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Handout A: Communication and Emergent Literacy Vignettes, Session 2

EIVI TrainingCenter. (2005). Communication and emergent literacy vignettes, Session 2. Chapel Hill, NC: Early InterventionTrainingCenter for Infants and Toddlers With Visual Impairments, FPG Child Development Institute, UNC-CH.


Naomi pulled herself up on the coffee table in the living room. She slid her hand out across the surface to determine if anything was there. She found a peach in a fruit bowl in the center of the table. Holding the peach, she sat down by the table. She smelled the fruit and rubbed its fuzzy surface on her hands, then put it into her mouth and licked the peel. Her two teeth left slight indentations on the surface of the peach. As she turned it in her hands, she felt the bruises left by her teeth and poked her finger on the soft spot. Her finger broke through the surface and found the firm, sticky pulp on the inside of the peach. She licked her finger and liked the sweet taste. She pushed her finger further in the hole and a little of the fruit stuck to her finger. She brought the fruit to her mouth again and tasted the hole that she had made. She smiled broadly, because the peach tasted so good.

Her mother, who had been watching Naomi the entire time, smiled too. She sat down on the floor by Naomi and said, “You found a peach. Does it taste good?” She talked to Naomi about the feel, taste, and smell of the peach as Naomi continued to taste and play with the fruit.


Jay and Alex sat on the floor in their toddler class at the daycare center. Jay looked around the room and saw his favorite toy on the shelf. He crawled over to it, used the shelf to pull himself up, but could not quite reach it. The teacher came over, and Jay looked at her, then at the toy, and then back to the teacher. He stretched his arm out toward the toy. “Would you like the truck?” she asked. Jay smiled and bounced up and down. She handed him the toy truck, and he sat down and begin spinning the wheels and looking at the people seated inside. “Can you make that truck go?” his teacher asked, and modeled how to roll the truck across the floor. Jay waved his arms, reached for the truck, and pushed it a short distance across the floor. “That’s it,” his teacher said. “You can do it.”

While Jay and his teacher were communicating about the truck, Alex continued sitting quietly on the floor rocking gently back and forth. Alex has extremely low vision and rarely raises his head to look around. Although he likes playing with trucks, because he does not know how to search for one, he remains idle and does not initiate play.


Bettina and her mother arrived at their neighbor’s house for the Thursday morning toddler playgroup. Bettina walked in holding her mother’s hand. Her mother placed Bettina’s hand briefly on the entrance hall table and said, “Table. Say ‘table.’”

Bettina babbled, “Ta-ta-ta.”

They passed a large potted rubber tree, and Bettina’s mother brushed Bettina’s arm against it, saying, “Plant.” Bettina pulled her arm away from the plant.

They went to the living room, where the other children sat on the floor. “Look, Bettina,” Bettina’s mother said, holding out a stuffed cow. “It’s a cow. What does a cow say?” Bettina brought the stuffed black-and-white toy close to her face. “What does a cow say?” her mother repeated. “Say ‘moo,’” her mother prompted.


Wilma carried her daughter Lillie into the doctor’s office for her usual monthly visit. Because of Lillie’s multiple medical and physical needs, she was seen at least once a month by the pediatrician who monitored her condition. Whenever problems arose, the family would have to borrow a car and drive 2 hours to see specialists in a nearby city. A new nurse ushered Wilma and Lillie into an exam room and prepared to check Lillie’s heart rate. Wilma spoke softly to Lillie, saying, “Here comes the stethoscope. It may be a little cold.” As she spoke, she gently rubbed Lillie’s chest where the nurse would listen to her heart.

Lillie squirmed a little when she felt the cold metal of the stethoscope. After the nurse listened, Wilma rubbed the spot again and said, “All done with that. You were a good girl.” Lillie arched her back and threw her head as far back as she could.

The nurse looked surprised and said, “She didn’t seem to like that.”

“Oh, no,” said Wilma. “That’s what she does when she is happy. She gets excited, and that’s her way of telling me she likes something.”


Jerry and his family were visiting his grandmother for the weekend. After his grandmother finished kissing and hugging him, he began to explore her living room. He looked at the furniture, the walls, and the windows. His grandmother said, “Jerry, there is a toy on the couch for you.”

Jerry looked confused. “Over on the couch, Jerry,” his mother prompted. “You just walked past it.”

Jerry looked around and then walked over to his mother. She picked him up and carried him to the couch. “Here’s your toy, Jerry,” she said handing him the toy as she sat down on the couch.

“Where couch?” Jerry asked.

“Right here. We’re sitting on it.”

“Uh-uh,” Jerry said. “Not couch.”

Jerry was confused because the couch at home was a hideaway bed with a rough multicolored covering on it. His grandmother’s couch was small and covered with soft white fabric. Jerry could not relate the couch in his living room to the one in his grandmother’s home.


Maggie and her father are in the waiting room at the vet’s office for their family cat to get her immunizations. Maggie’s father is showing her all the different items in the vet’s office.

“Look at the big bags of dog food, Maggie,” her father says, pointing to the stacks of dog food. “Dogs eat a lot more food than our cat, don’t they?”

Maggie squints in the direction her father points. He carries her over to a display of leashes and animal tags. “Look at all this stuff. This tag looks like a house. How funny is that?”

Maggie takes the silver tag and tilts her head as she looks at it. She smiles and hands it back to her father. Maggie’s father continues his circuit of the room, stopping at a large picture of a dog and a cat sleeping together. “Look at that,” he says, tapping the picture.

“Kitty,” Maggie says, pointing at the cat.

“Yes, that’s a kitty just like ours.”