AAC Language and Narrative Development Through Storybook Reading


April 9-11, 2019, Pittsburgh, PA


This focus of this 2.5 day seminar will be to provide learners with a theoretical and practical foundation for the use of core vocabulary as it pertains to language and vocabulary development for augmented communicators as well as how to integrate the use of core vocabulary as a primary strategy for targeting communication and language in home and academic settings.  Our guest speaker will discuss strategies to develop language and narrative skills through literature.  Language is initially learned in context. Through the process of “decontextualization” it becomes more representative. The process of decontextualization is one of the key dimensions of symbolic development that is embedded in the interrelated expansion of play and language.  Narrative development incorporates skills used in extended discourse and interactive conversation.   

Although the importance of implementing language development strategies that are used in “normal language development” models is recognized for children who use AAC, there is a lack of understanding about the practical ways in which this can be accomplished.  This presentation will provide one model that can be implemented by families, teachers and therapists for a variety of age ranges and in a variety of settings, and promotes language learning, narrative and communication development in AAC.  Using storybook reading, play-based activities that decontextualize the language provided and create rich language learning opportunities for narrative development using AAC are described and explored.


Bruce Baker, PhD

Deborah Laurent Witkowski, MA, CCC-SLP

Tracy M. Kovach, PhD, CCC-SLP

Russell Cross

Learning Outcomes:

Explain why core vocabulary, not extended vocabulary, should be emphasized in AAC intervention.

Describe the relationship between the use of core vocabulary and normal language development.

Describe the difference between a needs-based communication display and a language-based communication display.

Discuss the impact of motor automaticity in the successful use of AAC devices.

Describe how “decontextualization” in the Stories and Strategies Model is used in language-based activities.

Identify 3 activities that represent decontextualization from a story and are used to develop language.

Discuss the reason for using storybook reading to promote narrative development. 

Identify two key differences between referential and descriptive teaching strategies.

Discuss strategies that enable students who use AAC to demonstrate learning to demonstrate learning within the components of Bloom’s Taxonomy.


CEUs: This activity is offered for up to 2.0 CEUs (19.7 hours of instruction). To register for CEUs:  

*Download, and complete the following forms.

Save the files names: 190411_SCS_Lastname_Firstname

Send both files to ceus@aacinstitute.org

Upon completion of the two forms and passing the quiz, a CEU certificate will be sent

Note: If any difficulty is encountered in using this form, write to ceus@aacinstitute.org to request an alternative file format.