Motivated by Tech: Activities for Teaching Braille with a Technology Incentive

girl using braille notetaker

A girl using a braille note-taking device

An excerpt from the AFB Press book, Beginning with Braille: Firsthand Experiences with a Balanced Approach to Literacy, Second Edition, by Anna M. Swenson.

Integrating technology with literacy instruction is highly motivating for young braille readers. Use a computer with a screen reader or an electronic device with a refreshable braille device for the following suggested activities.

Scroll and Search: Assemble a collection of common objects that start with different consonant sounds, such as "pan," "key," "book," "fan," "spoon," and "ribbon." Type a list of the objects in a file, one per line. Ask the child to pick an item and scroll through the list, listening carefully to find its name. Talk about the characteristics or purpose of each object and/or its beginning sound.

Animal Sounds: Locate a website with animal sounds. Ask the child to write the name of the animal in invented spelling after hearing each sound.

Musical Sounds and Letters: Using an early reading website or an interactive alphabet app on a tablet, play the sound or song associated with each new letter the child is learning.

Riddles: Write a multi-line riddle in a file. Have the child listen to the riddle by scrolling line by line and then write the answer on the device or brailler. Challenge the child to compose another riddle and have you guess the answer. Emboss a collection of riddles and bind them into a book for reading practice. For example:

I am usually round.
I have cheese and tomato sauce on me.
Sometimes I also have pepperoni, mushroom, or green pepper.
I taste delicious.
What am I?

For more classroom activities for teaching beginning braille, order Beginning with Braille, Second Edition from the AFB Press Store at www.afb.org/store.

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