Beginning with Braille: Challenges and Choices

Report
Anna M. Swenson
Braille Literacy Consultant
[email protected]
NFB Braille Symposium
September 29, 2012
CHALLENGES
CHOICES
OUTCOMES
• Diversity
• Emergent
Literacy
• Curriculum
• Inclusion
• Assessment
• Goals
• Setting
• Strategies
• Learning
Activities
• Motivation
• Engagement
• Learning
• ECC
proficiency
Student
and Family
Teacher of
the
Visually
Impaired
Support
Staff, Gen.
Ed. Teacher
and Others
Collaboration
3
Road Map …
 The ABC Braille Study and its implications
 Choices:
 Emergent literacy for Braille readers
 Formal literacy learning: Incorporating Braille
instruction into the standard curriculum
 Questions and discussion
To contract or not to
contract?
That was the question that launched
the ABC* Braille Study.
Alphabetic Braille and Contracted Braille
5
The
Braille Study
 Research focus: Are there differences in the children’s
reading & writing performance based on whether they
were initially taught in contracted or uncontracted
Braille?
 Longitudinal study, 2002-2007
 Children w/o other disabilities in grades pre-k through 4
 Half of teachers started students with contracted Braille,
half with uncontracted. (Teachers’ choice)
 Team of researchers – both qualitative & quantitative
data
6
Major Findings
Emerson, Holbrook, & D’Andrea, (2009). Acquisition of literacy skills
by young children who are blind: Results from the ABC Braille Study
 “Students [with no additional disabilities] who were introduced
to more contractions earlier in instruction performed
better on reading measures, such as vocabulary,
decoding, and comprehension.”
 “Students who are blind, regardless of whether they
started with contracted or uncontracted Braille, are
falling behind their sighted peers and not acquiring
reading skills at the rate they should.”
7
Implications for Real-Life Teaching:
One Teacher’s Interpretation
1. Teaching the
Braille Code
2. The Role of the TVI
in Teaching Reading
Implications
3. Assessment
4. Literacy
Instruction
8
For Preschoolers and Older Students
with Additional Learning Challenges
9
Linking Concepts to Literacy:
Max’s Home Depot Book
 Square tile
 Square of carpet
 Light switch
 Outlet and plug
 Screws and nails (big & little)
 Chain
 Tape measure
 Nuts and bolts (big & little)
 Piece of wood
10
Interactive Read-Alouds
Motivation
Concepts
Higher Level
Thinking
Book
Language
Vocabulary
11
Maximum Meaningful
Hands-on Braille Time
 **Demystify Braille for the other
members of the IEP team
 Model, model, model
 Encourage early literacy behaviors:
pretend reading, scribbling, sounds …
12
Braille Illustrations
13
(Lamb, 1996)
A Suggested Approach
to Teaching Braille
STEP 1 (Controlled, contracted text) PRESCHOOL
• Tactile “sight words”, including easy contractions
• Familiar names and motivating words
STEP 2 PRESCHOOL into KINDERGARTEN
• Letters of the alphabet
• Numbers
• Beginning decoding skills (CVC words)
STEP 3 (Uncontrolled, fully contracted text) KINDERGARTEN ON
• Contractions taught as they appear in reading materials
• More complex decoding skills
14
Motivating Words …
15
It’s a Race! Reading Connected Text
16
What about the dots
of the Braille cell?
“Sadie and I talked about
how the Y has a head, a
body and feet. Then she
said, ‘but it doesn't have a
belly’. I loved that, and of
course I went on about what
a smart observation that
was!”
17
Benefits of Braille Instruction for
Non-Traditional Learners
 Oral language, vocabulary, communication skills
development
 Functional uses, e.g. Labeling belongings or items
used in pre-vocational tasks
 Development of independent work skills
 Socialization: e.g., games / sharing books
 General knowledge of gen. ed curriculum
 Stepping stone to formal academic instruction
18
I-M-ABLE (Dr. Diane Wormsley)
Individualized Meaning-centered Approach to Braille Literacy Education
 Student-centered: Totally individualized and highly
motivating
 Appropriate for wide range of learners
 Key words of interest to the learner = basis for
instruction (i.e., phonics, spelling, reading connected text all
taught with key words)
 Whole to part approach: “Language of Touch”
 Contractions taught from the beginning
 Resources: Book and articles
19
Incorporating Braille instruction into the
standard curriculum
20
The Balancing Act
INCLUSION
INDIVIDUAL INSTRUCTION
 Talk about books
 Work on the Braille code
 Share writing
within the context of reading
instruction
 Preview classroom activities,
e.g., book for reading group
 Address goals and objectives
related to the Expanded
Core Curriculum
 Participate in reading group
 Learn classroom behaviors
necessary to function as part
of a group, including
independent work habits
 Develop social skills
21
Considerations …
•
What is the child’s performance level in each area of
literacy? (based on Gen ed and Braille-specific
assessments)
• Am I providing sufficient service time to allow flexibility
in when I choose to work with the child individually?
• Would a greater amount of pull-out now make more
inclusion possible later on?
• Based on on-going data collection, should I consider
changing the balance?
22
FIVE TIPS FOR
FACILITATING
INCLUSION
23
1. Prioritize positive collaboration
with classroom teachers
 The “ownership” challenge
 Step back (19 Ways)
 Reassure teachers about visual assignments
 Set high expectations from the beginning (video)
 Be sensitive to the multiple demands on classroom
teachers’ time and plan contacts strategically
 Contribute to the learning of other children in the class
 Assess and evaluate the student’s progress together
 Listen to classroom teachers’ concerns
24
3. Take advantage of instructional
materials that facilitate inclusion
Word PlayHouse
Early Braille Trade Books
http://tech.aph.org/ebt/
25
4. Promote independent work habits
 Beware of “learned helplessness”
 Step back
 Start during individual instruction
 Preview assignments
 Teach organizational skills
26
Temporary (Invented) Spelling
27
5. Advocate for technology
 Expand children’s access
to a wide variety of
devices
 Solve the Computer Lab
dilemma
 Let our students join the
21st century!
28
Continuing the discussion …
 How can we provide TVIs with the background in literacy instruction





they need to teach children who are learning to read in Braille?
In response to the results of the ABC Braille Study, how can we
improve literacy outcomes for our Braille readers?
What factors contribute to successful inclusion for students who read
Braille?
How do we encourage parents to become involved in their children’s
concept development and literacy learning? (including learning Braille)
How can we get technology into the hands of our younger learners?
What is the optimum balance between paper-based and paperless
Braille devices for beginning Braille students?
How do we meet the literacy needs of potential Braille students who
are non-traditional learners?
29

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