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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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posted:2/17/2012
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