AARC Tip of the Month - March 2017
Encouraging Literacy
Encouraging Literacy in Children on the Autism Spectrum
From Anne Freitag: SESA/AARC Librarian

Literacy is key to learning for every student. Good reading skills help students find information, entertain themselves, and to continue learning in school or independently. Literacy is a tool that will enhance every student's life.

Some students need to use adapted methods for reading (braille, audio books, and so on), and some students may need adapted methods of teaching. There are adaptations to reading instruction that work very well for students on the autism spectrum, and that also enhance the lesson for the other students in the classroom.

Kelly Whalon (and others, article cited below) describe methods for shared reading that involve all the students in the class. This technique, an adaptation of dialogic reading, encourages joint attention (where the students interact with each other and with objects), social sharing, and use of language and communication. The authors provide examples of prompting, questions, and other activities that may be used during group reading sessions to adapt the session to the needs of a student on the spectrum in ways that will also add to the experience for the other students in the class.

Paula Kluth and Kelly Chandler-Olcott also believe (article cited below) that the adaptations for a student on the spectrum make for a good experience for all students in the classroom. For example, if a child uses a communication device, the other students could also use images from that device to respond to questions. Or, during a group reading session, all children could hold up picture cards relating to the story.

Reading is so important for all our students. There are some wonderful and inclusive ideas detailed in the articles and books below.

Sources can be found at http://lam.alaska.gov/eresources:
  1. AKIN, L; MACKINNEY, D. Autism, Literacy, and Libraries. Children & Libraries: The Journal of the Association for Library Service to Children. 2, 2, 35-43, 2004. ISSN: 15429806.
  2. CHANDLER-OLCOTT, K; KLUTH, P. Why Everyone Benefits from Including Students with Autism in Literacy Classrooms. Reading Teacher. 62, 7, 548-557, Apr. 1, 2009. ISSN: 0034-0561.
  3. WHALON, K; DELANO, M; HANLINE, MF. A Rationale and Strategy for Adapting Dialogic Reading for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: RECALL. Preventing School Failure. 57, 2, 93-101, Jan. 1, 2013. ISSN: 1045-988X.
Upcoming AARC and Community Events:
Learn about Dani's life and achievements as a young woman with autism: presentation and Q & A at each site
live streaming:
Juneau, Nome,
and Wasilla
are available for parents to attend the live streaming sessions for this special education law training! Applications are due TOMORROW, 3/10!
Awareness event and fundraiser to supply libraries in Alaska with books about autism
Awareness event and fundraiser to supply libraries in Alaska with books about autism
All ages concert and fundraiser
Awareness event and fundraiser - order your t-shirt by April 2nd!
21+ concert and fundraiser
Books of the Month:
The books of the month are available in the Special Education Service Agency (SESA) Library. Search for books on the  SESA website, or contact our Librarian, Anne Freitag, at  afreitag@sesa.org  or  907-334-1301 

Electronic books may be accessed from anywhere in the state. If you've used our ebooks before,  go to the login page here.  If you haven't, please contact Anne so she can set up a username and password for you.  
Click here for more information about ebooks.

You can also look for additional articles in a variety of databases by using SLED, which is available for free for all Alaskans:  http://lam.alaska.gov/sled
A Land We Can Share: Teaching literacy to students with autism
By: Paula Kluth and Kelly Chandler-Olcott
P.H. Brookes Pub., c2008.
ISBN:   9781557668554

Description: "... moves beyond "sight words" and other functional literacy skills and provides the know-how for bringing quality, meaningful literacy instruction to students with autism. ... focuses specifically on ways in which educators can improve literacy outcomes for students with autism spectrum disorders in Grades K-12 classrooms..." - publisher's website.
How Do I Teach This Kid to Read? Teaching literacy skills to young children with autism, from phonics to fluency
By:  Kimberly A. Henry
Future Horizons, c2010.
ISBN:  9781935274148
Description: "...This book presents simple instructional strategies that can be used to help develop early literacy skills in young children with autism. ... provides dozens of fine-tuned, easily adaptable activities that teachers and parents can implement separately or in infinite combinations. Included are units on phonemic awareness, vocabulary, comprehension, and fluency. Kim also lists numerous other resources you can use to supplement the lessons..." - publisher.
Quality literacy instruction for students with autism spectrum disorders
Edited By:  Christina Carnahan and Pamela Williamson
Foreward by: Kathleen Quill
AAPC Textbooks, 2010.
ISBN:  9781934575666

Description: "Having effective literacy skills enhances the quality of life of all individuals, including those with autism spectrum disorders. Bringing together experts from both the autism and reading fields, this textbook supports professionals and families alike in building lifelong literacy instruction geared to the needs of students on the autism spectrum. Using case examples, the textbook brings theory and research to practice, thus meeting the mandate for evidence-based practice." - publisher's website.
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