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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.

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Presentation on theme: "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."— Presentation transcript:

1 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

2 Introduction 7/21/2012Rachel Anne Schles2  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  Looking for TVIs interested in implementing the curriculum

3 Why Discuss Braille Reading? 7/21/2012Rachel Anne Schles3 Oral reading rates for students who read braille are typically times slower than their sighted peers. Grade Words Per Minute Johns’ (2008) median ranges for the 50% percentile ABC Braille Study 1 st nd rd th

4 Why do you think reading rate is important? 7/21/2012Rachel Anne Schles4 Consider:  Long-term employment implications  Educational implications  Social implications

5 Research on the Use of Hands and Fingers in Braille Reading 7/21/2012Rachel Anne Schles5  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).

6 Additional Research to Consider 7/21/2012Rachel Anne Schles6  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

7 Overview of Hand Patterns for Braille Reading 7/21/2012Rachel Anne Schles7 One Handed:  Right-only  Left-only  Left marks Two Handed: Dependent: Parallel Independent: Split Pattern Scissor Pattern

8 Split Pattern 7/21/2012Rachel Anne Schles8 Left Hand Reading Left Hand Returning Right Hand Reading Right Hand Returning 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)

9 Scissor Pattern 7/21/2012Rachel Anne Schles9 Left Hand Reading Left Hand Returning Right Hand Reading Right Hand Returning 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)

10 How Do We Teach Hand Patterns? 7/21/2012Rachel Anne Schles10  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  no statistically significant results  Mangold’s Developmental Curriculum mentions independent hand patterns but does not discuss how to teach them

11 The Hand Pattern Toolbox 7/21/2012Rachel Anne Schles11  Have beginning braille students start with parallel pattern  Introduce independent hand patterns as early as possible  Don’t pressure students to master them  Probe students’ readiness for formal instruction in independent patterns  Note: individual differences in learners  Different reading tasks may require different hand pattern skills  i.e. Left marks pattern for tables or charts

12 Curriculum Overview 7/21/2012Rachel Anne Schles12 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  Weekly probes and student self-monitoring

13 Alignment with Common Core Standards, Grade 5 7/21/2012Rachel Anne Schles13  English Language Arts (Fluency)  RF.5.4 Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension  Writing (Text Types and Purposes)  W.5.2. Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information  Math  5.G.1. and 5.G.2. (Graphing points in the first quadrant of a x-y axes)

14 Alignment with Common Core Standards, Grades /21/2012Rachel Anne Schles14  Reading: Literature and Information Texts  RL 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.  Writing  W 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)  RST 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

15 Initial Assessment Procedures 7/21/2012Rachel Anne Schles15  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

16 Student Interview 7/21/2012Rachel Anne Schles16 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?”

17 I have a bunch of data, now what? 7/21/2012Rachel Anne Schles17  Assess students’ performance using rubric (baseline data point)  Select highly engaging reading materials  Learning a new motor skill which goes against a motor pattern we already know is hard, make it as fun as possible!  Review current average reading rates  Set short and long term goals for increased reading rate  Prepare data collection tools  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

18 Split Rubric 7/21/2012Rachel Anne Schles18 Component4321 Left and right hands read together for 50-75% of the line of text Completed movement on 9-10 lines Completed movement on 7-8 lines Completed movement on 4-6 lines Completed movement on 0-3 lines Left had locates the beginning of the next line while right hand completes the line of text Completed movement on 9-10 lines Completed movement on 7-8 lines Completed movement on 4-6 lines Completed movement on 0-3 lines After finishing reading the line of text, the right hand meets the left at the beginning of the next line Completed movement on 9-10 lines Completed movement on 7-8 lines Completed movement on 4-6 lines Completed movement on 0-3 lines Four fingers on the right hand are engaged in reading braille Completed movement on 9-10 lines Completed movement on 7-8 lines Completed movement on 4-6 lines Completed movement on 0-3 lines Four fingers on the left hand are engaged in reading braille Completed movement on 9-10 lines Completed movement on 7-8 lines Completed movement on 4-6 lines Completed movement on 0-3 lines Fluency of hand movements: Hands moved smoothly during transitions between 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 Component Score: /24

19 Split Rubric, cont. 7/21/2012Rachel Anne Schles19 Words per minute (WPM) probe:Component Score: /2 Today’s reading rate:WPMScoring Guide for WPM: 0: reading rate is below goal 1: reading rate is equal to goal Current goal: WPM2: 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.

