Anna Swenson stated that “as teachers of visually impaired students, we have the responsibility to advocate for our students with reading problems. This advocacy may involve consulting with specialists (could it be a learning disability?), locating resources (would a fluency program help?), and providing targeted supplemental instruction, if necessary.”
But when do we find the time?
Finding leveled reading material to supplement a teacher’s toolbox can be difficult for teachers who work with student who are print readers. But finding ready-made material to use with a student who read braille can even be more of a challenge.
Research has shown that reading fluency will increase with repeated reading of material. However, finding the time to create such materials in braille can also be difficult. That’s why I am so glad that www.k5learning (a website that has generated free and paid lessons and worksheets to help build reading skills for students) has agreed to allow me to translate a few of their stories on different reading levels into braille. Over the next few weeks I will be posting these stories in a downloaded files (both in .brf and .lbf formats.) They will also be posted on the www.k5learning website.
These stories can be used for not only repeating readings but to introducing new contractions, reviewing contractions and as assessments! I will be posting how-to’s here on my blog as well as on my YouTube channel to help show how this can be done.
Swenson, A. April 08, vol. 102 number 4 Reflections on Teaching Reading in Braille. https://www.afb.org/afbpress/newpubjvib.asp?DocID=jvib020405)
If you watched the first lesson (and I hope you did) I made a comment about why I don't like to directly type into the Duxbury program. Once the program has translated my document, I find that I have to do a lot of direct input especially when I am working with math. But to type in words, I rather just use MSWord.
I wanted to show you however how to use the spell check feature in Duxbury. There is an accompanying video showing this as well.
Step 1: When you finished typing, you will make sure to check spelling. It's important because you can't spell check once the document has been translated.
Step 2: Click on the Edit menu and select Spell check. Or you can use the shortcut key SHIFT+F11.
Step 3: When a mistake is found, a screen will pop to tell you that there is a mistake and will ask you to make a choice.
Step 4: Click on Replace then select the correct spelling/word.
You will continue to do that for the entire document. Please remember to complete this step prior to translating the document into braille because once you translate the program will not allow you to spell check. It is grayed out.
Well, I hope this was helpful. If you want to watch this tutorial click here. If you have any questions, please post a comment and I will get back to you!
I love braille.
I mean I love braille. And even before I knew what braille was, it was in my life. When my grandfather was in the military during WW2, the doctors told him, to make sure he read as much as possible then because he was going to eventually lose his eyesight and become blind. Still he went on to be a math teacher, Baltimore city school principal, marry the love of his life, get his masters from Columbia (in a time when Maryland wouldn’t integrate its colleges and universities,) have one daughter and two granddaughters. Yes, he eventually lost his vision, but he still read. He learned braille.
Growing up, I had no idea why the books in the den had no pictures in them, I just used to love to run my hands over the pages and feel the bumps. I don’t think it was until much later I learned that all of my Ga-Ga’s books were in braille. My connection to braille had been formed in those early years, just as a child with sight explores the pictures and words in books without any real concepts of the written word, I explored braille books without any concept of braille. That was to come years later.
Fast forward to my first formal introduction to learning the braille code during preparation to become a teacher of the visually impaired, I grew to not only develop a concept of braille but a deep respect for a code that was devised to allow all people access to the skill of reading.
I think the struggle for equality that my grandfather went through in this country as a person of color with a disability, helped shape his belief that education is the one thing that cannot be taken away. Knowledge is power. That is why I started this website and channel, like Louis, I feel that access should be for everyone. I think knowledge is something that should be available to all. As teachers, transcriptionist we have little time and money to spend learning a new program or all the features of an exciting program. I want to provide high quality short focused videos and post that will help us in our busy work lives that will better help serve our babies, students, clients and people.