Handout

Report
At the Tips of Your Fingers:
Practical Methods for Teaching
Independent Hand Patterns to
Increase Braille Reading Rates
Rachel Anne Schles, M.Ed.
AER International Conference
Bellevue, Washington
July 21, 2012
Introduction
Curriculum and research completed for my master’s
project at Vanderbilt University



Received feedback from active TVIs and Ph.D.s
Based on current literature
IRB approval at Vanderbilt to implement research

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2
Looking for TVIs interested in implementing the
curriculum
Rachel Anne Schles
7/21/2012
Why Discuss Braille Reading?
Oral reading rates for students who read braille are typically
1.5-3.5 times slower than their sighted peers.
Words Per Minute
3
Grade
Johns’ (2008) median
ranges for the 50%
percentile
ABC Braille
Study
1st
7-50
30
2nd
50-89
45
3rd
72-107
51
4th
94-124
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Rachel Anne Schles
7/21/2012
Why do you think reading rate is important?
Consider:
 Long-term employment implications
 Educational implications
 Social implications
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7/21/2012
Research on the Use of Hands and Fingers
in Braille Reading

In spite of over 110 years of research, little is known
about the relationship between the use of the hands
and fingers, fluency, and comprehension for
individuals (children and adults) who read braille.

Research does suggest that the most proficient
(fastest) braille readers use two hands to read
(Eastman, 1942; Kusajima, 1974; Lowenfeld, Abel, & Hatlen, 1968; Mousty
and Bertelson, 1985; Wormsley, 1996; Wright, Wormsley, & Kamei-Hannan,
2009).
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Rachel Anne Schles
7/21/2012
Additional Research to Consider
Neurological and developmental research suggests
teaching complex, coordinated hand movements to
children before the corpus callosum reaches full
maturity (10-11 years old) supports brain
development


Creates more intricate neuro-pathways as the brain
develops (Elbert, Pantev, Wienbruch, Rockstroh, & Taub, 1995;
Johansson, 2002; Schlaug, Jancke, Huang, Staiger, & Steinmetz, 1995)
Consideration of individual learning differences are
key

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Rachel Anne Schles
7/21/2012
Overview of Hand Patterns for Braille Reading
One Handed:
Right-only
Left-only
Left marks
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Two Handed:
Dependent:
• Parallel
Independent:
• Split Pattern
• Scissor Pattern
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7/21/2012
Split Pattern
Both hands in tandem until near the end of the line, when the left
hand returns to find the next line while the right finishes reading.
The right hand then returns to meet the left at the margin, and
both hands read together again. (Wormsley, 1981, p. 327)
Left Hand Reading
Left Hand Returning
Right Hand Reading
Right Hand Returning
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Scissor Pattern
Each hand independently: the left hand reads from the beginning
of the line to approximately the middle; the right hand then takes
over the reading process while the left locates the next line. In
other words, the hands meet in the middle of each line and then
separate, alternating the reading process. (Wormsley, 1981, p. 327)
Left Hand Reading
Left Hand Returning
Right Hand Reading
Right Hand Returning
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Rachel Anne Schles
7/21/2012
How Do We Teach Hand Patterns?

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Existing research focuses on current practices of
braille readers
Only study to teach a pattern (Wormsley, 1981)
taught scissor pattern, but students only practiced
the movements, not while reading

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no statistically significant results
Mangold’s Developmental Curriculum mentions
independent hand patterns but does not discuss how
to teach them
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7/21/2012
The Hand Pattern Toolbox

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Have beginning braille students start with parallel
pattern
Introduce independent hand patterns as early as
possible
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Probe students’ readiness for formal instruction in
independent patterns
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Don’t pressure students to master them
Note: individual differences in learners
Different reading tasks may require different hand
pattern skills
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i.e. Left marks pattern for tables or charts
Rachel Anne Schles
7/21/2012
Curriculum Overview
Initial Assessment Procedures
Reading rate, knowledge of braille, interests

