Introduction to AAC and Literacy

  • Introduction to AAC and Literacy
  • SLHS 427
  • Adapted Storybooks
  • Introduction
  • Studies show that assumptions are made about the value of reading to less able or non-speaking children
  • This results in them receiving fewer and less stimulating early learning experiences
  • Adapted stories provide a way to increase the exposure to literacy and participation in literacy experiences for these children.
  • Each story contains interactive and repetitive vocabulary, illustrations depicting action and concepts, and content typical of young children’s activities and routines.
  • General Philosophies
  • Repetition is a very productive strategy in supporting language and literacy development.
  • Children use repeated readings to help them become more dominant in the storybook interactions.
  • As stories are presented again and again, the adults involved should give up their leadership role and allow the students to assume more responsibility.
  • Repeated readings lead to story reenactments and these are very important in literacy development because they give children the opportunity to establish and practice powerful strategies that they will later use as mature readers.
  • Storybook Centered Thematic Approach
  • Stories are most effective when used with a whole-aided language approach.
  • Each unit (month) is organized around a core storybook and is based on one thematic unit.
  • Vocabulary is derived from the target story and is used in multiple activities throughout the day.
  • There are two basic categories of books:

–Literacy/language learning: these books (chosen based on a theme) should be used for repeated readings, developing literacy-related extension activities, and communication/language learning goals.

–Enjoyment/enrichment: more traditional popular and classic children’s stories.  These books support the literacy/language books but are generally not offered for repeated readings unless the children request them.

  • Symbols in the Stories

–It doesn’t matter if children are verbal or nonverbal – symbols used in the stories do more than help facilitate communication, they also can and should be used to increase understanding.

  • Each story has a page of symbols for lines in the story that are repeated.
  • Symbol Considerations
  • Tangible objects
  • Photos
  • Dual representation symbols
  • Preparing the Story
  • Stories should be in color

–Printed or colored by hand

–Keep colors consistent

–Keep colors simple

  • Use notebooks or other binding
  • Laminate or use page protectors
  • Page fluffers
  • Use props
  • Multiple copies (home and school)
  • Back and forth notebooks
  • Computer storybooks (IntelliKeys)
  • Preparing the Communication Displays
  • Use a modified Fitzgerald keyboard

–O – pronouns and misc words

–P – verbs

–B – adjectives

–G – prepositions

–Y – nouns

  • Implementing Adapted Stories
  • The layering approach (Goossens, 1999) is an excellent way to introduce adapted stories into classrooms.

–Layer 1: Supported Storytelling

–Layer 2: Supported Story Readings

–Layer 3: Supported Story Retelling

–Layer 4: Independent Story Readings

–Layer 5: Supported Story Construction

–Layer 6: Skill Development

  • Layer 1
    Supported Storytelling
  • Use stories from the enjoyment/enrichment list.
  • Focus on content of stories
  • Children may insert small parts of story
  • Primary goal is on building language concepts.
  • Layer 2
    Supported Story Reading
  • Supported (adapted) stories are used.
  • Concentrate on both the meaning and the exact text of the story.
  • Communicate the expectation that the student will eventually be able to “tell” the whole story themselves.
  • Primary focus is building emergent literacy skills (book handling, book reading, linking text with graphics, and building language concepts.)
  • Literacy learning occurs in a more intentional manner – but still highly interactive
  • Implementation
  • Encourage predictions based on the cover
  • Cued reading
  • Highlighting key concepts
  • Modeling communicative interactions
  • Help children predict story text
  • Layer 3
    Supported Story Retelling
  • Use story text to retell the story in song, play and drama.
  • Primary goal is to generalize concepts learned in the story reading and to further enhance the child’s understanding of those concepts
  • Implementation
  • Matching objects to the story

–Pull off symbols


  • Song activities
  • Device
  • Layer 4
    Independent Story Readings
  • Encourage the child to read the story text and/or explore the stories independently

–Story listening from a computer

  • Goal of independent reading is for children to read the text, so you may want to turn down sound (or off)
  • Want a short and simple story line, enlarged text, clear graphics that support the text, and a small vocabulary

–Tape recording

  • Implementation
  • Oral/device reading

–Echo reading

–Choral reading

–Oral cloze procedure

  • Building Literacy

–Visual cloze procedure

–Predicting text

–Predicting story parts

  • Implementation
  • Take home books
  • Back and forth notebook
  • Layer 5
    Supported Story Construction
  • Help children create story innovations by changing the text of the story slightly or by using photographs of the children
  • Child rereads her/his story innovations
  • Implementation
  • Oral/device reading

–Echo reading

–Choral reading

–Oral cloze procedure

  • Building Literacy

–Visual cloze procedure

–Predicting text

–Predicting story parts

  • Implementation
  • Story Innovations
  • Electronic Presentation


  • Layer 6
    Skill Development
  • Word matching
  • Phase/sentence matching
  • Phonemic awareness
  • Recognizing punctuation, etc.
  • Implementation
  • Word play