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Due to the nationwide shortage of vision professionals, it can be challenging to locate personnel. Announce a job vacancy on the Job Exchange of Teaching Students with Visual Impairments, an online listing of jobs specific to the visual impairment field.
Rogow, Sally. Language, Literacy and Children with Special Needs. Pippin Publishing, 1997. This book focuses on the importance of supporting students with special needs so they can participate and be integrated into the educational mainstream. Rogow outlines a variety of approaches that will help teachers ensure that learning happens for everyone.
Students with low vision will typically use printed materials. Some students may be able to read print without any adaptations but the majority of students with low vision will require large print or magnification devices in order to comfortably read print for short and sustained reading activities. For students who need large print, magnification devices should be considered as they allow a student to access all printed information so they are not dependent on what has been enlarged for them.
Speed and Stamina
Many students with low vision will read at a slower speed than their sighted peers and have less stamina for reading longer passages. Although teachers may be inclined to reduce the amount of reading and have the student read for shorter periods, this strategy does not help develop greater speed and stamina. Alan J. Koenig and Evelyn J. Rex discuss this very issue in the Foundations of Low Vision chapter on Instruction of Literacy Skills to Children and Youths with Low Vision. They recommend encouraging the student to read extensively to increase speed and stamina. Recommendations are similar to those with students who are sighted. They include repeated readings, paired reading, choral reading and echo reading. With that being said, it continues to be important to teach the student to recognize signs of visual fatigue and learn strategies for dealing with it (ex. take short breaks, change from reading a text to listening to a recording of the text, or changing position)
Conducting a reading inventory as part of the student's Reading Media Assessment, such as the Jerry John's, will help to identify the students reading rate and the student's level of independent reading, instructional reading level and the student's frustration level.
Selection of Books
When selecting books, select those with clear pictures and good visual contrast. Books should be colorful with simple pictures rather than pictures that are visually cluttered. If the book uses photographs, try to select books with a matted finish instead of glossy to reduce glare. Also look for books where the print is not written across the pictures, but instead, is placed on a solid background.
If a student is a braille reader, they will need significant support in the production of materials in braille. The TVI or braillist will need plenty of advance notice on worksheets and other activities and information that needs to be produced in braille. Braille books should be available for the student at home as frequent reading experience is critical for success and good braille reading skills. The TVI will collaborate with the classroom teacher, the student and the parents to ensure the student has braille materials available at home. Parents should be encouraged to be involved in fostering children's interest and love of literacy and books. Parents with students who are future or current braille readers will typically need assistance in locating books and materials in braille.
Emergent Reader Braille Books
This read-aloud storybook, available from APH, promotes emergent and early literacy skills. The rhyming story tells of a family of alphabet letters as each sets out to explore the page. As each letter takes a turn crossing the page - shown as a line of repeating letters - the child has the motivation to track along the line of braille, gaining skill in the hand movements used for braille reading. Reading Alphabet Scramble provides exposure to upper and lower case braille and large print letters, letter names, the sequence of the alphabet, and includes the letter word contraction associated with each braille letter.
Early Braille Trade Books: Rigby PM Platinum Edition Kits These kits, available from APH, are known for their meaningful stories with books that present a clear climax and resolution. Titles hook children with real story lines, and the steady growth of sentence structure scaffolds text complexity for incremental reading success. APH's Early Braille Trade Books Project provides commercially available books with braille labels, and access to an interactive website
Early Braille Trade Books: Sunshine Kit 1 & 2
These Upper Emergent kits, available from APH, combines commercially available books with braille labels for beginning readers. This kit includes books, braille labels, and access to an interactive website.
Early Braille Trade Books: TWiG Books Kit 1 & 2 These Upper Emergent kits, available from APH, combines commercially available books with braille labels for beginning readers. This kit includes books, braille labels, and access to an interactive website.
Best for a Nest
This large print/braille book, available from APH, provides an opportunity for the learner to focus on many concepts: position of objects, prepositional phrases, and use of tactile symbols. Includes a storyboard with manipulatives to allow the student to participate in the storytelling.
Braille Reading Programs...
Building on Patterns: Primary Braille Literacy Program: Kindergarten This kindergarten level braille literacy program, available from APH, is a complete primary literacy braille reading program designed to teach beginning braille users to read, write, and spell in braille.
Building on Patterns: Primary Braille Literacy Program: Second Grade This second grade braille literacy program is a complete primary literacy program, available from APH, is a complete primary literacy braille reading program designed to teach beginning braille users to read, write, and spell in braille.
Building on Patterns: Primary Braille Literacy Program: First Grade This first grade braille literacy program is a complete primary literacy program, available from APH, designed to teach beginning braille users language arts: reading, writing, and spelling.
On the Way to Literacy: Book Sets 1-3: Early Experiences for Visually Impaired Children These sets of storybooks, available from APH, introduces large print, tactile illustrations, and braille. Illustrations provide opportunities to use finger and hand skills. Recommended for students 2 1/2 to 5 years old.
APH and Dolly Parton's Dollywood Foundation have developed a partnership to expand the Imagination Library program to children who are blind and visually impaired by providing print/braille and audio books to children! Visit the APH site to sign children up.
In 1997 the American Action Fund started a program to provide children who are blind with a free Braille book every month from a popular children's reading series. The books are for the children to keep and collect for as long as they want them.
Bookshare provides access to books that are legally scanned for people who are visually impaired or print disabled. The books can be read with adaptive technology or in embossed braille.
The Braille Bookstore sells thousands of Braille books available for all ages and interests. They offer Read-Aloud books, books for elementary students, books for middle-schoolers, books for high-schoolers, and books for adults.
National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped Library of Congress provides a free correspondence course to certify Braille transcribers. They offer a wide variety of braille books on loan. NLS has also compiled a directory in large print and braille formats which provides names of volunteer groups and individuals who transcribe and record books and other reading materials for people who are blind. They provide an alphabetical listing by state.
Seedlings is a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing the opportunity for literacy by providing high quality, low cost braille books for children. There are over 1200 books available. In addition to books, they also sell gifts including charms, pins, keychain, playing cards, clothing, and canvas book bags.
Great Expectations brings popular picture books to life using a multi-sensory approach — songs, tactile play, picture descriptions, body movement, engaged listening — all designed to promote active reading experiences for children with visual impairments. Often, information critical to the story is conveyed through pictures in books for young children. Parents and teachers will learn how to describe a picture in a book, how to explore a book’s visual concepts, how to play and have fun telling “the whole story.” Children will learn to listen carefully to words, feelings (voice), actions, scene, plots, and character development—elements that they would otherwise miss by not seeing the pictures. Great Expectations makes reading fun!
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