PREFACE

The goal of this book is to provide a recipe for using the integration approach—that is, the integration of print and Braille into the student’s school and home life—to ensure full literacy for the partially sighted student. The success of the integration approach includes the thorough teaching of Braille so that it becomes a useful and efficient medium for the student, and also the development of the student’s ability to choose the appropriate media—Braille, print, or both—for a given task. The term integration, which means the blending or coordination into a functioning or unified whole, is a good description for the approach to literacy in this book. The integration approach moves away from the concept of primary and secondary reading media and emphasizes instead student skill in determining when to use print and when to use Braille. Teachers and parents who understand the integration of print and Braille approach will ensure that the student gains the skills necessary to use both media effectively and to make sound decisions regarding their use.

rec·i·pe/ˈresəˌpē/

Noun: 1. A set of instructions for preparing a particular dish, including a list of the ingredients required. 2. Something which is likely to lead to a particular outcome.

Although the term “recipe” is generally used in connection with cooking, this term can apply to many other subjects. The term “Recipe” is an appropriate part of the title for this book because the book concentrates on both ingredients and directions on how to ensure that students with limited vision can achieve full literacy. Chapter one focuses on the definition of literacy and on making the reading decision. Chapters two and three cover the basic ingredients of attitudes and tactile skills that are needed to implement the reading decision. Chapter four discusses directions on how to create the reading integration plan. The success of the integration approach will depend on whether the student gains enough speed and fluency to make Braille useful to him. Chapter five discusses strategies to improve speed and fluency. 

Recipes are useful tools, because they contain a list of ingredients and directions on how to combine those ingredients to produce the perfect result. But two people can use the same recipe, and come out with very different results. This happens in part because of the human factor. Perhaps one person is stronger and mixes the ingredients better. Perhaps one person’s tablespoon was fuller than the other’s. The success of the recipe depends a great deal on the human factor.  Each chapter in this book includes a discussion of the human factors that can influence the outcome of the recipe.

Vital input and advice from teachers of blind students (TBS) is included (for purposes of this book, a teacher of blind students is a teacher who provides specialized instruction in the skills of blindness to a student who is visually impaired, legally blind, or has limited or low vision). The Situation to Ponder sections contains case studies provided by members of the 2009 Consortium of Teachers of Blind Students to illustrate particular points. Because education is most effective when there is a strong partnership between parent and teacher, many chapters contain a parent perspective section. Adults with limited vision share their views in the sections called Observations Based on Life Experiences. Research studies provide the evidence-based underpinnings of the approach.

This book is intended to be a practical guide. Therefore each chapter contains sample goals for the individualized education program (IEP), along with tips and strategies on how to meet these goals. This book does not describe the mechanics of teaching Braille reading and writing or teaching print reading and writing. It focuses instead on how to integrate the teaching of both print and Braille so that the student develops full literacy and the skill and experience necessary to appropriately determine when to use print and when to use Braille. A teacher can be confident that a student who has achieved these goals has the literacy skills needed for all of life's tasks and challenges both in school and in the wider community.

[Foreword]  [Contents]  [Chapter One]