“If all children are to learn, all teachers much teach everything.
When teaching literacy, this includes working with words, self-selected reading, shared or guided reading, and writing.”
– Karen Erickson and David Koppenhaver
Who are conventional readers and writers?
Emergent literacy refers to all of the actions, understandings and misunderstandings of learners engaged in experiences that involve print creation or use (Koppenhaver & Erickson, 2003, p. 283). These experiences are not only necessary but closely related to later literacy outcomes (Justice and Kaderavek, 2004).
Conventional literacy refers to reading and writing that follow the form, content, and use of standard conventions (Koppenhaver, 2000). It is built on discoveries and understandings made during the emergent literacy phase of development.
According to the National Reading Panel report (NRP; NICHD, 2000), in order to produce and understand conventional literacy an individual must develop phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension of connected text. Conventional literacy requires the simultaneous and integrated use of these skills to independently construct a message that can be accurately interpreted by other conventional readers (Koppenhaver, 2000). –(from Research-Based Practices for Creating Access to the General Curriculum in Reading and Literacy for Students with Significant Intellectual Disabilities. Karen Erickson, Ph.D., Gretchen Hanser, Ph.D., Penelope Hatch, Ph.D., Eric Sanders, M.S./CCC-SLP, 2009.)
- know most of the letters most of the time
- engage actively during shared reading
- have a means of communication and interactions
- understand that writing involves letters and words
It is important to remember that answering ‘yes’ to all of the above questions does not necessarily mean that is student is at a conventional literacy level but indicates that they are ready to move to the conventional set of interventions.
Where can I learn more?
Literacy, Assistive Technology, and Students with Significant Disabilities.
Karen A. Erickson, Penelope Hatch, and Sally Clendon, Focus on Exceptional Children, Volume 42, Number 5, 2010.
Research Based Practices for Creating Access to the General Curriculum in Reading and Literacy for Students with Significant Intellectual Disabilities
Karen Erickson, Ph.D., Gretchen Hanser, Ph.D., Penelope Hatch, Ph.D., Eric Sanders, M.S./CCC-SLP, 2009.
Comprehensive Literacy for All is written by Karen Erickson and David Koppenhaver. This is the new version of Children with Disabilities: Reading and Writing the Four-Blocks Way, which was used by the Literacy for All community of practice.
“Literacy improves lives—and with the right instruction and supports, all students can learn to read and write. That’s the core belief behind this teacher-friendly handbook, your practical guide to providing comprehensive, high-quality literacy instruction to students with significant disabilities. Drawing on decades of classroom experience, the authors present their own innovative model for teaching students with a wide range of significant disabilities to read and write print in grades preK–12 and beyond. Foundational teaching principles blend with concrete strategies, step-by-step guidance, and specific activities, making this book a complete blueprint for helping students acquire critical literacy skills they’ll use inside and outside the classroom.” (Published 2020)
Preview Comprehensive Literacy for All here.