Words from Viola Stefano
Being a teacher myself, I realized there existed limited reading resources available for students with low vision, and decided to take matters into my own hands.
I have created Core word reading books’ and resources suitable for students with low vision, without low vision, and for students with different learning styles/needs. In addition, I have developed a Teaching Guide which offers teachers a pedagogical framework within which to operate.
The Teaching Guide is designed to create a common understanding amongst educators around the delivery and application of the Core words – included in my readers. It explains how the readers are organized; and demonstrates Core word progression steps from one reader to the next.
The A.P.P.L.E. (Advanced Performance Planning for Learners and Educators) Core program is designed to teach emergent literacy learners to read. It is aimed at students who are beginning to understand that print conveys a message, and to recognize letters of the alphabet and familiar words (1st year of primary school onward). My program has been developed around 55 Core words, with the focus being that children begin to recognize that the Core words as well as the surrounding words give meaning to sentences; and to use this knowledge to decode unfamiliar texts.
Core Word Reading Books
The Core Word reading books are available in two formats: photo readers with large black on white print, and illustrated readers with large yellow on black print. The content is identical in each format in order to create a fully inclusive experience for all students (the readers can also be used in tandem to better suit the students needs). High contrast colors have been used in the illustrated set of readers, so that students with low vision are presented with a more comfortable ‘reading’ experience. The illustrations and photos used in the readers provide backdrops for the cord words, and are age appropriate for all emergent literacy learners – irrespective of their year level at school (e.g., older students with special needs).