Letters from Camp, Day 1

August 20, 2018 by - Leave your thoughts

Letters from Camp, Day 1
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  • Mosquitos and sunscreen
  • Swimming, canoeing, and fishing
  • Frogs, grasshoppers, and lightning bugs
  • Campfires, s’mores, and ghost stories
  • AAC devices and alternative pencils??

ICamp ALECt’s hard to believe that 3 years have gone by since guest author Tina Moreno first shared her experiences at Camp ALEC with our PrAACtical AAC readers. (You can read that article here.) This year, Tina is back to share some of the activities that the staff and volunteers are using to help AAC learners strengthen their skills in reading and writing.

Take a peek at the Day 1 Literacy Activities.


Camp ALEC is underway at beautiful Indian Trails Camp in Grand Rapids, MI this week. Twenty-one campers arrived on Sunday evening to spend the week on their own while engaged in motivating reading and writing activities, plus typical summer camp experiences.  Sixteen educators and speech-language pathologists traveled from as far away as New Zealand to obtain intensive, hands-on instruction on literacy assessment and instructional strategies for individuals with complex communication needs.

On Monday, literacy activities began just after breakfast with an emphasis on determining whether campers had emergent or conventional literacy skills while also getting to know one another.  Here is a sampling of some of the activities that occurred in our groups.

Two Truths and a Lie

Letters from Camp, Day 1
This group of three young men participated in an icebreaker activity in which they brainstormed on two truths and a lie about themselves.  Facilitators Mike and Jackie directed the boys to write two truths and a lie about themselves.  One used the keyboard of his device and two others used handwriting to write after the facilitators wrote their lists.  Using their core vocabulary systems, the boys then participated in a discussion of which statements might be truths and which might be lies of the others and shared more details about the statements they’d written about themselves.

5 Things We Aren’t Looking Forward to at Camp

Letters from Camp, Day 1
Another group had a discussion of things that they were NOT looking forward to at camp after one camper, Emily, shared that she was skeptical that the literacy sessions would be fun. Emily is able to speak verbally, but used the Notes app on her iPad for her writing during this activity.  She is a very confident and eager speaker, but tends to be a reluctant writer, often asking how to spell words.  She was easily redirected during these incidents with comments such as “How do you think it’s spelled?” Others chimed in with their worries too. Paige used her Proloquo4Text app, using the word prediction feature.  The literacy counselor, Sofie, wrote their responses and they discussed similarities and differences in their worries throughout the activity.

Welcome to Camp ALEC

Letters from Camp, Day 1
Katie, a 12-year old camper who uses TouchChat with Wordpower, was asked to write about any topic she chose. She asked to write a story and, when asked to be more specific, she settled on writing a story about Camp ALEC. Her literacy counselor, Megan, asked her whether she’d prefer to use Word or Google Docs. She chose Google Docs and immediately demonstrated her familiarity with this program, formatting and highlighting text.  She was asked to keep writing without stopping.  When she added characters (all campers and counselors) in her story, she ran off and looked at their nametags.  She invited adults to come over to read her passage and she was encouraged to continue writing with prompts such as, “Great! Tell me more.”

Next step—add photos taken at camp to create a story!




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This post was written by Carole Zangari

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