Teaching Braille Reading & Writing

NARRATOR: The name “Perkins”
carved in stone. Below a Gothic tower, a boy
navigates with a cane. A title: HASTY: Literacy, for all
readers, is pretty much the same. Students who read Braille have
some additional tasks that they have to… that they
have to learn along the process of managing the actual physical
Braille as opposed to print. But the literacy that we
anticipate for our kids who are sighted learners, we
anticipate the same kind of literacy levels for students
who are Braille readers. NARRATOR:
Fade to black. A graphic of the Perkins logo swoops across the screen,
revealing a chapter heading: HASTY: I think it’s absolutely a
requirement. I think it’s really important to
read to all kids when they’re really young, for a
whole, long list of reasons. But it’s very much so important
for a Braille reader. Braille readers don’t see other
kids reading books. They don’t… they don’t get to
have those experiences if they’re not physically there,
and so it’s important that they be able to experience
it first-hand so that they’re in love with
books when they hopefully get started reading. NARRATOR: In a photograph, a
group of kindergarten students sits on a colorful rug in their
classroom. In front of them on a small
chair, a man wearing a tall, red and white striped
hat holds a book open so the children can see the
illustrations as he reads to them. HASTY: When a sighted child
reads with a parent or someone else, they are
looking at the pictures and they are discussing the
story, so that’s when language development really
begins to happen. In addition to talking about the
pictures and the story, you’re looking at doing things
like comparing. Like, “This is bigger than
that,” or, “oh, look what color this
is,” or, “doesn’t he look like a
scary character?” So language development happens
there, and it’s really important that Braille readers or
pre-Braille readers have those same kinds of
experiences because they’re not going to
have the pictures to create that stimulus. NARRATOR: In a video clip, a
young boy with glasses and his teacher are reading a
book which contains large, colorful tactile
graphics. Together, they explore a raised
line illustration of a bright blue worm. The boy then turns to a page
with several different textures and graphics. HASTY: Having discussions and
building up language based on those discussions about
what the story is. Of course, if they’re really
lucky, they have some wonderful little stories that
also have tactile graphics in them. NARRATOR:
Fade to black. A graphic of the Perkins logo swoops across the screen,
revealing a chapter heading: HASTY: Students who read Braille
are… develop in a similar way to students who are sighted, and
being able to represent your thoughts and your actions,
whatever, in a written way means that you need to have a
concept of the experience of having done that, and the
language to express having done that. We see, sometimes, a lag with
students who are Braille readers and developing
those concepts, they don’t have as many experiences for things
they see happening away from their… they don’t
personally experience like sighted learners do. So we work really hard with
young readers to add as many experiences as we can and to
make sure they have the language that goes along with those
experiences. The ideal thing would be to
also… and to have what’s called a “Twin Vision
book;” to have a book that has the print for you but also has
Braille. NARRATOR: In an open book, the
text on a page reads, “Children’s Braille Book Club.” Braille lettering is visible on
the pages as well. The page is then turned,
revealing colorful illustrations in an Arthur the Aardvark story. HASTY: It wouldn’t be for
students able to read the Braille to know that
there are words on the page and that’s where the story comes
from; that’s how that happens. And for them to have that
tactile input that there are words there is important. NARRATOR: We see a teacher and a
young boy who is a pre-Braille reader
lying side-by-side on the floor. In front of them is an open Twin
Vision book which they are reading together. TEACHER: Do you want to feel and
I’ll tell you what it says? HASTY: But in discussing this–
the characters that are in the story, the
storyline, helping the young child begin to
make some comparisons or use descriptive words– those
kinds of language development pieces are very, very important. NARRATOR:
Fade to black. A graphic of the Perkins logo swoops across the screen,
revealing a chapter heading: HASTY: There are two things that
are in addition to the decoding and the phonics and
the comprehension and the normal components of
reading. The Braille reader has the
mechanics of actually reading the Braille page and finding
things on the Braille page, and of course, then writing and
the mechanics of using the tools to do that. NARRATOR: In a video clip, four
students who are blind and their teacher sit at a round
table. Each of the students has a page
of Braille text on the table in front of them. A close-up shows one boy’s
fingers tracking a line of Braille across the page. HASTY: Some readers have tactile
sensitivity in different fingers. There are some methods that are
pretty standard in how we teach kids to use both
hands and to use all the fingers to do different
kinds of jobs. Some students will have
sensitivity… more sensitivity in one finger than in other
fingers, and so may use different fingers than other
kids do. Some kids will use one hand to
anticipate the next line and go there before they finish
