By: Carmen Willings
Updated October 28, 2017
Some people with limited knowledge of braille often feel intimidated by it because reading braille appears difficult. Some even unwittingly pass those fears and intimidation of braille on to the student by commenting on how challenging it appears. It is very important to not plant negative feelings toward braille in the student's mind. Instead, help foster interest in braille in the braille learner as well as with peers. In addition to intimidation, many people have the misconception that braille is a language and can be offered as a foreign language in school. In fact, braille is NOT a foreign language, but is a code in which to read and write language (There is also a braille code for mathematics, computers, and music.). For this reason, it would not be appropriate to give a student foreign language credit in school for learning the braille code.
What is braille?
Braille is a system of raised dots arranged in cells. The number and position of the raised dots represents a letter, word, number, or symbol. Braille for reading and writing for Language Arts is referred to as literary braille. In literary braille, there are two grades used in school, Grade 1 and Grade 2 (there is also a Grade 3 that is comparable to shorthand but it is not used in publications as it has not been standardized). These grades do not correspond to school grades but instead refer to uncontracted and contracted braille. In grade 1 braille, each cell represents one letter, number, punctuation sign, or special braille composition sign. Books produced in grade 1 braille are very bulky as it takes a large space to produce each braille letter. Grade 2 braille was introduced as a space-saving alternative to grade 1 braille. In grade 2 braille, there are short form words and part and whole word contractions that save space.
Obtaining Braille Materials
Braille can either be produced using a standard manual braillewriter such as the Perkins braillewriter or it can be produced using print-to-braille translation software. In this method, information is typed into the software and it is formatted into braille. Examples include MegaDots and Duxbury. The braille can then be output onto a braille printer. In order to use the standard braillewriter, it is important to be proficient in both reading and writing the braille code and knowing the formatting rules.
Remember to store braille books in bookshelves sitting on their end. Do not stack them on top of each other or it will flatten the braille!
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TVI's Guide to Teaching the ECC: An Activities Based Curriculum for Teaching Students who are Blind or Visually Impaired
Written specifically for fellow itinerant Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments (TVI’s), this book consists of over 400 activities and topic areas of discussion for instructing students in the Expanded Core Curriculum. The activities are age-neutral and multi-sensory and therefore can meet the needs of the broad range of students served on an itinerant caseload serving. The activities can be individualized to the students various learning modalities and scaffold in order to challenge students but ensure success. Select those activities that align with the student’s learning objects based on the student’s unique visual needs and academic and developmental level.
The core activities listed in the Activity section can be adapted to each thematic unit. These include:
In addition to the core activity areas, each of the 32 Thematic Units incorporates additional unique ECC concepts and skills providing you with a years’ worth of activities. These units are cyclical and can be used repeatedly to help students build on prior knowledge and develop a deeper understanding of concepts. Each unit includes suggestions for activity adaptation associated with the unit. These include lists of objects, possible community based experiences, environmental print, poems, children & young reader books, children's songs, pop culture songs, movies, and websites.
Unique Concepts within the Units include:
Although the intended audience of this resource is fellow Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments, special education teachers may find these activities beneficial to the students in their classrooms as the activities are multisensory and include life skills and concepts needed by all students. This resource, however, is not intended to take the place of a Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments (TVI). Readers are advised to consult their own TVI’s regarding instruction in the ECC and the unique visual needs of the student’s served in their programs.
Note: This curriculum is a digital pdf download. Once you make your purchase you will be directed to an order confirmation page where you will find the download link. This download will also be included on the receipt sent to the email address you provide. The pdf download can be found directly under the order number.
Each download is intended for single instructor use per copyright. Thank you for helping me preserve the content and not distributing copies to third parties.
Digital pdf download: 364 pages (11 pt font)
Publisher: Teaching Students with Visual Impairments
Author: Carmen Willings