Instruction in Spilt Pattern and Scissor Pattern
7 lessons for each pattern:

1. Introduction
2. Modeling and guided practice
3. Guided and independent practice
4. Practice on grade level materials
5. Read-along practice at different rates
6. Silent reading practice
7. Fluency practice
Ongoing Assessment Procedures
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12
Weekly probes and student self-monitoring
Rachel Anne Schles
7/21/2012
Alignment with Common Core Standards,
Grade 5

English Language Arts (Fluency)
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Writing (Text Types and Purposes)
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RF.5.4 Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support
comprehension
W.5.2. Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a
point of view with reasons and information
Math
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5.G.1. and 5.G.2. (Graphing points in the first quadrant of a
x-y axes)
Rachel Anne Schles
7/21/2012
Alignment with Common Core Standards,
Grades 9-10

Reading: Literature and Information Texts
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
Writing
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RL.9-10.10 By the end of grade 9, read and comprehend
literary nonfiction in the grades 9-10 text band proficiently, with
scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.
W.9-10.1 Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of
substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant
and sufficient evidence
Science & Technical Subjects (Integration of Knowledge
and Ideas)
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RST.9-10.7. Translate quantitative or technical information
expressed in words in a text into visual form (e.g. a table or
chart) and translate information expressed visually or
mathematically (e.g. in an equation) into words
Rachel Anne Schles
7/21/2012
Initial Assessment Procedures
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Knowledge of the braille code
Observation of current hand patterns
Reading grade level and comprehension
Braille miscues
Words per minute (preferred reading rate & fast
reading rate)
Student interview
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Student Interview
Objective is to determine students’ views on their
braille reading skills as well as reading materials to be
used.
Include questions such as:



“How do you usually move your hands when you read
braille? Can you show me?”
“Do you know any other ways you can move your hands
to read braille? Can you show me?”
“Since you’ll be doing a lot of reading when we’re
together I’d like to pick out some books you’d like to read,
do you have any favorite books or topics you like to read
about?”
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I have a bunch of data, now what?
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Assess students’ performance using rubric (baseline
data point)
Select highly engaging reading materials
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Review current average reading rates

