Future Reflections Fall 1991

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 KRISTIN'S CATERPILLAR

                                 by Kecia Binko

Editor's Note: The National Braille Readers are Leaders Contest (see 1991-92

contest form insert in this issue) is a wonderful motivational tool for teachers

and parents to use in encouraging students to read more Braille. However,

teacher Kecia Binko of Rochester, New York, used the contest as a springboard to

an even more creative method of stimulating her Braille student, eight-year-old

Kristen Clark, to read more. Here is what she did.
     At the beginning of the Braille reading contest I felt it was very

important for my student, Kristin, to have some tangible evidence of her reading

progress, not only for the contest, but for the entire school year. Thus,

"Kristin's Caterpillar" came to be.

     Every time Kristin read a book (for independent free reading aside from

classroom assigned reading) she could add a circle to her caterpillar and watch

it grow longer and longer. (Kristin, who has some remaining vision, is able to

see the colored circles on the classroom wall). Kristin is also a competitive

person by nature, and we soon came up with a year-long goal: to see if she could

read enough Braille books to make the caterpillar make a complete circle around

the vision room.

     During this activity we also kept a running tally, with an abacus, of the

number of pages read during the Braille Readers are Leaders Contest dates. This

way Kristin was able to see her number of pages read for the contest increase

daily.

     To make Kristin even more motivated to read, I placed special prize shapes

at various points on the wall. When Kristin's Caterpillar got to one of the

prize shapes, she would get a prize. The prizes were Braille books

(teacher-made), and Kristin won one about every three to four weeks.

     Not only did this turn out to be a great motivator for Kristin, but a great

record keeping system for me! Kristin's caterpillar almost made a complete

circle around the room. On the last day of school we took it off the wall, taped

it all together in a long, straight line, and measured it at 11 1/4 yards!

Kristin then took her very prized caterpillar home with a great sense of pride

and accomplishment.
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