Hello, welcome to Lesley University. I'm Dr. Stephanie Spadorcia, a Professor of Literacy and Special Education in the Graduate School of Education and Department Chair. On behalf of the teaching and learning department, I welcome you to Lesley University, a large network of professionals, teachers and advocates out in the field, working tirelessly to educate and work with students of all languages and abilities. This is my 20th year at Lesley and many more in education, and I still look forward to every September the start of a new school year. From day one in your first graduate course, you're going to learn strategies to engage all learners, strategies to advocate for all students and be the most effective teacher you can be. Welcome to the start of your career in the very best job there is.
Our Inclusive Special Education program has three licensure options, Moderate Disabilities, Pre-K through 8th, as well as grades 5 through 12 and Severe Disabilities. We also have the option for dual licensure, where in one master's degree, you can get two special education licensures, which would allow you to teach in a variety of grade levels and settings across the state. The premise of our Special Education programs or Inclusive Special Education program is that we want to advocate for access to equitable education. It's not only the law, but it's also our ethical obligation as teachers and practitioners.
Part of this is near and dear to my heart is access to literacy, instruction and language development for all learners. Embedded within all of our programs, are hands on experiences for you to design lessons and materials that will make learning more accessible and engaging for all learners. One example from my own practice is something I like to call a literacy kit, where I would take a book, in this example, a really young children's book, and I would first of all laminate it, so that the pages were hard and durable. It also makes it easier for fingers to turn the pages. I might even put Velcro on the corners of pages or popsicle sticks hanging out so that the book is more accessible to students with gross motor tasks. It also makes it easy to wipe off and clean off. I would then take key vocabulary words from the book and put it in an array of some sort, an AAC system or Augmentative and Alternative Communication. This would just focus on this book, and it would have the key words for the book. There’s a repeated line, not on me. I might even need to make it all different sizes, so that students could use the words and touch them. I could also make it very large, like this one here, and Velcro them on, so at the certain times, when those words are read, the students could pull the words off and let me know what's going to happen in the book. We could have conversation about it. And for some students, I might need some real tangible objects to make the book more comprehensible. So I've got a flower and a bee. I might even use a spray bottle because the rain keeps coming down in the book, and we could spray water.
We would use this literacy book and this kit and book for shared reading to build language development, shared attention, vocabulary enrichment, As well as just reading a good book with a student to engage with them and to develop the love of reading for all of our emergent readers. I wish you the best of luck in your career choice and hope to see you in one of my classes.