Building Bridges from Emergent to Conventional Literacy

The aim of Building Bridges is to promote achievement in English language arts and literacy for students with significant cognitive disabilities who use augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). This will be accomplished by developing a collection of training and support resources for teachers and related professionals.

Building Bridges is a multi-year project and new resources and supports will be posted on this website as they are developed and evaluated. Check back periodically for updates.

Current Resources:

A series of videos focused on key conditions of learning in ELA and literacy

Expanded Universal Core Vocabulary. A prioritized list of words to support students with a base of conceptual vocabulary to support their understanding and use across ELA.
Expanded Universal Core (PDF)
Expanded Universal Core (XLS)

Other resources currently available today to support your students with the most significant disabilities in reading, writing and communicators:

student with universal core board

Project Core

Are you working with students who are not yet using speech, sign language or symbols to communicate?


student and teacher read a tar heel shared reader book

Tar Heel Shared Reader

Are you working with students individually or in small groups to read and interact around shared storybooks?


a student with disabilities reading a tar heel shared reader book

Tar Heel Reader

Do you need access to easy-to-read and accessible books on a wide range of topics?


student with disabilities

DLM Professional Development

Do you need help provided standards-aligned instruction in ELA, math, and science to your students with significant cognitive disabilities?


If you have any questions or comments, please contact us at:

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This site was produced under U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs Grant No. H327S210010. The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the positions or policies of the Department of Education. No official endorsement by the U.S. Department of Education of any product, commodity, service or enterprise mentioned in this publication is intended or should be inferred. This product is public domain. Authorization to reproduce it in whole or in part is granted.