This past year I upgraded my cell phone and was left with my old phone. Not in good enough condition to sell, but not trash either. My husband and I decided to give it to Shelby, our deaf daughter. She is 8, almost 9, and we have been working on reading. We felt that the cell phone had two promising advantages. First, she would be able to communicate with family members that live far away. She has a CI, but using the phone is still difficult for her and the recieving person. Now she can text message cell phones and email addresses. Second, this gave her exposure to words and motivation to read. It has been great!
I wanted to pass along this idea to others with struggling readers. We try not to use IM lingo when texting Shelby and help her formulate sentences. It is a great learning tool. It costs us about $20/month. It adds up, but well worth it!
Update: Shelby is still using her cell phone. Distant family enjoys being able to communicate with her via text messaging. It takes a while to understand her sentences sometimes, but her vocablary has grown so much. She is getting the hang of it and that was our goal!