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Learning a new motor skill which goes against a motor
pattern we already know is hard, make it as fun as
possible!
Set short and long term goals for increased reading rate
Prepare data collection tools
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Organize data filing system (electronic or paper), prepare
long-term tracking method (e.g. spreadsheet), and make
sure you have space to securely store data
Rachel Anne Schles
7/21/2012
Split Rubric
Component
Left and right hands read
together for 50-75% of the
line of text
Left had locates the
beginning of the next line
while right hand
completes the line of text
After finishing reading the
line of text, the right hand
meets the left at the
beginning of the next line
Four fingers on the right
hand are engaged in
reading braille
Four fingers on the left
hand are engaged in
reading braille
Fluency of hand
movements: Hands
moved smoothly during
transitions between lines
18
Component Score:
/24
4
Completed
movement on 9-10
lines
3
Completed
movement on 7-8
lines
2
Completed
movement on 4-6
lines
1
Completed
movement on 0-3
lines
Completed
movement on 9-10
lines
Completed
movement on 7-8
lines
Completed
movement on 4-6
lines
Completed
movement on 0-3
lines
Completed
movement on 9-10
lines
Completed
movement on 7-8
lines
Completed
movement on 4-6
lines
Completed
movement on 0-3
lines
Completed
movement on 9-10
lines
Completed
movement on 9-10
lines
Completed
movement on 7-8
lines
Completed
movement on 7-8
lines
Completed
movement on 4-6
lines
Completed
movement on 4-6
lines
Completed
movement on 0-3
lines
Completed
movement on 0-3
lines
Completed
movement on 9-10
lines
Completed
movement on 7-8
lines
Completed
movement on 4-6
lines
Completed
movement on 0-3
lines
Rachel Anne Schles
7/21/2012
Split Rubric, cont.
Words per minute (WPM) probe:
Component Score:
Today’s reading rate:
Scoring Guide for WPM:
WPM
/2
0: reading rate is below goal
1: reading rate is equal to goal
Current goal:
WPM
2: reading rate exceeds goal
Comprehension‡:
Today’s comprehension score:
Baseline comprehension score:
Observations of hand movements while reading:
Total Score:
/26‡
‡ Note: Comprehension is qualitatively measured and is therefore not included with the
quantitative measures or score on the rubric.
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Scissor Rubric
Component
Left hand only reads the left
side of the page, only crossing
midline to finish reading a word
Left hand locates the beginning
of the next line after reading to
the middle of the page
Component Score:
4
3
Completed movement
on 9-10 lines
Completed movement
on 7-8 lines
Completed movement
on 9-10 lines
Completed movement
on 7-8 lines
Left and right hands touch
briefly in the middle of the page
Completed movement
on 9-10 lines
Completed movement
on 7-8 lines
Right hand only reads the right
side of the page *
Completed movement
on 9-10 lines
Completed movement
on 7-8 lines
Right hand locates the middle of
the next line after reading to the
end of the current line
Completed movement
on 9-10 lines
Completed movement
on 7-8 lines
Four fingers on the right hand
are engaged in reading braille
Completed movement
on 9-10 lines
Completed movement
on 7-8 lines
Four fingers on the left hand are
engaged in reading braille
Completed movement
on 9-10 lines
Completed movement
on 7-8 lines
Fluency of hand movements:
Hands are continuously moving
together or apart when
reading**
Completed movement
on 9-10 lines
Completed movement
on 7-8 lines
20
/32
2
Completed
movement on 4-6
lines
Completed
movement on 4-6
lines
Completed
movement on 4-6
lines
Completed
movement on 4-6
lines
Completed
movement on 4-6
lines
Completed
movement on 4-6
lines
Completed
movement on 4-6
lines
Completed
movement on 4-6
lines
Rachel Anne Schles
7/21/2012
1
Completed movement
on 0-3 lines
Completed movement
on 0-3 lines
Completed movement
on 0-3 lines
Completed movement
on 0-3 lines
Completed movement
on 0-3 lines
Completed movement
on 0-3 lines
Completed movement
on 0-3 lines
Completed movement
on 0-3 lines
Scissor Rubric, cont.
Words per minute (WPM) probe:
Component Score:
Today’s reading rate:
Scoring Guide for WPM:
WPM
/2
0: reading rate is below goal
1: reading rate is equal to goal
Current goal:
WPM
2: reading rate exceeds goal
Comprehension‡:
Today’s comprehension score:
Baseline comprehension score:
Observations of hand movements while reading:
Total Score:
/34‡
‡ Note: Comprehension is qualitatively measured and is therefore not included with the
quantitative measures or score on the rubric.
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Rachel Anne Schles
7/21/2012
Materials
Prior to starting the unit prepare:
 Vocabulary flashcards
 Worksheets 1 and 2
 Daily data collection sheets
 Student’s tactile graph for charting progress


Screen board with crayon or embossed sheet with tactile stickers
Obtain written permission to video record weekly
probes for easier data collection
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Vocabulary Flashcards
Define any word they are unfamiliar with, but don’t give
too detailed of a description, e.g.:




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Hand pattern: how you move your hands when you read
braille
Parallel pattern: when your hands move together the
whole time you read
Split pattern: When your hands move together for most of
the line and then split apart
Scissor pattern: When your hands move separately the
entire time you read
Rachel Anne Schles
7/21/2012
Instructional Progression
7 lessons for each pattern:
1. Introduction
2. Modeling and guided practice
3. Guided and independent practice
4. Practice on grade level materials
5. Read-along at different rates
6. Silent reading practice
7. Fluency practice
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7/21/2012
Lesson Routine

