Bridges News — Curriculum

Bridges LIVE! Coming to a City Near You

We’ve just had our first Bridges LIVE! event in Mississauga and it was a great success. The enthusiasm of attendees, the discussions around trends in AT, new eye gaze technology and iPad access options, teaching strategies for students with profound challenges, tools on the cloud… as usual we probably learned as much from our participants as they from us!
Read More

Accessible Text Repositories -- Canadian and International

Recently, a teacher in BC whose student just received Kurzweil 3000 called and said "Given that many students in BC use Kurzweil 3000, I have two questions:

1) Surely, I don’t have to turn a whole bunch of common Grade 6 novels and textbooks into .kesi files for this specific student?

2) Surely, someone else has already done this work and there is a source for it?"

I answered, “of course you don't,” and “of course there is.” (Bracketed by the phrases “reinventing the wheel” and “don’t call me Shirley...”)
Read More

New MEville to WEville Don Johnston Package

MEville to WEville has just been reintroduced as a complete in-the-box literacy solution for students with significant disabilities, and now there are two options to chose from;  one from Don Johnston and one from Ablenet. [caption id="attachment_1265" align="aligncenter" width="300"]meville 2 weville DJI package Don Johnston's Inc.' s MEville to WEville Literacy Curriculum Package[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1268" align="aligncenter" width="300"]pic of Ablenet's MEville to WEville package. Ablenet's MEville to WEville package.[/caption] Both versions have the same proven research-based literacy curriculum for students with mild to severe cognitive and communication challenges, in a boxed format with additional resources that make implementation easy. The Don Johnston version of MEville to WEville includes 30 phonics lessons and five additional sets of Start-to-Finish Literacy Starters accessible books with the accompanying comprehension lessons, plus a training DVD featuring Dr. Karen Erickson. [caption id="attachment_1272" align="alignleft" width="209"]Ablenet's Bookworm reading tool. Ablenet's Bookworm reading tool.[/caption] The Ablenet version of MEville to WEville has only three Start to Finish Literacy Starter packages.  Now each Start-to-Finish books have three titles for each theme, so that’s still 9 Start to Finish Literacy Starter books in the AbleNet package.  But the Ablenet version of MEville to WEville has a Bookworm book reader and the QuickTalker 7 communication aid also. So which MEville to WEville should you pick? [caption id="attachment_1273" align="alignleft" width="168"]Image of quicktalker 7 from Ablenet QuickTalker 7 from Ablenet[/caption] If it’s for a new DD or MID classroom where your equipping them from scratch, the devices in the Ablenet package would probably be really appreciated by any teacher.  Open the box and you’re ready to go! On the other hand the DJ version might be particularly attractive to a teacher working with older students.  There are still the six Bookworm adapted literature books in the DJ version too.  With their lively pictures and fun stories, they’re attractive and engaging self-selected reading for students of a wide age range. [caption id="attachment_1270" align="alignleft" width="155"]Additional Start to Finish books in DJI's ME2WE package. Additional Start to Finish books in DJI's ME2WE package.[/caption] But in the DJ version you’ve got an additional 5 sets of Start to Finish Literacy Starters  – that’s 15 more books!  And like all Start to Finish Literacy Starter packages they include a switch accessible computer version with recorded narration and tonnes of useful resources for teachers.  There are also 30 Systematic Sequential Phonics Lessons to get students making words. Whichever MEville to WEville package you chose, your students will be served well with a proven, research driven literacy curriculum for students with significant disabilities. In a research study, led by Dr. Karen Erickson at the University of North Carolina, students between the ages 8 to 14 (all with moderate to severe/profound intellectual impairments) improved generalized development in reading and writing skills by an average of 40% (Cohen’s d=.44) after completing 40 instructor-delivered lessons from the MEville to WEville with Literacy Starters Program. And the research results showed that students were able to generalize their skills, too. To see the full results visit and click on the Research Tab. 

--Bogdan Pospielovsky

Read More