Implementation of "Letters Alive" to help moderately impairted students learn to read and comprehend

Educator Name: Kristin Rose-Smith
School Name: Emerson Middle School


Hello, I am Kris Rose-Smith and I teach in a program for moderately mentally impaired (MOCI) students at Emerson Middle School in Livonia. My students function educationally at approximately 1/2 their chronological age. As a result when they reach the middle school at age 12 many of our students are either at a pre-reader (age 5) or emergent reader (age 6) level. Learning to read can be difficult for a mentally impaired student. The traditonal reading programs of group lessons and memorizing facts are not effective with this group. They need multisensory opportunities to learn and retain reading skills. A colleague of mine at another school was chosen as a Seed Program for a new device that allows students to be actively involved in there reading lessons. It is a very 21 Century instructional program using Augmented Reality Technology. Her students are actively involved in the learning process using this program called "Letters Alive" created by Logical Choice Technologies. It is designed to work with a document camera, interactive whiteboard and laptop. It comes with 26 animal cards ( one for each letter of the Alphabet )that pop up in 3-D animated images. Students combine the animal cards with 94 sight word cards to create four-word sentences.

I watched students in Ms. Goggola's class (with similar impairements to my students) be mesmerized as the 3D images of the animals come alive on the white board in her room. They became totally engaged in identifying the animal and pushing the buttons that allow them to hear the sounds the main letter makes and how it appears in upper and lower case letters. Each animal can also be asked simple questions about themselves. Can you swim, a giraffe shakes it's head no, if asked can it run, the giraffe starts running on the screen.

I will use this program in small groups of 6 to 8 learners at a time to service 33 children in 3 classrooms. The learners are moderately cognitively impaired learners, autistically impaired learners some of whom may havesecondary impairments of a physical nature.