Type of Culminating Activity

Graduate Student Project

Graduation Date


Degree Title

Masters of Arts in Education


Special And Early Childhood Education

Major Advisor

Jack Hourcade


The acquisition of functional reading skills is a critical educational outcome for all students, as these skills enhance the likelihood of both subsequent academic achievement as well as post-school success and maximal independence in adulthood. While some students with more severe manifestations of autism and intellectual impairment may not be able to attain the highest levels of academic literacy (the ability to understand and use sophisticated written academic material), functional literacy is an appropriate goal for all, as it facilitates student ability to independently and productively live, work, and engage in their community. It is important that teachers teach the essential components of reading, including phonics and phonemic awareness, even to students with significant learning challenges. This handbook is written for educators who teach students between the ages of 6 and 10 years old who have moderate to severe autism and associated significant deficits in reading. Focusing on basic phonemic awareness and phonics, the handbook provides (a) a list of books that are high-interest, colorful, and have minimal words; (b) lesson plans for teaching phonics using discrete trial methods; and (c) a list of augmentative alternative communication devices, computer aided programs, toys, and other materials which can be adapted for reading instruction.

Teaching Emergent Literacy Skills - Handbook.pdf (1367 kB)
Teaching Emergent Literacy Skills - Handbook.pdf