I rely heavily on the Pioneer Valley Book Builder subscription to create books for the children I work with. You can put a child’s name into the program and print out a book at the child’s guided reading level with their name within the text. This is a great resource, especially during this time of quarantine. As I was exploring the site the other day I came upon their Digital Reader, which is currently free. It allows you to access books digitally at your child’s specific reading level (they also have a free assessment if you are not sure where to start). There are even videos for some of the books that will guide the students through introducing the book, word work connected with the book, as well as writing connections with the book.
As I watched my own kindergarten daughter participate in this virtual guided reading lesson from guided reading guru Jan Richardson, I couldn’t help but think of Joey – can these resources work for him as well?
I’m hopeful this resource may provide a great opportunity for Joey to experience quality guided reading lessons while he is at home. His family can play the book introduction and put the book on a large screen for him to read – this means nobody has to hold the book up for him and the words (depending on the screen used) will automatically be larger.
Joey can use his device to read the beginning of the repeated, short sentences one each page (taking turns with his family so he does not get exhausted by the repetition). Most of the words on the pages are on his device. If Joey is resistant to reading the words on his device, he can read it silently in his head while someone points to each word on the screen. Afterwards, his communication partner can ask him questions about the story – “What is dad eating?” “What does Dad like?” and he can answer using the device.
The videos do ask for a child to have a whiteboard and marker with them so they can write – but instead of writing Joey can be asked to find those letters on his QWERTY keyboard on his device.
The teacher asks “read this with me” or “say this with me”. The video can be paused so that Joey can make that sentence on his device, or he can at least find a target word on his device. If the sentence is “I like to eat apples”, Joey can find the word “like” on his device. As the recording asks for responses, the family member can pause it to give Joey the wait time needed to answer the question on his device. The lessons include a word study component, which Joey can participate in with his device.
It may take some adapting to make the videos interactive for Joey and students like him, but it could be a great resource to keep reading skills going during this time. It also gives him access to excellent grade-level instruction via the video, asking him exactly what would be asked of a typically developing kindergarten student. Because it is in an individual setting, the pace will be able to be slowed down to allow Joey to respond with his device – adapting the pace but not the content.
I hope this will let Joey and other kids like him practice some of their skills.