Thursday, April 22, 2010

Reading breakthrough for the Little Man

Acer, just because it's a cute picture.

When a sighted child learns to read, they are constantly surrounded by letters, words and numbers. They are everywhere on signs, mail, cereal boxes, all over, you can look and see letters. For a blind child, it's the result of hours and hours and days and days of hard work and physical practice, they have to learn how to follow lines of dots across the page (not as easy as it sounds) , they have to learn how to differentiate between the six different dots of a Braille cell, they then have to learn the combinations of dots and how they translate into letters. Braille is only available in Braille books, homework sheets, and the occasional elevator. You can't just go to the cereal box and start reading the ingredients, you can't go to a Hallmark store and read the cards there, you can't even read what's on the shelves in grocery stores. You just have to practice, practice, practice.

Furthermore, as you get more advanced, you start to learn contracted Braille. Yup, Braille takes up a lot of space so they use as many shortcuts as possible. For example, td=today, tm=tomorrow, tn=tonight, so there are 189 Braille contractions that are use commonly. That's where Calli is, almost all the way through learning those. She learns those as she learns to spell the words, and then spells them both ways during practice for her spelling tests. I'm learning them too, as I translate her spelling words into print, but it's not an easy thing, it's just something I need to do to help her with her homework. BTW she generally gets 100% on her spelling tests, 2 wrong is about the most she's gotten wrong on a test.

The other end of the spectrum, learning wise not smarts wise, is Acer. He has been in the VI classroom for two years now, and I am happy to say that he now knows how to read all his letters! PLUS, he is now understanding that letters are put together into WORDS, yes, Acer has now read words to me. Granted, they were all the same word, and those words were one of two or three words on a page, but he found them and read them! He could also read all the letters on the pages, one letter at a time, but the word he could read, thanks to author David Carter - BUGS! yes, 'Feely Bugs' is our new favorite book for Acer to read to us. and, what is more appropriate for a child of mine, than that the first word he reads is Bugs?


Catching Butterflies 3 said...

I'm amazed and impressed!

Jodi said...

Incredible!!! What incredible kids you have!!! And what a great mommy you are - I'm sure the practice time is not always done with cheerful hearts! :) (I know that is how homework is done around here. ) What smarties you have! :)

Heather said...

congratulations Acer! Learning letters and words!