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Topic 1: Books For Learning/Books For Enjoyment

Case Examples

Example: Using Books For Learning

On NCIP's Early Childhood Guided Tour, let's look at Story Time in Barbara's Classroom. As shown in the video clips, Barbara has used various media to create both electronic and hard copy books about Forgetful bear, a character from Pati King-DeBaun's Storytime series. Barbara reflects on some of the features she chose to incorporate into her teacher-made story, such as repeated language patterns, use of simple text (reinforcing basic sight words and familiar vocabulary). Note that Barbara also featured her students in the story.

Use the Books For Learning Checklist to search for other features, such as familiar and meaningful context, rhyme and rhythm, simple graphics, and large text. This would be a great time to link to the Creative Communicating site to learn about other books that feature Forgetful bear, such as "Forgetful's Secret" and "Time for School."

Example: Choosing Books

Both of the classrooms on the NCIP Early Childhood Guided Tour comment on the issue of free choice. In the section entitled Free Choice in Barbara's classroom, Barbara gives an example of how Sabrina, an engaging five-year-old girl with cerebral palsy, uses an eye-gaze board to choose activities. On one occasion, she has looked at the picture of Bobby, Bobby, What Can You Do?, her favorite electronic storybook. As children like Sabrina begin to develop independence, we need to think of strategies for offering independent choicemaking. See also Free Choice in Susan's Classroom. Here are a few ideas:

Choosing via devices:

A student might have storybooks stored into their communication devices, with a single key or switch press used to move to the page where the storybook is stored. This is particularly easy with dynamic screen devices. However, many other devices may be set up to move from a choicemaking page to a page with a story. For example, the SuperHawk (AdamLab) can accomplish this through the use of <go-to> commands. First, the student has a page that shows several story titles. If she presses the picture representing the book "Moonbear Loves Books," the <go-to> command will go to the page where the vocabulary for that book is stored, with text for a single page in each cell. Then a command called <list> can be used to enable the student to use a single switch to listen to each page of the book in order (For instructions, see "Magic Tricks: Devices: SuperHawk - Single Switch Listing, in Emergent Literacy Success, p. 321).

Choosing via computers:

Several software programs, such as Kid Desk (Edmark) and Knowledge Navigator (Assistive Technology, Inc.) permit the adult to develop a screen of "buttons" that students can use to select software that they like, including storybook software. For example, Barbara might include the Storytime Tales (Don Johnston), the Living Book Just Grandma and Me (Broderbund), and Storytime Songbook(Creative Communicating) on one screen. A child who can use a mouse simply clicks on the picture of the story they want, and that software launches. For a switch user, such as Sabrina, a "scanning set-up" can be created, using tools such as Ke:nx (Don Johnston) or ClickIt (IntelliTools). Now Sabrina presses her switch and software choices are indicated by a cursor or a box around the item. When Sabrina presses her switch, the software launches.

More Discussion of Free Choice:

Both Barbara and Susan offer insights on free choice in their guided tours. This is a very important issue, and especially challenging for students with disabilities! As Barbara points out, classroom aides can make the difference in helping all children to have full access to materials, including materials for making choices.


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This material was developed by the National Center to Improve Practice (NCIP), located at Education Development Center, Inc. in Newton, Massachusetts.  NCIP was funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs from October 1, 1992 - September 30, 1998, Grant #H180N20013.  Permission is granted to copy and disseminate this information.  If you do so, please cite NCIP.   Contents do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Department of Education, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by NCIP, EDC, or the U.S. Government.  This site was last updated in September 1998.

ŠEducation Development Center, Inc.