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Anna M. Swenson Braille Literacy Consultant NFB Braille Symposium September 29, 2012.

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Presentation on theme: "Anna M. Swenson Braille Literacy Consultant NFB Braille Symposium September 29, 2012."— Presentation transcript:

1 Anna M. Swenson Braille Literacy Consultant NFB Braille Symposium September 29, 2012

2 CHALLENGES Diversity Emergent Literacy Curriculum Inclusion CHOICES Assessment Goals Setting Strategies Learning Activities OUTCOMES Motivation Engagement Learning ECC proficiency

3 Support Staff, Gen. Ed. Teacher and Others Teacher of the Visually Impaired Student and Family Collaboration 3

4 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

5 To contract or not to contract? 5 That was the question that launched the ABC* Braille Study. Alphabetic Braille and Contracted Braille

6 The Braille Study Research focus: Are there differences in the childrens reading & writing performance based on whether they were initially taught in contracted or uncontracted Braille? Longitudinal study, 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

7 Major Findings Emerson, Holbrook, & DAndrea, (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

8 1. Teaching the Braille Code 2. The Role of the TVI in Teaching Reading 3. Assessment 4. Literacy Instruction Implications 8 Implications for Real-Life Teaching: One Teachers Interpretation

9 For Preschoolers and Older Students with Additional Learning Challenges 9

10 Linking Concepts to Literacy: Maxs Home Depot Book 10 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

11 Interactive Read-Alouds Motivation Book Language Vocabulary Higher Level Thinking Concepts 11

12 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

13 13 Braille Illustrations (Lamb, 1996)

14 A Suggested Approach to Teaching Braille 14 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

15 Motivating Words … 15

16 Its a Race! Reading Connected Text 16

17 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

18 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

19 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

20 Incorporating Braille instruction into the standard curriculum 20

21 The Balancing Act INCLUSION INDIVIDUAL INSTRUCTION Talk about books Share writing Participate in reading group Learn classroom behaviors necessary to function as part of a group, including independent work habits Develop social skills Work on the Braille code 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 21

22 Considerations … What is the childs 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


24 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 students progress together Listen to classroom teachers concerns 24

25 3. Take advantage of instructional materials that facilitate inclusion Word PlayHouse Early Braille Trade Books 25

26 4. Promote independent work habits Beware of learned helplessness Step back Start during individual instruction Preview assignments Teach organizational skills 26

27 Temporary (Invented) Spelling 27

28 5. Advocate for technology Expand childrens access to a wide variety of devices Solve the Computer Lab dilemma Let our students join the 21 st century! 28

29 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 childrens 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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