Place all 8 fingers at the start of the top of the braille line, light touch, slightly spaced, slightly arched hands as if you could put a small ball in the palm –Watch video at: Dr. Robinson teaches How to Learn to Read Braille fast and easily
. The focus will be on the pointer fingers to read, but all fingers will do something…those other fingers will be giving information back about the braille coming up, lines ending, holding the page in place and so on.. Correct fingering will enable a faster reader.
To start with young children, I straddle their chair (they sitting in a small chair, mine larger so I can sit behind them and reach around them more easily) I hold their hands in the correct position, placing my middle finger in their palm and lightly touching their hands to help them move it across the page and split when they need. This helps them understand the movement and positioning of their hands.
Using 11 x11 paper, as you want them to create flow, both hands start out the line and about 2-4 words in, the hands split and the right hand finishes the line as the left hand goes down to begin reading the next line. I anchor my left finger on the beginning of the line, so it is easy to go back and down to find the next line. Smaller fingers may anchor with their pinky finger, longer fingers anchor with their ring or middle finger, it is up to the child. The right hand joins the left about 2-4 words in (at first this will be VERY slow, that is ok, just keep practicing). When I am guiding their hands, I will actually hold the right hand to stay while the left gets going so the child sees how to finish reading with the right, begin reading with the left, THEN they join and the right hand finishes the line again.
The reason I say read 2-4 words is you will have left dominate hand readers, I allow them to read in further, maybe even half way across the page or more. The left hand will move across faster and get down to the next line more quickly than if you made the less dominate right hand do most of the reading. Be flexible, go with the child's strength so find out which hand is the dominate hand.
To get good reading speed, have them type 3-4 words about themselves over and over.(I like cats.) Half way down the page, have them type another simple sentence (I like dogs.) …using contractions and similar words. Then have them practice reading it using the above method. You will not have to hold their hands long as they will learn the words quickly and be able to read on their own, practicing the flow of words and movement of their hands.
The repetition of reading the same words over and over at first is needed. You can create different sentences and homework every day and they learn fast. Make it about them and it will keep their interest. Then send it home for homework. They will not do what they cannot read easily, so do not send something they cannot read well yet. This method takes care of that issue for beginners. Back this up with a computer lesson and braille display and you will have an awesome mixture of instruction that will move this child along fast.
Lessons and articles to help you:
Beginner Braille Reading sheet