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Creative Writing: Letters from the Bark Side

Creative writing through letters between a student and a dog can promote braille literacy and tactile skills through increased motivation and practice.

Letter writing can be a way for students to feel safe asking questions, while working on braille skills in a real world activity.  One of my students started corresponding with the speech therapist’s dog, which gave him a chance to practice communication and connection.  As his TVI, I worked with him on editing skills, using correct formatting, and punctuation. He also read responses from the dog Coby and edited those letters. He was asked to solicit assistance when there was something in one of the letters that he didn’t understand. For example, when he received a letter from the dog that said ,”I am so so so excited that you wrote me a letter WOOF!”, he asked why the dog had the word “WOOF” in his letter. 

We created a “book” with these letters, which I wanted to share with other students as well to provide an opportunity to practice using their low vision tools to read and edit the letters. I wanted to expand on this and see what they might add to the letters, either from my student or from Coby the dog. The students could write their own letters using the computer or whatever devices they were using. The possibilities were endless. 

Text: Letters from the Bark Side with sketch of dog's head
Click on image above to download “Letters from the Bark Side”

The speech therapist sent me a picture of her dog, which I turned into a sketch image using photo software. This image could then be sent through the PIAF (Picture in a Flash) so my student could see what Coby the dog looked like. I chose to do paw prints between the letters to provide a clear division between the letters in the book. Again, the images could be run through the PIAF and inserted in the pages. 

Collage of Bark Skide

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