Learning Opportunities

Comprehensive Literacy Instruction for Students with Significant Disabilities

Presented By

Kathy Howery

Series Sessions

Date Time
Tuesday, November 28, 2023 8:30 AM - 12:00 PM
Tuesday, December 19, 2023 3:30 PM - 4:45 PM
Tuesday, January 23, 2024 8:30 AM - 12:00 PM
Tuesday, February 06, 2024 3:30 PM - 4:45 PM
Tuesday, February 27, 2024 8:30 AM - 12:00 PM
Tuesday, March 12, 2024 3:30 PM - 4:45 PM
Tuesday, March 26, 2024 8:30 AM - 12:00 PM
Tuesday, April 16, 2024 3:30 PM - 4:45 PM


Online Via Zoom, Any location, AB

Grade Levels

K-3, Grades 4 - 6, Grades 7 - 9

This series is designed to support teachers in delivering appropriate literacy instruction to students with significant cognitive disabilities, including students with complex communication needs.


Each of the 4 half-day virtual workshops, will be followed up with a one-hour Zoom chat, in order to provide feedback that allows for time for reflection on how things are working out in the classroom and address questions that arise both during the workshops and as you work to implement the instructional practices discussed each session. All sessions will be recorded. Registered particpants will have access to each session recording for 30 days after the session. 


The workshop series will be built around the work of Drs. Karen Erickson & David Koppenhaver while infusing the work and practical expertise of Jane Farrall and others working in this specialized area. Participants are encouraged to purchase the book Comprehensive Literacy for All: Teaching Students with Significant Disabilities to Read and Write by Erickson and Koppenhaver, as it will act as a guidebook to the information provided throughout the series.


Connections to and entry points into the Alberta English Language Arts and Literature curriculum for students with significant disabilities will be explored. Additionally, a specific focus on how the competency progressions can be addressed and expressed will be an important focus of this series.

Students with significant disabilities can and do make progress in gaining language and literacy skills that are identified by the Alberta English Language Arts and Literature curriculum, but their progress may be in much smaller steps and more challenging to identify. 


Participants will explore assessment and evaluation resources that they can use to monitor progress in language and language arts for these students whose progress may be adequately or appropriately identified with standard measures. Participants will also explore ways that assessments can be used to make decisions about assistive technology tools and strategies and their value in providing students who appropriate and meaningful access to language and literacy.

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