20 Scissor Rubric 7/21/2012Rachel Anne Schles20 Component Score: /32 Component4321 Left hand only reads the left side of the page, only crossing midline to finish reading a word Completed movement on 9-10 lines Completed movement on 7-8 lines Completed movement on 4-6 lines Completed movement on 0-3 lines Left hand locates the beginning of the next line after reading to the middle of the page Completed movement on 9-10 lines Completed movement on 7-8 lines Completed movement on 4-6 lines Completed movement on 0-3 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 Completed movement on 4-6 lines Completed movement on 0-3 lines Right hand only reads the right side of the page * Completed movement on 9-10 lines Completed movement on 7-8 lines Completed movement on 4-6 lines Completed movement on 0-3 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 Completed movement on 4-6 lines Completed movement on 0-3 lines Four fingers on the right hand are engaged in reading braille Completed movement on 9-10 lines Completed movement on 7-8 lines Completed movement on 4-6 lines Completed movement on 0-3 lines Four fingers on the left hand are engaged in reading braille Completed movement on 9-10 lines Completed movement on 7-8 lines Completed movement on 4-6 lines Completed movement on 0-3 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 Completed movement on 4-6 lines Completed movement on 0-3 lines

21 Scissor Rubric, cont. 7/21/2012Rachel Anne Schles21 Words per minute (WPM) probe:Component Score: /2 Today’s reading rate:WPMScoring Guide for WPM: 0: reading rate is below goal 1: reading rate is equal to goal Current goal: WPM2: 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.

22 Materials 7/21/2012Rachel Anne Schles22 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

23 Vocabulary Flashcards 7/21/2012Rachel Anne Schles23 Define any word they are unfamiliar with, but don’t give too detailed of a description, e.g.:  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

24 Instructional Progression 7/21/2012Rachel Anne Schles24 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

25 Lesson Routine 7/21/2012Rachel Anne Schles25  Capture students’ attention/activate prior knowledge  (Conduct probe once a week)  Instruct with modeling/guided practice/independent practice as appropriate  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

26 Keep in Mind 7/21/2012Rachel Anne Schles26  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

27 Lesson 1: Introduction to Independent Hand Patterns 7/21/2012Rachel Anne Schles27 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

28 Worksheet 1 7/21/2012Rachel Anne Schles28 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

29 Worksheet 1, Double Spaced 7/21/2012Rachel Anne Schles29

30 Worksheet 1, Single Spaced 7/21/2012Rachel Anne Schles30

31 Worksheet 2 7/21/2012Rachel Anne Schles31 Note: Worksheet 2 is double spaced rows of dots 2-5. 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

32 Goal Setting 7/21/2012Rachel Anne Schles32  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

33 Students’ Self-Monitoring 7/21/2012Rachel Anne Schles33  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

34 Lesson 2: Modeling and Guided Practice Using High Interest Reading Materials 7/21/2012Rachel Anne Schles34 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%

35 Lesson 3: Guided and Independent Practice Using High Interest Reading Materials 7/21/2012Rachel Anne Schles35 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

36 Lesson 4: Practice of Pattern on Grade Level Materials 7/21/2012Rachel Anne Schles36 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  Important to build stamina

37 Lesson 5: Read-Along Practice at Different Rates 7/21/2012Rachel Anne Schles37 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

38 Lesson 5 Data Collection 7/21/2012Rachel Anne Schles38 For each reading speed, did students maintain the correct wpm/reading speed and comprehension while preforming the pattern with 95% accuracy? Reading PaceWPM/Rate Did Student Maintain Rate? Comprehension Accuracy of Hand Pattern Very Slow Slow Average rate Fast Much faster

39 Lesson 6: Silent Reading Practice 7/21/2012Rachel Anne Schles39 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

40 Lesson 7: Fluency and Continued Practice 7/21/2012Rachel Anne Schles40 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

41 Ongoing (Weekly) Data Collection 7/21/2012Rachel Anne Schles41 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.:  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

42 Sample Weekly Probe Data 7/21/2012Rachel Anne Schles42 Sample data based on Scissor Pattern Rubric (out of 34 possible points)

43 Split to Scissor Transition 7/21/2012Rachel Anne Schles43 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:  Can consistently move their hands independent of one another  Have equal tactile sensitivity in each hand to read braille clearly

44 Questions/Comments? 7/21/2012Rachel Anne Schles44  Questions?  Thank you for attending!  For more information about the curriculum or if you are interested in piloting the curriculum please contact me at: 

45 References 7/21/2012Rachel Anne Schles45 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, Johansson, B. (2002). Music, age, performance, and excellence: A neuroscientific approach. Psychomusicology, 18, 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,

46 References 7/21/2012Rachel Anne Schles46 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, Schlaug, G., Jancke, L., Huang, Y., Staiger, J., & Steinmetz, H. (1995). Increased corpus callosum size in musicians. Neuropsychologia, 33, Wormsley, D. P. (1996). Reading rates of young braille-reading children. Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness, 90, Wormsley, D. P. (1981). Hand movement training in braille reading. Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness, 75, 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,


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