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The Balanced Literacy Approach courses 2014

The Balanced Literacy Approach

Sally Clendon, PhD

These inspirational and practical courses presented by Sally Clendon, will run over two days in Christchurch and Auckland this year. Participants may choose to attend Day 1, Day 2, or both sessions. Session outlines are below.

To register please select the appropriate form at the end of this page e.g. school/organisation choose professional. Please indicate which sessions you would like to attend using the drop down menu.


AucklandRegistrations open!

Thursday 21st and Friday 22nd August 2014, 9am-3pm

The Round Room, Atrium Building

Massey University, Gate 1, Albany Campus



Morning tea provided BYO lunch.

Cost: $120.00 for professionals per day ($200.00 for both days)

$50.00 for family members per day ($80.00 for both days)


Day 1 – Emerging Readers and Writers: Turning Caterpillars into Butterflies

Emergent literacy is the process that children move through from birth as they weave together knowledge about language and literacy (Dickinson & McCabe, 2001). This includes knowledge about vocabulary, sound awareness, print concepts, letter names, narrative structure and emergent writing (Van Kleek,1990). Knowledge in these areas develops in an integrated manner to provide children with a strong foundation that has been shown to be critical to later literacy learning success (Dickinson & McCabe, 2001).

All children are readers and writers. They are somewhere on the continuum of literacy development. Our job is to figure out where that is and to move them along as far as we can. This session will equip you with a toolbox of ideas and strategies for maximising communication and literacy learning for the children in your classroom. The butterfly is a symbol for change, freedom and joy. We need to facilitate change and development in children with complex communication needs so that they can reap the huge benefits that literacy brings.

This workshop will outline:

  • the key principles underlying the emergent literacy model
  • specific strategies for creating print-rich environments, facilitating storybook reading interactions, providing emergent writing opportunities, and building important skill areas such as pint concepts, phonological awareness, and alphabet knowledge
  • software, apps, hardware and instructional programs available for supporting emergent literacy development

Day 2 – Comprehensive Literacy Instruction for ALL Learners

This workshop will describe the rationale and principles underlying a comprehensive literacy approach and how it can be applied to children with complex communication and learning needs. The Four Blocks Literacy approach (Cunningham & Hall) will be presented as a framework that ensures children are provided with daily opportunities to engage in four key areas of literacy learning:

  1. Language comprehension
  2. Word learning
  3. Self-directed reading
  4. Writing

All four areas are critical for children with disabilities to develop conventional reading and writing skills. Specific strategies and adaptations will be outlined. Multi-level activities, which can be implemented with all students in a classroom, will be highlighted, as will ideas for older students who are beginning readers.

These workshops will be highly relevant to teachers, speech-language therapists, occupational therapists, support staff, RTLBs, SENCOs, parents, and others who work with children with developmental disabilities (e.g., cerebral palsy, autism, down syndrome).




Sally Clendon is a speech-language therapist and a consultant in the area of literacy for children with significant disabilities particularly those with complex communication needs who use Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC). She is a Research Affiliate of the Centre for Literacy and Disability Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA



Sally has presented nationally and internationally. She has also consulted with various groups including working with companies to develop literacy programmes for children with severe disabilities and working with AAC device manufacturers to develop the language systems within their AAC devices. Sally is currently working with schools to implement a comprehensive approach to literacy instruction with their students.


For a copy of the flyer, click here











Permanent link to this article: http://www.talklink.org.nz/index.php/2014/02/12/positive-communication-and-literacy-outcomes-for-all-children-course/


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  1. Liz Manson

    I would like to register for ‘The Balanced Literacy Approach Course’ Both days.
    Under the family registration.
    Where do I find the online form?

    1. TalkLink

      Hi Liz,

      I have sent you an email this afternoon. If you click on the blue button at the end of the screen on the course, it should take you to the form.

      From the home page of the website go to courses then The Balanced Literacy Approach then scroll to the bottom, there are two blue buttons one for Family courses and one for Professionals, these will take you to the appropriate forms.



  2. Suzanne Warburton

    Hi there,

    Will this course be helpful to me for further teaching my just turned 3 year old hyperlexic, autistic son? I ask because I have recently done a course on writing which was about everything that my son has already done. He is not saying sentences so I don’t really expect him to be writing whole sentences yet.

    Suzanne Warburton

    1. Paula Shennan
      Paula Shennan

      Hi Suzanne, the course is beneficial for those supporting anyone with communication and literacy difficulties. Without more indepth information about your son, it would be hard to determine if day 1, day 2 or both days would be beneficial for you to attend. Thanks

  3. Amelia

    I was wanting to know if you would be running this course in the wellington region. This would be great course to attend, however Auckland is not really an option at this stage.

    1. Paula Shennan
      Paula Shennan

      Hi Amelia,

      Thank you for message. At this stage it is not planned to be held in Wellington for this year, however we will talk to Sally about the prospect of it being run next year. There was a similar course held by KimiOra School eaarlier this year. Thanks, Paula

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