See and Learn Language and Reading
See and Learn Language and Reading is designed to teach children with Down syndrome early vocabulary, sight words, simple phrases and sentences, and grammar rules. Learning to read offers the children concrete, visual representations of language concepts to support the development of their spoken language skills.
Learning to talk is a particular challenge for most children with Down syndrome. Difficulties communicating present obstacles in daily life and can be a major source of frustration. We have developed See and Learn Language and Reading to help parents and educators provide children with Down syndrome with the additional support and practice they need to learn to communicate.
The teaching activities presented in See and Learn Language and Reading are consistent with evidence-based teaching practice for all children, with adaptations to meet the learning needs of children with Down syndrome. The teaching activities are also informed by many years of practical experience working with children with Down syndrome.
The programme teaches language and reading skills in small steps, and provides many opportunities for practice to consolidate learning. Teaching activities are designed to minimise distraction and reduce working memory and language demands to make it easier to focus on the learning tasks.
See and Learn Language and Reading focusses on teaching spoken language - beginning with children's earliest words and phrases, and progressing to teach further vocabulary, sentences and grammar.
See and Learn Language and Reading also teaches reading - both to support language development and to provide a foundation for later literacy learning. It includes activities to teach children to read sight words, simple phrases and sentences, letter-sounds, phonological awareness and phonics.
When to start
The first steps in See and Learn Language and Reading are designed for young children who are just starting to understand and use words or signs. Later steps are suitable for older children who understand a small early vocabulary.
See and Learn Language and Reading includes 14 steps, 4 of which are currently available:
The See and Learn Vocabulary steps introduce children to their first words at the earliest stage of language development in approximate developmental order. Each step is also designed to teach the vocabulary needed for a corresponding See and Learn Phrases step.
The See and Learn Phrases steps teach children to put spoken words together in a range of two key word phrases and to read their first sight words and phrases.
The See and Learn Sentences steps teach children to put spoken words together in longer sentences and use grammatical markers, including plurals, personal pronouns, past tenses, conjunctions, prepositions, negatives and question forms. These steps also continue to teach children new vocabulary and to read sight words and sentences.
Working with other See and Learn programmes
Moving on to the Reading and Language Intervention for Children with Down Syndrome (RLI)
DSE recommends that children with Down syndrome are provided carefully structured and individualised daily reading and language instruction in school from around 5 years of age.
DSE's Reading and Language Intervention for Children with Down Syndrome (RLI) is designed for children with Down syndrome aged from 5 to 11 years with reading ages under 8 years. It is based on interventions that have been shown to be beneficial for other children experiencing language and reading difficulties, and incorporates the principles of best practice for all children as identified by current research and guidelines. RLI was evaluated in a randomised controlled trial and found to improve rates of progress compared to ordinary teaching.