Literacy and Braille Resources

Literacy at its simplest means the ability to read and write. However, it starts with comprehension and encompasses many media and formats, including listening, speaking, and object communication. Most children aim for basic or academic literacy, which is the ability to use reading as a tool to gain more knowledge. Others will strive to attain functional literacy, which supports the activities of daily life. This section offers an introduction to the forms of literacy for children who are blind and visually impaired, ranging from tactile symbols and calendar boxes to print and braille.

This web site, which is now a part of Paths to Literacy, is for family members, teachers, and "others interested in promoting literacy opportunities for young children with visual impairments."  It includes a who's who and sections on braille writing, lessons, technology, fun and games, and stories.

Source: Paths to Literacy

Deirdre Leech’s webcast explores the meaning of literacy for students with multiple disabilities or deafblindness, and discusses specialized formats that maximize access.

Source: Perkins School for the Blind

Explanation of accommodations to ensure that students with low vision have access to the visual environment, information, and the curriculum.

Source: American Foundation for the Blind (AFB)

Parent Dinell Stuckey compiled this resource list of e-books with a short description of what is available on each site.

Source: Perkins School for the Blind

This section of the Paths to Literacy website offers an introduction to emergent literacy. You'll find tips for helping young children developing literacy skills and supportive routines, story box ideas from Norma Drissel, tactile experience books, pre-braille, emergent writing, and technology. There is also information about early literacy for students with multiple disabilities. Users may post content, including strategies, technology, resources, and research, and there is also a Q&A forum.

Source: Paths to Literacy

This information sheet offers advice for creating tactile representations of real life experiences.

Source: Project SALUTE

Motor and cognitive skills essential to literacy are presented in a grid that shows how they interrelate and support a child's development (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader).

Source: Paths to Literacy

J.M. Stratton "explores the fit between emergent literacy and the learning needs of children who are blind or visually impaired"; includes literature overview.

Paths to Literacy collects papers and presentations on the topic of technology and emerging literacy.  You will also find here information on the latest applications for iPad and other iOS devices that engage students who are visually impaired in the learning process.  For more topics on technology for literacy, visit the Paths to Literacy technology section.

Source: Paths to Literacy

You will find these Braille Embosser Product Manuals very useful for troubleshooting set-up and use of 15 Enabling Technology products

Source: Enabling Technology

Janice Day, Andrea McDonnell, and Lora Heathfield discuss ways to enhance literacy skills in inclusive preschool settings by incorporating braille and large print into the classroom; media, materials, and equipment; curriculum modifications, and more.

Source: Exceptional Children

Patricia Weismer and Deirdre Leech share specific strategies (pp. 6-13) for teaching reading to children with deafblindness or multiple disabilities, including suggestions for adaptations, modifications of materials. Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Source: In Touch, 2008, New England Consortium of Deafblind Projects

This selection of online resources includes information on all aspects of braille, from the alphabet and history to commercial sites with chocolate bars and jewelry.

Source: Enabling Technologies

National Braille Press maintains this directory of resources for braille publications.

Source: National Braille Press (NBP)

DVI's position paper asserts the need for "appropriate assessment, instruction, and adaptations" and sets guidelines for providing an appropriate education program for students with low vision.

Source: Council for Exceptional Children-Division on Visual Impairments (CECDVI)

This PDF brochure highlights five literacy practices for children with visual impairments. It includes a list of useful organizations, and then covers ideas for reading, talking, playing, writing, and singing with children. 

Source: New York Public Library

This entire newsletter issue is devoted to development of literacy skills for students who are deafblind; including extensive information on assistive technology and on the role of speech language pathologists in facilitating literacy development. Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Source: Colorado Services for Children who are Deafblind

This “better living blog” has tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people.

Source: American Printing House for the Blind (APH)

Future Reflections, 2013.

Teacher and consumer Heather Field explains her Hands Only approach for teaching braille to children with low vision.

Source: National Federation of the Blind (NFB)

This 42-page PDF manual is excellent for families, administrators, and general education teachers who need to understand how educational services are delivered to students with visual impairments 

Source: Virginia Department of Education

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