the end of the line, some kids will not do that. So kids are going to develop
their own reading styles in Braille, just like kids who
don’t read Braille are going to develop their own
reading styles. NARRATOR: In a video clip, a
young boy who is blind sits at a table in a library
with a large Braille book in front of him. In a close-up, both hands are
shown tracking the lines of Braille type. The fingers of his left hand
track about halfway across the page, then drop down
and back to the left to find the start of the next
line. HASTY: Generally, one finger is
doing the actual perception of the letter itself, and the
other fingers are helping to track across the line,
horizontally. One hand may leave that line and
go to the next line to be prepared for when that
happens. Some fingers are looking for
either the end of the line or the space after punctuation
or the space after words, so different fingers are doing
different jobs in the process. One finger is doing the primary
perception of the actual letter itself– the actual
reading. NARRATOR: In a video clip, two
adolescent boys who are blind are sitting at a
round table, each with a page of Braille text in front of
them. The boy on the left uses just
his right hand to track and read. The other tracks the line with
the fingers of both hands. HASTY: There have been several
studies– one very recent– to look at whether contracted or
uncontracted Braille… having students start off
letter-by-letter Braille or using the contractions that
are nature… that are part of… a natural
part of Braille. And what they discovered was
that there really is not a whole lot of significant
difference in the long run by the time students are pretty
solid readers, depending on which one they started. In looking at the environment in
which students learn to read Braille, most of the
kids in the country are included in regular classrooms in their
own neighborhood schools, so they have teachers, the
visually impaired, that are the specialists in
teaching Braille, and they very often are
itinerant and come certain days, certain times, to see the
student. So within that environment, you
have decide whether the student will learn to actually read–
learn all of the pieces of reading like decoding and
comprehension and phonics– in the regular classroom with
his or her classmates, or whether that’s going to
happen in a separate setting with a teacher of the visually
impaired. And that very much depends on
the environmental philosophies that are there in that
particular school. So they end up having sort of a
team of reading teachers to help them learn to read. NARRATOR: In a video clip, a
young boy who is blind is shown working one-on-one with a
teacher of the visually impaired. TEACHER: What’s this one right
here? It’s a contracted word. It’s little BF. Are you familiar with that? STUDENT: Oh, I think so. TEACHER: Excellent. NARRATOR: The boy is reading
aloud to the teacher from a Braille book that is open
on his desk. HASTY: What we look at, what we
know, is the most efficient way to read; the most efficient,
accurate way to do… to read, and we hope we teach kids those
skills. But they need to have a choice
in how they apply those skills based on their own reading style
and what’s comfortable for them. NARRATOR:
Fade to black. A graphic of the Perkins logo swoops across the screen,
revealing a chapter heading: HASTY: The Braille codes change
from time to time, and generally, those changes are
to include numerous things that we’re seeing in print. There is a code for math, which
hopefully, students learn right off the bat in the very
beginning when they learn to count. There is a code for music. There is a code for chemistry. NARRATOR: In a video clip, two
boys who are blind are working on a geometry
problem in math class. The teacher poses a question
about the location of a point on a grid that is represented by
a tactile graphic with Braille text as well. STUDENT: This is the rest of
them, I see. TEACHER: Good. HASTY: The ideal time is when
the student needs that… needs to use that code, and it
can vary based on a student’s school and what their curriculum
looks like, what their additional activities
look like. So if third graders are learning
to read music, then that’s when the music code happens. If a student has decided that he
wants to join band and play the flute at seventh
grade, then that’s when music happens. So… unless they’ve had some
instruction for some reason before that. But it’s the same as with
algebra. NARRATOR: Back in the geometry
class, the two boys are now attempting to locate
points of a triangle and identify them as locations
on an X-Y axis. HASTY: As the tasks increase, as
you come to al… you don’t learn algebra codes
until you get algebra. So as the academic tasks
increase, an additional set of instructions are important
for a Braille reader. NARRATOR:
Fade to black. A graphic of the Perkins logo swoops across the screen,
revealing a chapter heading: HASTY: So there are lots of
visual clues for visual learners just in how
the page is laid out. And for Braille readers, there
is Braille formats to also give them as many of
those same clues as we can to help them organize the
information that they’re reading into groups of things, into task
lists, the same as a visual learner
has. NARRATOR: On the open pages of a
science textbook, we see an illustration of a cell
with a cutaway allowing the reader to see the
organelles inside. As the camera tilts up, we see
the corresponding page in a Braille textbook, which
