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Predictable Chart Writing is a shared, group writing activity that results in a classroom book. Engaging in writing is typically a challenging and often abandoned activity for students with significant disabilities. This writing activity has been adapted for students who are unable to speak and unable to hold a pencil. It has been modified from the activities described in Predictable Chart Writing, by Williams, Carson & Dellosa.

What is predictable chart writing?

Predictable chart writing is a fun and easy, shared writing activity that supports emergent and conventional writers and readers. It is a way of providing some structure, while allowing students to generate their own ideas. Many different activities can occur around this predictable chart over a 5-day period. Towards the end of the 5-day process, the result is a student written book for the class library. For students with dedicated AAC systems, this is an ideal activity to support them in using their existing vocabulary (example: favorite foods, favorite places, verb/adjective dictionaries or pages). The following includes a description of the process, along with ideas for adaptations for students with significant disabilities.

Day 1: Write Chart

Materials: Chart Paper & Single Message Devices/Tactuals

  • Introduce topic and give a title, for example: Things to Eat
  • Model and talk as you write first line on chart. I like chocolate. (Ms. H)
  • Take 5 minutes to brainstorm 2-3 ideas with partner and program on device.
    • Adaptation: Sign and/or offer tactual symbols on a choice board (paper, plastic, cans, cash). Record selection on a single message device. Can use tactual comm. symbols.
    • Adaptation: Use partner assisted scanning to list out auditory choices; student uses single message device or “yes” sign to indicate preference
  • Return to large group; students use devices and/or tactual symbols to callout ideas. Teacher writes them up on chart, modeling writing, and including student name in parenthesis. Frequently stops to reread/sign.

Day 2: Reread the Sentences

Materials: Individual Sentences on Strips

  • Reread chart while pointing to each word (can clap/chant/rap/sign)
  • Discuss how readers use an inner voice during reading
  • Ask students about their inner voice. Read each sentence out loud & pause to allow them to read it using their inner voice.
  • Discuss how we use our eyes during reading. Reread each sentence and give students opportunity to point to each word with their eyes or an adapted pointer. Students do not have to physically do this for each word; it is important for them to hear about this and see it modeled.
  • Work with sentences to focus on certain parts of print: (Can do one)
  • Can count the number of words in sentence
  • Adaptation: Use Step by Step for counting or eye gaze to numbers
  • Pick a letter and look for it in a couple sentences
    • Adaptation: Partner assist scan through words-students can use Step by Step with: “that one, that word…”
  • Handout sentence strips with student’s own sentence(s). Give each student opportunity to read their sentence(s) using their inner voice.

Day 3: Working with Cutup Sentences

Materials: 2 Sets of Sentence Strips/Tactualized/Brailled

  • Discuss using inner voice
  • In a group, reread whole chart, pausing to allow them to use their inner voice (Point to each word while you clap/chant/rap/sign)
  • Give out sentence strips
  • Individually, have students “reread” the sentence strips that have their own sentences on them.
  • Cut up one of the sentences into individual words. Students can play with the words to make sentences. The goal of this to support students in understanding that sentences are made left to right; students do not have to create a perfect sentence. Continuously reread what they have written and eventually model writing it correctly for them using the model. a. Adaptations: To offer more auditory feedback, can Velcro each word onto a single message device. Students can move the single message devices around and press them to hear what order the words are in.
  • Partner assisted scanning/eye gaze through words
  • IntelliPics Studio/IntelliTalk II with words from sentence
  • Intellikeys Custom Overlay with Braille

Day 4: Be the Sentence

Materials: Single Message Devices & Individual Tactualized/Brailled Words

  • Read the whole sentence to the group and give them the opportunity to say it in their head. Tell them a group of students are going to get a chance to “be the sentence.”
  • Pick and line up students. (There should be one student for each word in the sentence.)
  • Give each student one single message device with one word of the sentence programmed on it.
  • Teacher can reread the sentence to the group a couple times and ask:
  • Who has the first word?…
  • Encourage the students with single message devices to chime in.
  • Help them to line up in the proper order and have them say and “be the sentence.”
  • Can repeat with a couple sentences.

Day 5: Make a Book

One on one, support students with making their page(s) for the book Light Tech Book Making:

  • Together work with the words or uncut sentence strip and glue down. For students with visual impairments, can have them tactualized and brailled.
  • Offer materials for them to draw a picture for the page. Example: adapted markers, pictures, tactuals, and/or Quick Draw Paper. Electronic Book making:
  • Use sentences student created in IntelliPics Studio or IntelliTalk II
  • Offer banks of pictures for students to select from.
  • For students with visual impairments, can offer music or sound effect choices to accompany page.

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Adapted by Hanser, 2005, from Cunningham, 2001, Hall & Williams, 2001)
This handout is the Intellectual Property of The Center for Literacy and Disability Studies.
Updated 9/2006 For Use in All Classrooms to Facilitate the Development of Exemplary, Research-Based Literacy Practices