LITERACY FOR CHILDREN
WHO ARE DEAF-BLIND
"Reading" and "creating"
tactile representations of real life experiences that are permanent
for the child to access
provide literacy experiences for children who are deaf-blind
and do not have symbolic language skills to participate in literacy
childs trip to an amusement park is recreated tactilely
using items from the trip (e.g., part of the popcorn box,
the wristband to get him on rides, a straw for the drink that
was purchased, a small souvenir). The childs grandparent
discusses the event while encouraging the child to manipulate
each object in the "story or memory" box. Each item
is labeled in braille and print.
students day is created tactilely in a book format.
An item or part of an item is attached to each page of the
book with a phrase or sentence written beneath the item (in
both braille and print). With his mother and sister, the child
reads about his day by touching each item and turning the
page. His mother or sister read the phrase as he touches the
child reads an APH book about pockets and what are in them
by turning each page of the book to feel the pocket and look
inside each one. The child also feels the braille words while
a peer reads the print.
Provide language-rich activities, materials, and environments
to support a childs experiences with literacy. These include
playing together, describing objects, discussing events, supporting
the childs access to language, conversations, stories,
2. As appropriate, use varied intonation, gestures, signs, objects
and tactile items to engage the child in a conversation or story.
3. Build on real experiences that children enjoy as a beginning
point for literacy experiences by referring to tactile items
associated with these experiences. These tactile items should
be organized in a "story or memory" box or book so
that the child can refer to events and "reread" these
4. Expose the child to braille in a similar manner that young
sighted children are exposed to print, e.g., on labels. The
child should feel the braille even though the child may not
be able to read this abstract symbol system. Through repeated
and consistent exposures, the child will assign meaning to the
5. Read familiar, interesting, and relevant books repeatedly
with the child.
6. Ask the child to "read" a favorite book to you
by touching tactile items in sequence and using gestures or
other means of communication.
7. Provide opportunities for interaction. Pause during the story
and wait for the child to feel tactile items, the braille, and
to comment or anticipate what happens next. Allow the child
to hold the book, turn the pages, and manipulate tactile features.
If needed, add tabs to the pages to make them easier for the
child to turn.
8. Have the child participate in the development of tactile
books and displays using items that represent favorite activities
9. Whenever possible, help the child make connections between
these experience stories and current or upcoming events.
10. Include individualized tactile books in a childs portfolio
that will follow the child from grade to grade.
11. As the child gains greater understanding of different literacy
experiences, more and more abstract methods of representation
can be used.
12. The use of jumbo braille cells for reading may be helpful
for some children.
13. Let children experiment and play with braillers as a form
of written self-expression.
literacy materials allow the child access to specific literacy
literacy experiences contribute to effective communication and
support the childs language development and social interaction.
can participate with sighted children during literacy activities.
materials have to be adapted and individualized. This can be
time consuming and difficult.
appropriate materials to develop tactile (non-braille) materials
for literacy may be challenging.
Literacy Skills represents a synthesis of information from
Project SALUTEs National Advisory Committee, staff activities,
and a review of relevant literature such as the following bibliography.
with Books Center for Early Literacy
Read to me
Reach out and read