Wednesday Jan 25, 2023

Dr. Laura Clarke: Free Literacy Resources for Emerging Readers

This week, Rachel interviews Dr. Laura Clarke, a special educator, teacher, and parent of a person with complex communication needs. Dr. Clarke who has created her own free website, Reading & Writing 4 All, that provides a variety of free resources to support literacy for emerging readers. Dr. Clarke shares about her journey as the parent of Dan, an emerging reader, and why she was motivated to provide  literacy resources to special education teachers and parents of emerging readers.


Before the interview, Chris and Rachel discuss ChatGPT (, a free chat artificial intelligence that can create some of the most human-like responses to questions ever. They ask the ChatGPT some AAC related questions, and Chris notes some of the national discussion about students using ChatGPT to do their homework for them. Chris points out that we should probably be figuring out how to help students use AI rather than trying to ban it, since these kinds of AI resources are probably not going away.


Key ideas this week:


🔑 Relationships and connection are essential to supporting emerging readers. Before we start coming up with content, we should have a knowledge of who the emerging reader is as a person and where their interests lie.  This can lead to creating higher-interest content that is more engaging!


🔑 It is common to want emerging readers to show us they understand what we are showing them and that they are paying attention by asking them lots of "wh-" questions, etc. This can unknowingly put a lot of demands on our students and take away from our connection with them. 


🔑 For emerging readers that may not want to look at text, find something they really love and put a picture of that thing on one side of a screen (e.g. a picture of Mario) and on the other side, you can put the text you want them to look at. Then, over time, you can make the picture of the preferred item smaller and smaller.


Links from this weeks episode:


Dr. Laura Clarke’s free website Reading & Writing 4 All: 


Northern Kentucky Cooperative for Educational Resources has over 100 free online professional learning modules at 


You can reach Dr. Clarke by email at 


Visit to access previous episodes, resources, and CEU credits that you can earn for listening to TWT episodes!


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