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Activity and strategy

Alpha Boxes

Fun hands-on activity for beginning braille readers to begin to pair initial letter sounds with the braille alphabet

This activity is designed to help students to pair initial sounds with letters of the alphabet. It is meant to provide exposure and exploration.  This can easily lend itself to expanded core curriculum activities, such as field trips in the community, family activities, orientation and mobility lessons, etc.


  • items beginning with a given letter of the alphabet.  Begin with objects that are as close as possible to the real thing, for example book, button, bell for the letter “b”.  Once the student recognizes those, then more abstract objects can be added.
  • box or container or Zip-Lock baggy to organize them by letter.  If the child has vision, the object should have good contrast with the container.
  • letter cards with object name
  • various ways to represent braille cell


  1. Think about various activities and items in the student’s life that start with a given letter.  For example with the letter “b”, take the student to a bakery, go for a bike ride, bring in a banana for snack, make banana bread, etc. (See attached list for more ideas)
  2. Give the student the card with braille and/or print and identify the letter together.
  3. Ask student to identify object and read the word card together.
  4. Once the student has begun to learn the letters, have them select the correct corresponding letter from a group of letter cards.
  • The list of items is endless!  This is a good way to expose students to new vocabulary, such as a magnet.
  • Put items in stacked plastic drawer system to organize the alphabet.  Allow them to explore.
  • Word cards can be stored in the boxes.
  • Other students enjoy this activity too, and can work together in small groups.
  • This can be expanded to include math concepts, such as 10 buttons, etc.
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