10 Oct Braille–Get them Hooked
I had 2 students who were sisters. They both were losing their sight. It was a gradual loss, so they went from large print most of the time and gaining on braille to mostly braille. One child just switched completely to braille because she just did not like the eye strain, but the other kept with the large print as long as possible, despite her nose was sitting on the page to read it. She just did not want to be different. Interestingly, a child does not think it is different to be hunched over a large piece of paper with large print on it but yet it is different to sit up straight and read Braille as fast as their peers. However, you cannot fight with a child's logic, just find other ways to steer them the direction that would help the most. With good steering, I know they will make the leap into Braille when they are ready.
When children do their lessons with me, it is to read Braille: Their favorite stories of course. I always start out reading the first few chapters to really get them hooked. Then they really want to finish. This method has always worked. The one child above who resisted reading Braille at school in front of her peers, did not resist at home. In fact, her mother would tell me that after lights out, she would periodically check on the girls and there they would be reading their braille books in the dark: Sometimes until the wee hours of the morning. When mom would wake them the next morning, there the braille books would be laying on top of them. They would wake and fess up they read until very late, or early (in the morning as the case may be).
They would come to school and tell me about the story. Harry Potter always seemed to be the mainstay of books to get kids hooked. Even in the middle of the book, they would ask for me to read a chapter at the start of our lesson. Of course, I would. To increase their speed, I would do what I called paragraph jumping. I would read a paragraph and they would follow along, then they would read. If they got lost because I read so fast, they would jump down to the next paragraph and wait. They had their right finger on the last 2 words of my paragraph, and their left fingers on the start of their paragraph, so they would know when to begin reading without a stop in the flow. This method increased their speed significantly, especially with all the reading at home too.
The biggest key is "Get them Hooked on the Story", Then they learn the secret of reading in the dark, Then they don't want to put the book down, Then they get hooked on Braille.
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