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Capture students’ attention/activate prior knowledge
(Conduct probe once a week)
Instruct with modeling/guided practice/independent
practice as appropriate
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Use last few minutes of reading for lesson assessment
Review/Closure: have students reflect and write
about their experience, provide writing prompt if
students struggled with an activity
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Rachel Anne Schles
7/21/2012
Keep in Mind

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Breaks are important!
Each lesson will most likely be repeated, having an
established routine is great, but give students
choices as much as possible
Encourage students to practice, and if appropriate,
establish rewards system prior to beginning the unit
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7/21/2012
Lesson 1: Introduction to Independent Hand
Patterns
Objective: At the end of the lesson, Melissa will give
two reasons for increasing her reading rate, develop a
goal to increase her reading rate, and complete two
worksheets with 80% accuracy.
Unique Lesson Activities
 Introduce vocabulary terms with flashcards
 Worksheets 1 and 2
 Goal setting and self-monitoring graph
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Worksheet 1
Starting with the left hand in the left corner, and the right hand in
the right corner, smoothly move hands together and apart,
always in opposite directions
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7/21/2012
Worksheet 1, Double Spaced
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Rachel Anne Schles
7/21/2012
Worksheet 1, Single Spaced
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7/21/2012
Worksheet 2
Split Pattern:
Using a thin string to mark about 2/3 across the page so that
students can learn to identify where their hands will be splitting
Scissor Pattern:
Mark the middle of the page with the string, having students
practice identifying the middle of the page where their hands will
be meeting
Note: Worksheet 2 is double spaced rows of dots 2-5.
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Goal Setting

Have a conversation with students’ regarding their
reading rates and average reading rates for their
grade



Consider bringing in a peer also needing to increase
reading rate so they can work on goals together
Have students set their own long and short term
goals
Important for student’s self-efficacy that they set their
own goals and learn to adjust accordingly if their first
plan does not work
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7/21/2012
Students’ Self-Monitoring
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

Using a tactile graph students chart their own
progress
Gives tangible representation to abstract concepts of
reading rate
Builds tactile graphicacy skills, important in several
areas of the general curriculum
* Consider having goal setting & self-monitoring as a
separate lesson between lessons 1 and 2
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Lesson 2: Modeling and Guided Practice
Using High Interest Reading Materials
Objective: At the end of the lesson, Melissa will
accurately complete the pattern 75% of the time and
when prompted, explain the steps of the pattern with
75-80% accuracy.
Unique Lesson Activities
 Use double spaced high interest reading materials to
start the lesson
 Transition to single spaced text when students can
complete pattern with about 75%
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Lesson 3: Guided and Independent Practice
Using High Interest Reading Materials
Objective: By the end of the lesson, Melissa will
accurately perform the pattern with 90% accuracy and
when prompted, explain the steps of the pattern with
100% accuracy.
Unique Lesson Activities
 Use double or single spaced text to start the lesson
 Transition to single spaced text before independent
practice
 Independent practice using single spaced text
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Lesson 4: Practice of Pattern on Grade Level
Materials
Objective: By the end of the lesson, Melissa will
accurately perform the pattern 95% of the time while
reading and when prompted, explain the steps of the
pattern with 100% accuracy.
Unique Lesson Activities
 Allow students to select materials, even if it’s
something they have read recently
 Encourage short breaks to reduce frustration

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Important to build stamina
Rachel Anne Schles
7/21/2012
Lesson 5: Read-Along Practice at Different Rates
Objective: Melissa will accurately perform the pattern
95% of the time while reading along with an audio
recording at five different speeds, and when prompted,
explain the steps of the pattern with 100% accuracy.
Notes:


Students may struggle with reading along more than oral
reading because they are not setting their own pace
Students’ reflection an important part of this lesson and
may be used as a talking point if the lesson is repeated
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Lesson 5 Data Collection
For each reading speed, did students maintain the
correct wpm/reading speed and comprehension while
preforming the pattern with 95% accuracy?
Reading Pace
WPM/Rate
Did Student
Maintain
Rate?
Comprehension
Accuracy of
Hand Pattern
Very Slow
Slow
Average rate
Fast
Much faster
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Rachel Anne Schles
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Lesson 6: Silent Reading Practice
Objective: Melissa will accurately perform the pattern 95%
of the time while reading silently while maintaining or
increasing her comprehension, and when prompted,
explain the steps of the pattern with 100% accuracy.
Unique Lesson Activities
 Students read silently during this lesson



