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Dr. Caroline Ramsey Musselwhite

Monday, June 3, 2013

Never Too Late For Literacy

I just received an e-mail with the latest developmental spelling test from a student who graduated from high school last week.  VERY exciting progress in less than two years.

Which makes me think of a question I am OFTEN asked at workshops . . .

Yeah, but . . . if students are in high school and not reading, isn't it time to just stop and focus on life skills?

Not for Ali!

When we started the project in August, 2011, his teacher Jen was determined that she would push for powerful literacy instruction for her students.

And she did.  With varying degrees of success for the students.  But with more engagement in literacy activities for all students.  And some very exciting results for several!

Which brings me to another question . . .

If they only figure out how to do initial letters, what difference does THAT make?

Well, it makes a HUGE difference to Annalise and Elaine (names changed), because they both use augmentative communication.

Now they can give 'initial letter cues'.  Such as:
- animal . . . zoo . . . big . . . R  (rhino)

Or more importantly - when asked, 'Who do you want to record this for you / sit with you / eat with?'
- girl - M (Marcy?  Maria?  not so many girls that start with M in the class!)

So, the two 'take-home' messages are . .

1) Please don't 'give up' because students are in high school . . . or in Adult Day Programs (we'll ask Deanna to write a guest blog on HER amazing literacy successes with adults).

2) A little bit of literacy can be extremely empowering!  This is true for phonics (that initial letter!), writing (sharing thoughts on paper), guided reading (increasing your understanding of text), and self-selected reading (learning how to choose and enjoy texts).

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