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Teaching Braille Literacy Skills SPE 551 How is teaching braille like teaching print reading? The objective is the same -- literacy. Most of the prerequisites are the same. – Same/different – sequencing – left/right – categorization and classification Reading and writing must be taught simultaneously. Approaches to teaching reading are the same: – whole language – phonetic – language experience – etc. How is teaching braille reading and writing different? Concepts must be more consciously taught and assessed. Students must be taught “book skills.” Incidental exposure to experiences must be planned. Motor skills must be more highly developed. Students require up to 2 years longer to master the code. Spelling is more difficult. Who needs braille? Print Reader Braille Reader •Uses vision efficiently •Prefers to explore the to complete tasks at environment tactilely. near. •Uses the tactile sense •Shows interest in efficiently to identify pictures, and can small objects. identify pictures or elements within a •Identifies his name in picture. braille, and/or understand that braille •Identifies name in print has meaning. and/or understands that print has meaning. •Has an unstable eye condition with a poor •Has a stable eye prognosis. condition. Print Readers Braille Readers •Has an intact central •Has a significantly field reduced or •Shows steady progress nonfunctional central in learning to use vision field. as necessary to ensure •Shows steady progress efficient print reading. in developing tactile •Is free of additional skills that are necessary disabilities that would for braille reading. interfere with progress • Is free of additional in a developmental disabilities that would reading program. interfere with progress in a developmental Source: Adapted from A. J. Koenig and reading program in M. C. Holbrook, Learning Media Assessment of Students with Visual braille. Impariments: A Resource Guide for Teachers. Mercer’s Rules for determining when to teach braille When the reading speed is so low that it effects the comprehension level. When there are so many miscues that the comprehension level is significantly effected. When the number of letters per fixation is 3 or less. In situations where it makes more sense. Ability to read their own handwriting. Amount of time able to read before eye strain sets in. Probable vocational demands. Academic demands. Motivation of the student. Level of adjustment to the visual impairment. Types of students who read braille Students who are congenitally blind and have never seen print. Students who have been adventitiously blinded. Students who need dual media. Students with multiple and visual impairments (especially Functional Skills level). Instruction in uncontracted braille should be considered for these students. Braille Readiness or Emergent Literacy Three Foundations to Learning to Read Braille Language and content. Understanding that written (embossed) symbols represent words and ideas. Motor skills. When is a child ready for braille? Enough experiences to make reading meaningful. Foundational understanding of basic concepts. Receptive/expressive vocabulary. Advanced auditory discrimination skills. Localization of sound and objects in space. Identification of objects, people, and events. Closure (sentences convey whole ideas). Memory Advanced tactual discrimination. Basic tactual tracking. Important Components in Teaching Braille Reading and Writing Four Components of Braille Instruction Assessment Development or Enhancement of Language and Tactual Skills Tracking and Mastery of uncontracted braille Mastery of contracted braille and Speed Building Critical Components in Teaching in Braille Component I -- Assessment FVA/LMA pre-reading skills listening comprehension vocabulary braille mastery (if any) – signs and contractions – mechanics (hand movement, tracking skills, etc.) Independent Reading Inventories Instruments Available for Assessment of Braille Skills Assessing Braille Literacy Skills (ABLS) – Region 4 The KIT – TSBVI The Mangold Reading Readiness program Patterns Braille Too Minnesota Braille Skills Inventory The Braille Connection Braille FUNdamentals Component II -- Development or Enhancement of Language and Tactual Skills – Advanced tactual discrimination training – Strength and endurance training – Concept building – Language experience stories – Incidental exposure Component III -- Tracking and Mastery of uncontracted braille -- Tracking Alphabet reading Alphabet writing (e.g. learning to load a brl writer, dot counts, etc.) Speed building Phase IV -- Mastery of contracted braille and Speed Building -- – Introduction to all braille contractions. – Speed and comprehension building. Mechanics of Efficient Braille Reading Use fluid hand motions. Use two hands. Use the left hand to locate the next line. Do not scrub. Never present braille characters in isolation (e. g. one character on a flash card) Do not regress. Relax the fingers. Use a light touch. Curl the fingers. Do not vocalize or subvocalize. Encourage your students to be “avid readers.” Developing Fluency in Braille Reading Encourage independent reading. Be sure that instruction is at a level low enough to ensure success. Identify books that sighted kids are interest in and currently reading. Be sure that your students are included in programs to promote reading at libraries, etc. Repeated readings of the same material. Have students practice and read stories to smaller children Enroll students in the Braille Book Club and with the Texas State Library (800- 252-9605) Materials and Resources Patterns – for younger children; typically those who are congenitally blind Braille Too – for secondary students who are already readers Read Again/The Braille Connection – for secondary students who are already readers One is Fun – Margoie Troughton; is designed to be used with a variety of kinds of students, but most frequently primary students or those with other disabilities. http://snow.utoronto.ca/best/special/OneIsFu n/table_of_contents.htm Mangold Reading Readiness program – can be used with any age student. Teaches tracking and tactual discrimination only. Braille FUNdamentals – TSBVI; designed to teach a wide range of age ranges. Includes a pre-braille assessment, numerous age appropriate activities and writing exercises. Un’s the One – TSBVI; teaches uncontracted braille to a students from different age and ability groups. Seedlings – books for very young tactual learners Braille Book Club Texas State Library Individualized reading materials How much time should a TVI dedicate to teaching a student who is learning braille? A MINIMUM OF ONE AND A HALF HOURS PER DAY FOR A MINIMUM OF FOUR DAYS PER WEEK! Should I ever teach braille to a student who can still read print but will one day be a braille reader? Probably not. Instead, concentrate on building visual maps and providing training in the extended core curriculum.
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