includes tactile graphics of the cell and its structures,
and Braille labels for each. HASTY: If, for instance, you
have a worksheet page where there are instructions for
what it is you do with the next five sentences,
those instructions are set off in a certain way so
that you know where the instructions are and you can
find them pretty easily– you can go back to them in a
testing situation, for instance, a multiple-choice testing
situation. The question is written in a
certain place, and then the answers are written
in a certain arrangement so that they’re easy to… easy
for the Braille reader to go through and read them and
make the choice so that they can read it as
efficiently and as quickly as possible. NARRATOR: In a science test
book, printed illustrations of two single-celled organisms
are shown. A number of multiple choice
questions are below the illustrations. On the facing page, there is a
raised line drawing of the same organisms, and the
questions are printed in Braille below the drawings. HASTY: As in print, if you look
at a textbook, we see new words in a pink box over in
the margin, or the words that are in the glossary are all
written in bold or they’re all written in red ink or whatever. There are Braille symbols that
are written just before the actual word that tell you
that there’s something about this. And it’s another piece of
instruction we have to let students who don’t color vision
understand what that means. What is… what is… does red
ink symbolize? What is it the symbol for? So that when they see that
symbol, they know that that means that those are new
words and they’re probably going to be on the test Friday
morning. Or that that word is in the
glossary, because it’s in bold. So you can go there and look it
up if you’re not real sure what it is. And you might have to do… go
there and look it up for your assignment at the end
of this chapter. NARRATOR:
Fade to black. A graphic of the Perkins logo swoops across the screen,
revealing a chapter heading: HASTY: The initial job of the
teacher of the visually impaired is to provide as much
understanding for the regular classroom teacher about what
life’s going to be like with all of a sudden, having a
student who’s a Braille reader in their classroom. So to be able to share the
information about how they’re going to accomplish certain
tasks and what kinds of adaptations are needed, what
kinds of adaptations are not needed. When do you let the student do
what they need to do on their own, without… without
any support? And the second thing is to look
at the curriculum and how the teacher of the
visually impaired can support the regular classroom teacher in
making sure that there are Braille materials– both the
actually textbook and workbook pages– but all
kinds of things like flash cards and story cards and
that kind of thing. NARRATOR: In a photograph, a
young boy who is blind sits at classroom table with a
teacher for the visually impaired. The boy is reading from a
Braille book. On the table between the teacher
and the boy, is a Perkins Brailler. In the background, we see the
boy’s classmates writing with pencils. We can also see a large pad of
paper on an easel with the day’s assignments
written on it. HASTY: The technology that the
student will be using, and it varies at grade level, is
another thing that can be disruptive to other
kids. They all want to see what the
new cool thing is, so figuring out a way together
to share with the whole class, “This is how… this is how
Meghan does this “in our classroom, and this is
the tools that she uses. “Meghan, will you share with
them about how, you know, “what is it that you do– how
did you use this piece of equipment and what it does
for you?” NARRATOR: In a science class,
two students who are blind take notes. In the foreground, one student
types on his laptop. His classmate to his left uses
her electronic Braille note taker. HASTY: The other kids in the
classroom, it’s important that they accept this student as
an equal classmate and learner and don’t feel they need to
babysit or take of the student who is blind, and
that they need… they also need to help support
taking care of the technology that’s in the classroom as well. And I think creating that kind
of environment is another thing that has to
happen between the teacher of the visually impaired and the
regular classroom teacher, so that the student who is a
Braille reader is allowed to learn and participate in
class like any other kind of student. For the classroom teacher and
the teacher of the visually impaired to work
together to meet the needs of the student, the first issue
is a teaching philosophy. They have to both be on board
with the same methods of teaching reading, and there
is a wide range of those and they all have their own
unique patterns of how new words are presented
and how they’re integrated into stories and that kind of
thing. So the two teachers need to be
able to work together within that philosophy and those
materials. The teacher of the visually
impaired may do some pre-teaching of new vocabulary
words because of how they’re written in Braille, and
so knowing exactly where they’re going to be sharing a teacher’s
guide, that kind of thing, to be able to anticipate what
skills a student’s going to need in order to produce… to be
productive in the next level. NARRATOR:
Fade to black.

One thought on “Teaching Braille Reading & Writing

  • July 21, 2019 at 1:47 pm

    Where,do,I buy children books that was mentioned by,perkins in south,africa


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