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Social Scripts is an approach to scaffold beginning communicators with having successful communication interactions with multiple turns. Developed by Caroline Musselwhite, social scripts simulate a conversation and are often done using sequenced listing devices, such as the Step by Step.

Click here to learn about Social Scripts and other Step by Step Activities

Partner Assisted Scanning is a way for communication “partners” to “assist” students by listing or “scanning” through possible choices. This is a quick strategy to use when a communication device is not available or does not have the needed vocabulary.

Click here to download the Top 10 Tips for Partner Assisted Scanning


Shared Reading is a fun, interactive time where an adult and student read together. Adults help students learn critical language skills, what books are for and how they are used. Shared reading is an ideal time for students with significant disabilities to learn how to communicate. In addition to have access to good vocabulary words, the use of generic, open ended messages can be useful. Messages such as, “What is that?” or “awesome!” can facilitate multiple communication opportunities throughout a book.

Generic Reading Overlay-BW Click here to download the Generic Reading Interaction Overlay

Guided Reading is a way for teachers to provide reading comprehension instruction to students who are early conventional readers. Teachers are learning a variety of instructional strategies, including comprehension lessons based on a before-during-after approach. Click to download the lesson templates.

Self Selected Reading is a time for students to explore and read books independently. For students who are unable to hold a book, Tarheel Reader is an easy-to-use, free internet based book collection. It contains hundreds of simple, age appropriate books for students of any age who are very beginning readers. The books can be accessed using switches or the IntelliKeys. Many of the classrooms are using this site to give their students access to easy books. For more information, go to


Writing is undeniably an essential component of communication and literacy instruction for students without disabilities. Many of the students in the classrooms are unable to hold a pencil and as a result need an alternative way to write with the alphabet. To address this challenge, the alternative pencils listed below have been demonstrated and are now being used successfully in the classrooms for early emergent writing activities.

Print Alphabet Flip Chart is an alternative pencil. Students write with the flip chart using a partner assisted scanning technique to select letters. The partner scans through the letter choices and the student uses a device or physical response to indicate the letter they want.

Individual Alphabet Print Flip To learn more about instructions, strategies and activities, download the Print Flip Chart Guide.

Color-Coded Alphabet Eye Gaze Frame is an alternative pencil. Students write with the alphabet frame by eye gazing at particular letters on the frame. The pencil is used with a partner who interprets the student’s eye gaze and then records the student’s selection.

Alphabet Eye Gaze Frame-CC Cards To learn more about instructions, strategies and activities, download the Alphabet Eye Gaze Frame Guide.

Emergent Writing is the type of writing that very beginning writers engage in. Many of the students in the classrooms are very beginning, emergent writers who are now having opportunities to write for the very first time. The teachers are beginning to implement very simple, early writing activities, such as journaling, sign in, picture captions etc. To learn more, download Emergent Writing Activities.

Click here to learn more about Writing with Alternative Pencils! by the Center for Literacy & Disability Studies

Visit the Center for Literacy & Disability Studies Deaf-Blind Teacher Resource Page for more lesson and adaptation ideas.