Read and write at home with your AAC user - Make it real! Make it fun!

6 minute read

Everyone can learn to read and write, including your child who uses AAC to communicate. Your child will learn reading and writing from everyone in their life! Literacy is important for communication, independence, self-esteem, and more.

You can do many little (and big) things at home to create literacy moments. Moments where you explore the alphabet, read together, and write together. Here are a few ideas to build these moments into your busy everyday life.

Remember, let’s make it fun, and let’s keep it real!

01 Article image Explore the alphabet

Explore the alphabet

The 26 letters of the alphabet are so important. They can be combined in different ways to say anything you want.

Exploring the alphabet is something that can happen every day! Talking about letters, noticing them, and playing games with them will help.


Reading is an excellent chance to build a connection with your child. It’s a great time to explore letters, words, and sentences. You can also show your child how books work.

Encourage your child to choose their own books, to read on their own, and help them build a love for books and reading. Don’t worry if the books get ripped, chewed, or thrown. This is all part of the process.


Writing means we put thoughts down onto paper. Writing is not about tracing letters or copying words. We write for many reasons. We write to communicate.

Your child needs to see writing in action from the people around them. They also need to practice writing themselves. Even if your child cannot spell yet, it is still great for them to see and share the writing experience.

Encourage your child to write with anything: pencils, pens, whiteboards, magnetic letters, keyboards, with their finger in the sand, anything! They should have a keyboard in their AAC - use that to write with!

02 Article image AAC in alphabet

AAC in the alphabet, reading, and writing activities

If your child uses AAC, you already know to keep it accessible and ready to use. This is perfect for these little (and big) literacy moments. You can model words as you read. You can find words that start with particular letters. You can think about words to write on a list. AAC and literacy go hand in hand. Have the AAC device ready!

03 Article image Morning

Build the alphabet, reading, and writing into your routines

Read this list of ideas and find ways to build literacy into your daily life. Explore ideas that you and your child think are fun. Make sure you do real things that fit into your life.

Morning routine

  • Write a morning message for your child. Then talk about the fun things that are going to be happening that day.
  • Use the calendar with your child. Write in the different events that are coming up. Encourage your child to check the calendar and help them to read the events that are important to them, like swimming lessons, birthdays, and holidays.
  • Write out your schedule for the day.
  • Make a note of something you both need to do in your diary.
04 Article image Driving the car

Driving in the car

  • Play “I Spy” and search for something starting with the chosen letter.
  • Listen to alphabet songs on YouTube or Spotify.
  • Listen to audiobooks together with your child.
  • Keep some favorite storybooks on the backseat for your child to look at while you drive.
05 Article image Shopping


  • Write a shopping list of what you need to buy. Encourage your child to add to the list by typing or making a mark with the pen on paper.
  • Read the shopping list at the store.
  • Notice important letters on food labels and signs, eg. I can see a big “P” on that peanut butter. You have a “P” in your name, right?
06 Article image Mealtime

Meal times

  • Read a recipe when cooking dinner.
  • Read the takeout menu together to choose what to order.
  • Plan meals together for the week.
  • Make a storybook lunch. For example, read ‘The very hungry caterpillar’ while trying strawberries, oranges, and plums.
  • Write a short note for your child’s lunch box. Maybe you could include a joke or a riddle? You can keep it fun by writing on different paper or cards, including pictures, or even writing on their lunch itself.
07 Article image Storytime

Daily story time

  • Set a time every day that you will read together. It might be at bedtime, but it can happen at any time!
  • Read favorite story books - choose fun and exciting books for your child.
  • Do different voices for different parts of the book.
  • Make sound effects.
  • Find books with rhyme and repetition (e.g., “but where is the green sheep”.)
  • Read alphabet books and rhyming books.
  • Share books you have made yourself.
  • Read a mix of fiction and non-fiction books.
  • Read magazines, newspapers, catalogs, recipe books, comic books, graphic novels, etc.
  • Listen to audio stories.
  • Watch stories being read on YouTube.
08 Article image Outings


  • Point out letters in the environment. Whether walking in the shopping center or driving in the car, see how many times you can find different letters on street signs, shop names, billboards, and more.
  • Visit the public library. Encourage your child to look through the books and choose the ones that look interesting to them.
09 Article image Holidays


  • Take photos of your adventures and use them to write your own book in Pictello.
  • Write a postcard to send home to friends or family.
  • Write a daily journal.
  • Collect and read local guides and pamphlets to find things to do on your holiday.
  • Send messages to grandma and grandpa at home about the fun things you are doing.
Pictello holiday story example
A page from a visual story built with AssistiveWare Pictello
10 Article image Watching TV

Watching TV

  • Turn on the captions when watching movies or YouTube.
  • Music on Youtube with captions to read the lyrics.
  • Watch recordings of shared reading sessions with your child. Pause the video to answer questions and make comments.
  • Write a review of your favorite movie or song. What was your favorite part?
11 Article image Playtime


  • Act out your favorite book. Grab the dress-ups and some stuffed toys and recreate the story.
  • Play with alphabet puzzles, blocks, or magnets.
  • Use play dough letter stampers or cookie cutters to cut out different letters.
  • Use your finger to write letters in sensory play, like shaving foam, jelly, or colored rice.
  • Make letters from play dough, clay, wikki stix, or kinetic sand.
12 Article image Other ideas

Other ideas that can happen anytime!

  • Write captions on photos you have taken.
  • Make cards to send to family and friends. Birthday cards, Christmas cards, or even a card to say hello.
  • Write lists. There are so many reasons to write a list. A list of people to invite to a birthday party, shopping lists, Christmas wish lists, lists of favorite things, etc.
  • Write and send an email to a friend to plan a play date.
  • Write Dad a reminder to fix your broken toy.
  • Google search favorite things and websites.

You can make a big difference in helping your child to read and write. Remember to make it fun and natural. Slow it down to give them time and allow for lots of repetition. Have your AAC ready at every moment. Even if you need more confidence in what you are doing, give it a try and have FUN!

Enjoy creating literacy moments with your child.


  • Center for Literacy and Disability Studies. Project core: Professional Development Modules. Center for Literacy and Disability Studies, Department of Health Sciences, UNC-Chapel Hill. Retrieved 21 December 2022 from
  • Doak, L. (2021). ‘To start talking phonics is crazy’: how parents understand ‘literacy’ in the lives of children with learning disabilities. Pedagogy, Culture & Society, 19.
  • Erickson, K. A., & Koppenhaver, D. A. (2020). Comprehensive Literacy for All: Teaching Students with Significant Disabilities to Read and Write. Brookes Publishing.
  • Farrall, J. Comprehensive Literacy for ALL. Retrieved 21 December 2022 from


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