

The presenter, Adam Bowker, and I spoke about how excited we are for receiving the laptops, which are promised by OLPC before Christmas. The most promising use initially seems to be as a literacy tool for people who use AAC. The Tar Heel Typer can serve as an option for an electronic pencil and it will be great to look at the best way to port electronic books into the system. As soon as the devices are shipped it will be fun to look at this as an inexpensive way for people to connect to the Internet with their AAC devices, most notably Pathfinders, Vantage/Vanguard Devices, various Dynavox Devices, and the Tango.

Overall, this is the technical domain I am most encouraged by out of all the emerging technologies found in AT, The Read/Write Web/ Web2.0, and in Special Education. Additionally, it was terrific to see a well thought out and progressive presentation by the researcher, Adam Bowker. He is a second year doctoral student at Penn State and looks to have some notable and promising research interests.

November 25, 2007 Posted by | AAC, ASHA2007, Assistive Technology, AT, ebooks, inclusion, inspiration, Literacy, OLPC, OTOT, phonics, Special Education, Uncategorized, writing | 1 Comment

Gail Gillon’s Phonological Awareness Sessions at ASHA

By Samuel Charles Sennott

Gillon ASHA Shot
Using engaging phoneme level activities that work towards increasing authentic literacy performance was the message of the great group from New Zealand, led by Gail Gillon. No matter which way you’ve heard it, you have certainly heard about the importance of phonological awareness to early literacy success. This domain has great significance to us as teachers and the question is, how do we incorporate, or better incorporate phonological awareness into our early learning curriculum?

At ASHA, I attended these these three sessions: 1. Speech Sound Disorders in Children: Adapting Phonological Awareness Intervention for Differing Populations

Partial Handout

2. Survey of the Literacy Environment of Children With Down Syndrome
3. Speech Sound Disorders in Children: Phonological Awareness Treatment Effects for Preschool Children With Speech-Language Impairment

They provided a terrific resource in the form of a An Integrated phonological awareness programme for preschool children with speech disorder Gillon and McNeill (2007) Dowload it here:

I have seen Gail Gillon cited frequently and had heard that her work was a good place to start bulking up the phonemic awareness component of the early childhood based program we are building at Nova. During these sessions, I was hearing about a number of terrific research projects, all with positive outcomes for individuals with varying disabilities and all with seamingly great design. I found myself won over. Also, I was considering how I will, one, take this into my teaching practice and, two, learn more about this subject.

After an initial review of the Integrated Phonological Awareness Program they provided, I feel confident that I am doing much of what is advocated. After years of pulling from Starfall, Literactive, homemade ICS activities, and various songboards, I now realize the importance of putting it all into a framework. I like the idea of having this program guide as a way to help me structure the work in this domain. Much thanks to Gail Gillon for posting it! : ) So, how do I learn more about the subject? One source is from the same person and the 2007 text, Phonological Awareness From Research to Practice by Gail T. Gillon. I think I will buy it from the Guilford Press in paperback for $26
or Amazon for the same .

Additionally, I am set to obain a number of resources from Marilyn Jager Adams, including:
Phonemic Awareness in Young Children: A Classroom Curriculum
By Marilyn Jager Adams

Also, here is a web article of interest: Phonemic Awareness in Young Children By: Marilyn J. Adams, Barbara Foorman, Ingvar Lundberg, and Terri Beeler (1998)

Most importantly, from the three sessions I attended, I really appreciate the focusing statement to remember that the goal of increasing phonological awareness is to improve literacy outcomes and that is how they should be measured. Overall, as is the theme in these reflections on ASHA, I am working both from what I learned and from what I am already integrating and know. I look forward to some interesting discussions and research about this topic over the next few weeks and months. Please post any resources or related questions about phonological awareness in the comments section of this post.

November 24, 2007 Posted by | AAC, Literacy, phonics, Special Education, Uncategorized | 4 Comments