2004 Conference Proceedings

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John Crick
Crick Software Inc.
50 116th Avenue SE, Suite 211
Bellevue, WA 98004
Phone: 866-33-CRICK
Email: Johnc@cricksoft.com

Early readers and writers need rich and engaging literacy materials that are also carefully structured and leveled. For students who are physically challenged, these materials need to be fully accessible if they are to have equal access to learning.

Research has shown that children who cannot hold a book and turn its pages are at a serious disadvantage - it is vital to give all students access to books as early as possible. In addition, many students with disabilities are unable to take part in the regular reading and pre-reading activities, such as pointing to words and sounding out words. These students need accessible on-screen activities if they are to achieve these learning objectives.

Planet Wobble is a carefully leveled series of books and activities for early readers. The books are provided on-screen as well as in printed format. The on-screen versions can be read aloud with real speech, and because they are built in Clicker, they are fully switch accessible. Switch users can turn the pages, play the sound and even start the animations, all through the same child-friendly interface used by their able-bodied peers. This is a truly inclusive series that is very popular in regular education, yet has been designed to give equal access to all.

The stories are based around six children, who take part in the kind of activities enjoyed by children everywhere. They all live on Planet Wobble - this is quite similar to Earth, but everything is a little different (including Holly's wheelchair), ensuring that children from any background can relate to the stories.

The books are complemented by a huge range of carefully designed reading and writing activities, all supported with speech. All the activities are fully accessible and cover a range of ability levels. They start with simple matching activities, then progress to word recognition and spelling. Comprehension activities encourage students to respond to characters and events in the books, and writing grids enable children to compose their own stories based on the theme of the book.

The Planet Wobble series has a strong emphasis on essential high frequency words, both in the stories and in the supporting activities. This helps children to move along the path to becoming fluent readers, as they learn to recognize these words automatically, an essential skill if they are to be able to tackle even simple texts. The high frequency words are put into a meaningful context, rather than teaching them in isolation, an approach strongly supported by research identified by the National Reading Panel.

There is overwhelming evidence to show that we learn best when we are actively involved in the learning process. That's why it is so important for all students to access books and reading activities for themselves from an early age. At this presentation you will see the range of superbly illustrated stories, and learn how the differentiated literacy activities will benefit your students.

Take the trip with us to Planet Wobble to see this exciting and innovative new series that enables all students to become actively involved in their learning.

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