PrAACtically Reading with Karen Natoci: Hello, Holidays!

November 30, 2017 by - Leave your thoughts

PrAACtically Reading with Karen Natoci: Hello, Holidays!
A- A+

PrAACtically Reading with Karen Natoci: Hello, Holidays!Getting ready for the holidays? Karen Natoci has some ideas and downloadable materials to help you plan your therapy and instruction. In today’s post, she shares some PowerPoint books (with audio) that you can download and use, as well as activity suggestions. Karen has supported AAC learners in different capacities throughout her career and is currently an AAC Supervisor with The Speech Pathology Group in Walnut Creek, California. Enjoy!

PrAACtically Reading: Hello, Holidays!

Books:  Holiday Themed Powerpoint stories (downloadable)

This month I want to share a wonderful way to integrate reading through the use of seasonal materials that are meaningful and emotional. This activity works well in preschool and elementary classrooms through the continued sharing of life from home to school.  What could be more fun than sharing holiday traditions through the creation of a power point book! Please download and use the power point stories. Include family input so that you can create a personalized book containing interactive, sensory-rich experiences. The plan is to use these materials to communicate (through reading, writing, and multi-modal conversation) in the classroom environment. This is easily adapted to the classroom with older students as well.  These suggestions are meant for those who are at emergent levels of communicating, who benefit from shared context with their communication partner and who are moving across all levels of The Communication Matrix.  This activity allows practice using a variety of reasons for communicating:  refuse/reject, like, obtain, socialize/share, exchange information.   This activity is wonderful across all preschool and kindergarten classrooms.  If you have access to upper-class/older students in a service learning class, they may want to help enrich the experiences below by using battery interrupters so that some of the holiday toys shared by the students can be accessed via an access switch (with family permission, of course.)

Competency Areas:


  • Core Vocabulary Focus:  I, you, do, me, my, put, it, on, like, big, small, same, different, more, what, see, look, wow, uh-oh, where, pretty, ugly, that, not turn, on, not, not-like, love, oops;
  • Fringe Vocabulary Focus:  family, lights, red, yellow, gold, (other color names), hook, hang, tree, needles, plug, other nouns;
  • Actions:  put, put on, off, turn on/off, twinkle, new, old, touch, smell, see, hear, listen, shake, put in,
  • Syntax: Provide co-construction support, model back using one more word;

Strategic/Social:  Students will express a variety of communicative modalities to:

  • Share meaningful, familiar holiday ornaments and objects from home;
  • Use modalities that help the listener
    • Know that they have something to say (initiate interactions)
    • Contribute new information (share) by using their AAC systems,
    • Support others.

Last month we talked about reaching out to those at home to prom to bring the most familiar topic (our families) to the classroom during the shared reading of The Family Book (Todd Parr).  The holidays are a wonderful way to continue sharing our home traditions with each other in the classroom. This includes sharing tangible objects that are personal, emotional, and meaningful and through this, let the language and literacy flow!


PrAACtically Reading with Karen Natoci: Hello, Holidays!Right after Thanksgiving, send a letter home (or use the communication method that works best) to learn of the following:

  1. Family traditions – try to use each of the senses:
    1. Auditory: Holiday songs?
    2. Smell/Taste: Any baking, favorite meals?
    3. Visual/Listening: Movies watched?
    4. Social/Emotional: Visitors?
    5. All senses: Top 5 ornaments and decorations?
  2. Ask the families to either send in the objects (or samples) or a photo for you to print, embed in a personal story (via powerpoint, printed).

SECOND:  SHARE THE OBJECTS DURING SHARED WRITING (and to prep for the power point story): (The content for Whole Class Power Point might be planned by completing a form like thisJ


PPT Page # Student Favorite Holiday item/activity Text Inserted Photo Object for sensory tables!
1 Jim Candy canes Jim likes candy canes. Candy cane Candy canes
2 Sue Cookies Sue likes cookies. Cookies baked at home Sample of cookies
3 Berry Dancing snowman Berry likes the Dancing Snowman. Dancing snowman Sent to school to share


During the sharing activity, write it down to model writing each sentence (see the yellow part of the chart.)  Each of these sentences now, becomes a page in the story!

PREP for Shared Reading through the creation of a power point:  Each page from the Shared Writing activity can be a page in the power point book. Create one for the whole class or for each student using the personal information that you receive.  I am including two power point stories here that are a little different: one is an ABC Holiday book and the other is an example of a personal holiday book that accommodates students who are either low vision or functioning at Phase I-II on the CVI Range.

ABC Holiday Book

PrAACtically Reading with Karen Natoci: Hello, Holidays!

See, Touch, Taste, and Smell Christmas

PrAACtically Reading with Karen Natoci: Hello, Holidays!

Create a Laboratory (hands-on) Activity by setting up all of the holiday objects into groups (based on senses):

If you’d like to have a sharing day- the items can be placed on tables in the classroom grouped by senses.  You might join another classroom or two to spread it out! This can work well with all types of classrooms!

  • Auditory Table:  bells, holiday music,
  • Visual Table:  lights, ornaments,
  • Tasting Table:  Latkes, holiday cookies, candy canes, other,
  • Tactile/Touch Table:  Stockings, ribbons, ornaments, wrapping paper,
  • Smelling Table: Pine Cones, Cinnamon, Cranberry, Peppermint

You can ask students how they would like to interact with the various items shared: taste, smell, listen/hear, look at, touch and send students to the corresponding table.

Lab Worksheet: Students can be instructed to explore a minimum of 5 items and rank their favorites, describe or orally share their opinions about them.

PrAACtically Reading with Karen Natoci: Hello, Holidays!

Social Media:  Consider building a private Pinterest page for each student with a special category called holidays where they can search for their favorite items and read pin them to their pages!





Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Filed under: ,

Tagged With: , , ,

This post was written by Carole Zangari

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.