Alt Shift

Emergent Literacy for Students with Significant Disabilities and Complex Communication Needs

Training Dates

Day 1:  October 5, 2021

Day 2:  November 3, 2021

Day 3:  December 9, 2021

Day 4:  January 11, 2022


Registration: 8:30 - 9:00 am EST

Training: 9:00 - 12:00 pm EST 


This event will be held virtually using ZOOM Video Conferencing.

Participants will receive Zoom connection information via email closer to event date.


Registration closes on September 26, 2021


Michigan Attendees:

This training series is no cost for Michigan educators and Parents. As part of the registration process, participants (and their administrator) will be asked to acknowledge that participants will attend all four sessions of the training (or the district will be charged $50.00)


Out-of-State Attendees:

Out-of-State registrants will be placed on a waiting list. They will be notified by September 28 if there are seats available.

To be placed on the wait list, contact The cost of the training for out-of-state registrants is $50.00.


Registration Fee:

In-State: No cost

Out-State: $50.00



Course Information

Students with significant disabilities can and do learn to read conventionally with supportive print-experiences and interactions. Not unlike students without significant disabilities, this learning begins with emergent literacy. Students who are emergent literacy learners should be provided daily comprehensive learning opportunities. These opportunities should provide instruction and practice with functions of print and print conventions, phonological and alphabet awareness, and expressive and receptive language skills.


Emergent literacy learners may:

  • Not yet know most of the letters of the alphabet most of the time.
  • Not yet actively engage in shared reading activities.
  • Not yet have a consistent means of communicating.
  • Not yet understand that writing involves words and letters.


In Emergent Literacy, participants will learn the theories and beliefs for literacy instruction for students with significant disabilities. Participants will engage in learning, self-reflection and dialogue related to Dr. David Koppenhaver and Dr. Karen Erickson's comprehensive literacy instructional strategies. The course provides information and examples for daily literacy interventions for reading and writing.


Interventions include:

  • Shared reading.
  • Predictable chart writing.
  • Alphabetical and phonemic awareness.
  • Independent writing with access to the full alphabet.
  • Independent reading.
  • Symbol-based communication (with few exceptions).

Presenter Information

Megan Hojnacki

Megan is a Speech-Language Pathologist who specializes in Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC). Her mission is to empower students, staff, and families with effective strategies for communication and literacy instruction.

Sara Pericolosi

Sara is an AT/AAC Specialist with Alt+Shift. In her role with Alt+Shift, Sara focuses on providing training and assistance related to assistive technology, augmentative and alternative communication, and literacy for students with significant disabilities and complex communication needs. Prior to joining Alt+Shift, Sara supported students birth to 26 with complex communication needs.

Continuing Education Units

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) Verification of Attendance forms will be available upon completion of the course.


State Continuing Education Clock Hours (SCECHS)