2001 Conference Proceedings
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HANDS-ON LITERACY - READING AND WRITING FOR PRIMARY
Director of Curriculum Development
1720 Corporate Circle
Petaluma, CA 94954
Product Development and Training Specialist
In this session, participants will be introduced to two
important tools that provide success for early readers. A
research-based reading program with a balanced literacy approach,
IntelliTools Reading: Balanced Literacy(TM), and IntelliTalk
II(R), a talking word processor with graphic support. These tools
offer a rich instructional environment to support ongoing
language arts instruction and to provide accessible learning
activities for all students.
Reading is a crucial part of the learning process. Many children
need extra support as they acquire the skills and experiences
that will make them successful and confident readers. Because of
physical or developmental disabilities, some children may be
unable to hold a book or pencil, or handle a standard keyboard.
Others may need extra visual or auditory reinforcement. Still
others may need structured practice to master basic
IntelliTools Reading was designed for all students, including
those with physical or cognitive disabilities. IntelliTools
Reading provides a balanced approach to early literacy
instruction for beginning readers. It integrates guided reading,
supported writing, and word study or phonics activities. Nine
units, built around animal themes, engage students in a yearlong
program designed to support and supplement their classroom
language arts curriculum. Students with disabilities are often at
a disadvantage, as they can not access traditional reading
programs or writing tools. IntelliTools Reading is completely
accessible to children with special needs, including physical or
learning disabilities and developmental delays.
The development of literacy skills in school-age children has
become a national priority. A successful reading program must
contain many important components that offer instruction in
phonics, word identification, reading of connected text, the
chance to read self-selected text and opportunities for the
student to express themselves in writing. All of these components
are unified into a seamless, theme-based instructional
IntelliTools Reading contains all of these important components
of a successful program. It features:
IntelliTalk II is an interactive, talking word processor. It is
designed to help students meet the challenges of reading and
writing and experience success by giving each student the support
they need. It is a fully accessible program allowing students to
practice their writing skills using a standard keyboard,
IntelliKeys, mouse, and switches. By using IntelliTalk II with
its overlays for IntelliKeys, on-screen palettes, and
opportunities for cooperative learning, all students are provided
with rich opportunities to write.
- Colorfully illustrated Anchor Books that contain predictable
text, repetition, rhyme, and music.
- Pattern Books that reinforce sight words and common sentence
- Onset and Rime Songs and Books increasing phonemic
- Decodable Books providing additional reading practice and
- Word study activities, using an onset and rime approach,
building on the latest research in phonics instruction.
- Structured writing activities helping beginning writers build
fluency and motivation as they build sentences a word at a
- Writing with letters providing spelling practice.
- Songs, animations, guided explorations, review activities and
games providing motivation and engaging students.
IntelliTalk II contains the following important features:
All text can be read aloud, letter-by-letter, word-by-word,
sentence-by-sentence, or in its entirety, giving Auditory support
for writers and ensuring that instructions and choices can be
both read and heard.
Graphics can be integrated into documents, providing support for
beginning readers and enhancing the flexibility of the program to
create learning activities, quizzes, and student reports.
The Palettes feature of the program enables you to support
student writing by creating word banks, answer choices, text
chunks. These palettes can also be scanned with a switch or used
to make IntelliKeys overlays.
Text in documents and templates can be locked, so that the same
template can be used by many students without overwriting the
activity that has been created.
Answer fields can be placed within locked text to provide space
for student responses in predictable places.
Student documents can be organized by groups (such as classes)
and into individual folders, making it easy for you to create
student writing portfolios for ongoing assessment.
IntelliTalk II also encourages cooperative learning in the
classroom. IntelliTalk II can be used in a regular classroom, a
full inclusion setting, a lab setting, or a resource program.
Students can work independently or cooperatively in the various
IntelliTalk II fosters independence. The activities included
with the program guide students through a variety of writing
activities, quizzes, games, and reports. Teacher's can
individualize the activities provided in the program so that each
student is working at his or her optimum level.
