Future Reflections Winter 1989, Vol. 8 No. 1

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by Myrna R. Olson, Ed.D.

Editor's Note: Dr. Myma Olson is an Associate Professor of Special Education at the University of North Dakota. She is also the author (in collaboration with Sally S. Mangold, Ph.D.) of Guidelines and Games for Teaching Efficient Braille Reading (Published by the A.F.B.). She developed the following outline as a handout for college students training to become teachers of blind children. Only part of the outline is printed here. The second half of the outline will be printed in the next issue of Future Reflections.


I. Build A Positive Attitude

A. Braille as an option, not a second-rate option
B. Provide Braille reading models
C. Provide Braille-print labels on environmental surroundings
D. Expose child to Braille-print books
E. Demonstrate that reading is fun!

II. Refine (or Develop) Sensory Motor Abilities

A. Tactual-Kinesthetic

1. Focus on large motor, body image first
2. When working on fine motor, tactual exploration and recognition should proceed from:
      a) differing textures and tempertures to...
      b) differing shapes, sizes, weights (three-dimensional objects) to...
      c) differing directional characteristics of three-dimensional objects to...
      d) two-dimensional representations of objects (e.g. geometric shapes) to...
      e) examination of Braille paragraphs, lines, symbols
3. Sample Activities
      a) Play with nesting-type toys; manipulative toys
      b) Encourage finger feeding; self- feeding (one to one and 1/2-yearolds)...sorting groceries (two and 1/2-year-olds)
      c) Give verbal descriptions of size, shape, etc. that relate to child's toys, clothes
      d) Introduce hand- and finger- strengthening toys and objects (clay, play doh, pinch clothespins)
      e) Introduce cutting, pasting, stringing, sorting, hole- punching (fouryearolds)
      f) Make "touch" scrapbooks
      g) Explore home-made tactile concept books
      h) Work through Touch and Tell Series, Tactile Road to Reading Series... APH)
      i) Track string, yarn, thread lines...repetitious Braille
      j) Practice reading, page-turning on old magazines and books

B. Auditory
1. Introduce sound toys and vary their positions, encourage pursuit (age six twelve months)
2. Play relaxing music at naptime; a radio, rhythm records in child's room
3. Play hide-and-seek with sound clues
4. Identify household objects by the sound they make
5. Visit stores and take walks, pointing out sounds in the neighborhood
6. Play word games (e.g. sounds of animals)
7. Do body movements to records
8. Give simple verbal directions for child to complete errands (four- to fiveyearolds)
9. Play "guess the feeling" by voice tone
10. Identify T. V. programs by their theme songs, voices, etc.
11. Point out the differences in sound from differing positions
12. Note with child the safety factors involved with sound

C. Visual-where there is some residual vision present
1. Place colorful sound mobiles in child's crib; guide hands to them
2. Present toys with contrasting color to background
3. Allow child his individual examination mode
4. Call attention to visual detail; tape- record child's description of what he sees
5. Have a treasure hunt for toys, treats
6. Encourage coloring and drawing on a screenboard
7. Practice matching objects to pictures (four-five years)
8. Engage child in visual sorting tasks

D. Gustatory
1. Introduce food variety early...texture, color, shape, temperature
2. Encourage early independence in snack-getting
3. Engage child in mealtime conversation, teaching him to eat simultaneously

E. Olfactory
1. Point out smells, test their recognition
2. Construct a set of small jars--food, poisons--discuss safety factors
3. Apply orientation and mobility to smell factors

III. Teach to Fill in Conceptual Gaps

A. Survey content of beginning readers
B. Administer basic concept test (Boehm, APH)
C. Use child's body parts and belongings to teach concept
D. Help child narrow focus to essential features of objects
E. Use consistent language and give lots of application practice
F. Focus on books--they contain pages; pictures resemble familiar objects; pictures and books have tops and bottoms, fronts and backs, etc.

IV. Develop Basic Mechanical Skills...Before Letter/Word Recognition

1. Use simulated materials (sticks, yarn, thread, repetitious Braille)
2. Use Mangold Developmental Program of Tactile Perception and Braille Letter Recognition
3. Hand-on-hand method (modelling)

B. Get the feeling of "light" touch
1. Verbal reinforcement, demonstration
2. Tracking across blank paper on a slippery surface
3. Rub chalk on fingertips, track until teacher reports that dots are coming out clean
4. Track ticker tape run through a homemade tachistocope
      a) Identify where lines start and stop
      b) Identify like and different symbols

C. Coordinate hand and finger movements
1. Use both hands, several fingers
2. Discuss function of "lead" fingers...detectives

D. Discriminate symbols (assume some language experience and hope word recognition has already taken place)
1. Flash cards
2. Drill sheets, push pins
3. Time and chart-Mangold book
4. Start with symbols that are grossly different first

Build Experiential Vocabularies

A. Practice comprehension that centers around main ideas and the affective...utilize imagery, emotional response
B. Attend to story length, interests
C. Point out use of structural and context clues
D. Read with taped version of story
E. Discuss and identify sign-post words (moreover, furthermore, also, likewise)
F. Discuss and identify turn-about words (but, yet, nevertheless, and, despite)
G. Use drill exercises on most commonly appearing words (e.g. Dolch List)
H. Do writing exercises that emphasize organization and sequence

VI. Teach Skimming and Scanning as Specific Skills

A. Reading for no comprehension as a precursor
B. Timing and charting
C. Variety of materials-plenty below grade level
D. Open book evaluation
E. Skimming~for main ideas. Use table of contents, introductions, summaries, chapter titles, topic sentences
F. Scanning-for a specific item. Use phone directories, dictionaries, tables of content (expect word/symbol to "stand out")

VII. Choose the Methodology Indicated by Child's Learning Style

A. Phonics (must have good auditory perception)
B. Sight word (good tactile memories)
C. Language experience (must have experiences to build on)
D. Basal Readers
E. APH Reading Series

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