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Literacy for Children with Combined Vision and Hearing Loss

Strategy 6: Take time to teach vocabulary in preparation for an activity (pre-teach) and review vocabulary following the activity

What to Do

  • Choose an activity that is relevant and of interest to the child (e.g. make soup for lunch)
  • Think about all the words used as part of the activity and list them (e.g. can of soup, pan, water, spoon, can opener, stove, turn on/off, heat, hot, flame, open, stir, pour, throw away, measure, bowl, delicious, yucky, cautionary words such as sharp, burn, spill)
  • Show the child the items to be used in the activity and allow the child to explore them
  • Introduce the activity by describing what you will be doing. This could include writing out simple instructions using the child's preferred representation mode (e.g. objects, tactile symbols, print, braille)
  • Review words that are known and relate to previous actions/activities
  • Introduce unknown vocabulary (e.g. show items, demonstrate actions)
  • Match new vocabulary words to their representation (e.g. objects, tactile pictures, print, braille)
  • Complete the activity, emphasizing the new vocabulary words
  • Find ways to review new vocabulary by embedding it into other routines (e.g. opening other cans, turning lights on/off, talking about favorite foods)
  • Consider creating a conversation box relating to the activity

Things to Consider

  • Have you determined which words are already known and which will need to be taught? 
  • Does the child know the concept of the words in the activity?
  • Are you using partial participation to allow the child to be engaged in the activity?
  • Are you allowing enough wait (pause) time to allow the child to process the information?
  • Are you allowing enough practice time between introductions of new words? Finding balance between providing rich vocabulary and overwhelming the child?
  • Have you considered expanding learning by guiding the child through "reading" a set of simple instructions, emphasizing new vocabulary and exposing the child to higher level representation modes (e.g. tactile symbols, print, braille)?


Always Ask Yourself