Using the Writing Resource CD: Graphics and Writing
IntelliTalk II is an ideal tool to use to extend and reinforce
the reading and writing activities presented in IntelliTools
Reading. IntelliTalk II is a powerful mechanism for developing
and delivering customized curriculum activities. IntelliTools
Reading has carefully constructed lessons that provide a wealth
of activities that can be expanded and extended for additional
classroom practice. The two programs work hand-in-hand to allow
teachers to offer their students a comprehensive reading and
writing program that is correlated with national standards.
The Writing Resource CD contains 40-50 writing activities for
use with IntelliTalk II and hundreds of program graphics to
support them. These writing activities correlate with each of the
nine units of IntelliTools Reading and provide lesson plans for
using the activities.
The Writing Resource CD also contains a valuable and extensive
collection of hundreds of graphic images from the program.
Teachers can use these graphics to create their own worksheets,
word cards, posters, and activities.
This workshop will focus on the activity templates on the
Writing Resource CD as well as strategies for modifying them,
customizing activities to meet the specific needs of the student,
and creating additional extension activities. Participants will
be introduced to several IntelliTalk II templates that use
concepts and content from the reading program. They will explore
the templates and learn how to modify them in a variety of
The reading program is geared toward students at a first grade
reading program. Using the Writing Resource CD templates,
teachers can take advantage of the flexible structure and design
of these templates to create activities that are appropriate for
older students. Or, the templates can be modified to work with
other stories, writing, or word study work that you already use
with your students.
The Writing Resource CD templates give teachers the ability to
adapt and extend any reading programs that their school may have
adopted. It also gives them the power to take a program that is
not accessible and build in accessibility for IntelliKeys and
switch users. No longer do teachers have to feel frustrated with
the lack of accessible reading materials. No longer do students
need to feel limited by their physical or cognitive
The templates on the Writing Resource CD cover a range of
lessons. Participants will explore activities that incorporate
creating words by matching an onset with a rime. An onset is
defined as the first consonant or consonant cluster at the
beginning of a single syllable word. A rime begins with the first
vowel in a single syllable word. Writing with onsets and rimes
provides exposure to many words beginning with the target onset
sound. It allows students to practice with letter/sound
correspondence and it trains students to see onset and rime
sounds in the context of connected text.
Participants will use templates that allow a student to write
word-by-word, helping the student develop an awareness of
language patterns, develop sequencing and syntactic skills,
develop writing fluency by selecting a whole word at a time, and
providing an opportunity for immediate feedback and
Participants will have an opportunity to use letter-by-letter
writing templates that provide practice with decodable words and
writing fluency. These activities also give spelling practice and
the opportunity to write words more freely.
In using these templates, participants will learn the many
options built into IntelliTalk II that allow them to modify,
customize and extend an activity. They will learn how to
customize fonts and voices to provide a lively environment for
student writing and playwriting.
They will learn how to import their own graphics and digital
images to create an activity that has a content level appropriate
for a beginning reader but an interest level appropriate for the
They will learn how to modify on-screen palettes, picture items,
and actions to incorporate many different areas of study. Writing
is not just confined to language arts; it can extend to other
subject areas such as math, social studies, and science.
IntelliTools Reading: Balanced Literacy and IntelliTalk II are
powerful programs. The materials and lessons included in these
programs are intended to help the student be an involved and
effective learner. Their true power is evident in the excitement
that takes place when students use these activities to write,
communicate, report on learning, and explore ideas!
Teachers who attend this session will learn about the successful
NIH-funded research that led to the development of IntelliTools
Reading and see the finished product. Attendees will also see
writing activities that correlate with the IntelliTools Reading
content, using IntelliTalk II, a multimedia word processor, and a
Resource CD that includes 45 writing activities and hundreds of
program graphics to support them . The presenters will show how
these activities can be adapted for individual student
Participants will receive a research report, sample lessons, and
a demo CD (fully functional except for printing and saving) that
will allow them to review and share what they have learned.
Programs are available for both Macintosh and Windows platforms.
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