Comprehension probes are important to determine if they are
reading
For older students reading rates should be faster than oral
reading rates
As much as possible allow for extended periods of silent
reading to build stamina
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Rachel Anne Schles
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Lesson 7: Fluency and Continued Practice
Objective: Melissa will perform the pattern with 95%
accuracy at least 15% faster than her last reading rate
probe while maintaining the same, or increased,
comprehension scores.
Unique Lesson Activities:
 May vary oral and silent reading practice
 This lesson should be repeated as needed once the
pattern has been mastered
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Rachel Anne Schles
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Ongoing (Weekly) Data Collection
Conduct weekly probes using the rubrics:
 Observation of hand movements
 Words per minute
 Reading and braille miscues
 Reading comprehension
*Be sure to be consistent so that each week your data is
measuring the same thing, e.g.:




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All oral reading, not silent
Same grade level materials (this may mean probing using a
different level of materials that you instructed on that week)
Consistent comprehension questions
Consistent length of passage
Rachel Anne Schles
7/21/2012
Sample Weekly Probe Data
Sample data based on Scissor Pattern Rubric
(out of 34 possible points)
35
30
25
20
15
10
5
0
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Rachel Anne Schles
7/21/2012
Split to Scissor Transition
Don’t forget your hand pattern toolbox!
 Once split pattern is mastered, continue to provide
opportunities for students to explore scissor pattern
 Consider formal instruction in scissor pattern when:


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Can consistently move their hands independent of one
another
Have equal tactile sensitivity in each hand to read braille
clearly
Rachel Anne Schles
7/21/2012
Questions/Comments?

Questions?

Thank you for attending!

For more information about the curriculum or if you
are interested in piloting the curriculum please
contact me at:

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[email protected]
Rachel Anne Schles
7/21/2012
References
Eastman, P. F. (1942). An analytic study of braille reading.
(Unpublished doctoral dissertation). University of Texas at Austin,
Austin, Texas.
Elbert, T., Pantev, C., Wienbruch, C., Rockstroh, B., & Taub, E. (1995).
Increased cortical representation of the fingers of the left hand in string
players. Science, 270, 305-307.
Johansson, B. (2002). Music, age, performance, and excellence: A
neuroscientific approach. Psychomusicology, 18, 46-58.
Kusajima, T. (1974). Visual reading and braille reading: An
experimental investigation of the physiology and psychology of visual
and tactual reading. New York, NY: American Foundation for the Blind.
Lowenfeld, B., Abel, G. L., & Hatlen, P. (1969). Blind children learn to
read. Springfield, Illinois: Charles C. Thomas.
Mommers, M. J. C. (1980). Braille reading: Effects of different hand and
finger usage. Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness, 74, 338-343.
45
Rachel Anne Schles
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References
Mousty, P., & Bertelson, P. (1985). A study of braille reading 1: Reading
speed as a function of hand usage and context. The Quarterly Journal
of Experimental Psychology, 37A, 217-233.
Schlaug, G., Jancke, L., Huang, Y., Staiger, J., & Steinmetz, H. (1995).
Increased corpus callosum size in musicians. Neuropsychologia, 33,
1047-1055.
Wormsley, D. P. (1996). Reading rates of young braille-reading
children. Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness, 90, 278-282.
Wormsley, D. P. (1981). Hand movement training in braille reading.
Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness, 75, 327-331.
Wright, T., Wormsley, D. P., & Kamei-Hannan, C. (2009). Hand
movements and braille reading efficiency: Data from the Alphabetic
Braille and Contracted Braille Study. Journal of Visual Impairment and
Blindness, 103, 649-661.
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