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Course Description and Learning Outcomes

We were so excited to have the opportunity to speak with Venita Litvack MA, CCC-SLP of Speechie Side Up!  In our interview with Venita, she shared her extensive experience and passion for literacy instruction with individuals who use alternative augmentative communication (AAC).  You can find more information about her podcast and other materials available on her website!

Listen and learn more about best practice when it comes to literacy instruction (spoiler alert:  sight words in isolation isn’t it).  Venita shares her enthusiasm, along with a number of actionable tips and resources for SLPs, educators, and others seeking to improve their skills and efficacy in the area of literacy instruction for AAC users.  Along with examples for working individually with clients, you’ll also come away with ideas for group instruction and support.

We wrapped this interview feeling educated, invigorated, and inspired to share this new information with others and implement it in our own clinical work.  We hope our listeners will feel the same way!  You can read more about Venita, her background, and current projects here.  Thank you for joining us Venita!

  1. Describe at least 3 evidenced-based strategies for teaching literacy to children who use AAC.

  2. Describe at least 3 resources that are available to teach literacy to individuals who use AAC.

  3. Describe at least 3 activities to use in group lessons that incorporate AAC and literacy.

Course Presenters

Venita Litvack, MS, CCC-SLP

Venita is an Assistive Technology (AT) Consultant in south Florida. She has a passion for using AAC, AT, and literacy to support individuals with complex communication needs, autism, and other disabilities. Venita has delivered poster presentations on several topics related to AAC at ASHA and co-presented several ASHA CEU accredited courses. Venita co-authored two articles published in ASHA Leader’s online publication, as well as the Lou Knows What to Do book series published by Boys Town Press. Recently, Venita started utilizing the power of social media to empower and motivate educators across the country through the Speechie Side Up podcast, blog, Instagram account, and YouTube channel.

SLP/BCBA; SLP Kate Grandbois (she/her) & Amy Wonkka (she/her

Kate and Amy are co-founders of SLP Nerdcast. Kate is a dually certified SLP / BCBA who works primarily as an "AAC Specialist." She owns a private practice with a focus on interdisciplinary collaboration, augmentative alternative communication intervention and assessment, and consultation. Amy is an SLP who also works as an "AAC Specialist" in a public school setting. Amy's primary interests are AAC, typical language development, motor speech, phonology, data collection, collaboration, coaching, and communication partner training and support.

Speaker Disclosures

Kate Grandbois financial disclosures: Kate is the owner / founder of Grandbois Therapy + Consulting, LLC and co-founder of SLP Nerdcast. Kate Grandbois non-financial disclosures: Kate is a member of ASHA, SIG 12, and serves on the AAC Advisory Group for Massachusetts Advocates for Children. She is also a member of the Berkshire Association for Behavior Analysis and Therapy (BABAT), MassABA, the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI) and the corresponding Speech Pathology and Applied Behavior Analysis SIG. 

Amy Wonkka financial disclosures: Kate is an employee of a public school system and co-founder of SLP Nerdcast.  Amy Wonkka non-financial disclosures: Amy is a member of ASHA, SIG 12, and serves on the AAC Advisory Group for Massachusetts Advocates for Children.

Venita Litvack financial disclosures: Venita has ownership interest in Speechie Side Up, LLC and Tassel Learning, LLC; royalties from the Lou Knows What to Do book series. Venita Litvack non-financial disclosures: Venita is a member of the ASHA Special Interest Group 12

Time Ordered Agenda

10 minutes: Introduction, Disclaimers and Disclosures

20 minutes:  Review of strategies for teaching literacy to AAC users

15 minutes:   Review of available resources for teaching literacy to AAC users

10 minutes:  Review of Activities and group lessons that incorporate AAC and literacy

5 minutes:  Discussion and closing

References and Resources

Cunningham, J. W. (2001). The National Reading Panel report. Reading Research Quarterly, 36, 326-335. doi:10.1598/RRQ.36.3.5

Erickson, K. A., & Koppenhaver, D. (2020). Comprehensive literacy for all: Teaching students with significant disabilities to read and write. Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes Publishing.

Hall, D.P., & Williams, E. (2001). Predictable Charts: Shared writing for kindergarten and 1st grade. Greensboro, NC: Carson-Dellosa.

Hanser, G. (2006). Promoting emergent writing for students with significant disabilities. OT Practice, 11(9), 1-8.

Jones, C.D., Clark, S. K., & Reutzel, D. R. (2013). Enhancing alphabet knowledge instruction: Research implications and practical strategies for early childhood educators. Early Childhood Education Journal, 41, 81-89. doi:10.1007/s10643-012-0534-9

Kent-Walsh, J., Binger, C., & Malani, M. D. (2010). Teaching partners to support the communication skills of young children who use AAC: Lessons from the ImPAACT program. Early Childhood Services, 4, 155-170.

Mathis, H.J. (2010). The effect of pause time upon the communicative interactions of young people who use augmentative and alternative communication. (Master's thesis, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand). Retrieved from

Treiman, R., Levin, I., & Kessler, B. (2007). Learning of letter names follow similar principles across languages: Evidence from Hebrew. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 96, 87-106. doi:10.1016/j.jecp.2006.08.002

Tarheel Reader:

Core Calendar Club:

Speechie Side Up Podcast:

Iowa Department of Education:

Tar heel gameplay:

Epic Books:


Literacy through Unity:

Saltillo Calendar Supports:

Tell Me Curriculum:

The Center for Literacy and Disability Studies:


The contents of this episode are not meant to replace clinical advice.  SLP Nerdcast, its hosts and guests do not represent or endorse specific products or procedures mentioned during our episodes unless otherwise stated.  We are NOT PhDs, but we do research our material.  We do our best to provide a thorough review and fair representation of each topic that we tackle.  That being said, it is always likely that there is an article we’ve missed, or another perspective that isn’t shared.  If you have something to add to the conversation, please email us! We'd love to hear from you!


5 star rating

Amazing AAC course

Kaitlyn Zaloga

Absolutely worth every minute - such good ideas on how to best implement literacy with students who use AAC. Definitely fun recommendations to incorporate in...

Read More

Absolutely worth every minute - such good ideas on how to best implement literacy with students who use AAC. Definitely fun recommendations to incorporate in your daily therapy sessions to make reading and writing engaging.

Read Less