2004 Conference Proceedings

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Jean Slater
Slater Software, Inc.
351 Badger Lane
Guffey, CO 80820
Phone: 719-479-2255
Fax: 719-479-2254
Email: jean@slatersoftware.com

Literature Response Logs are often required of students in grades 4-8. This strategy helps students connect new learning to their experiences, and is especially effective when classes study classic literature. Retelling a story is a large part of those journals. Retelling events and talking about books are critical activities which solidify comprehension, expand vocabularies, improve critical thinking, and address all areas of language. Brown and Cambourne (Read and Retell) found that all areas of language development improve when children tell about what they read in books. Tremendous growth is seen when the children retell in written form.

During the introduction to this presentation we will discuss what is retelling, what is involved in helping students develop this skill, and give concrete suggestions and best practices for including lessons aimed at improving retelling during reading instruction. Attendees will then learn how we can facilitate this skill development in students with disabilities in inclusive settings. Materials and strategies will be shared with the group showing how adaptations can insure success and growth.

Teachers working with older elementary and middle school special education students search, often in vain, for materials which will allow their students to participate alongside typical peers. The reading requirements of the curriculum generally far exceed their students' literacy levels, so teachers are required to adapt every assignment.

Books which have earned The Newberry Medal and other which have been included on favorites and curricular lists will be shared as attendees learn about timesaving adaptations, ways to reduce the vocabulary load while reading higher-level literature, and strategies for assessing comprehension. Using picture-supported materials and PixWriter vocabulary setups, the students will be able to relate the story and characters to their own lives and experiences, answer literal and inferential questions about the story, and build their vocabularies.

The adaptations shown will be varied and applicable for use with children with various disabilities. Visual materials for children with cognitive, learning, or neurological delays give students the supports needed to make sense of print. Voice-output reinforces a student's written production, allows for repeated readings by the computer to help comprehension, and provides a way for students to communicate their knowledge of the story to others.

At the end of the session, four lucky drawing winners will receive complete Literature Response Log kits--book, chapter summaries, vocabulary activities, and comprehension questions.

The participant will:

  1. be able to explain the importance of retelling,
  2. understand modifications that enable students to write about a story, theme or characters, and
  3. learn how Read and Tell can save them time while ensuring student success with age-appropriate literature lessons.

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