TVI Ann Edie shares ideas for how to help students to maintain braille skills during summer break.
1. Go to students’ homes or whatever summer school or day camp programs they are involved in to deliver TVI services over the summer.
2. Match the student with one or more students who will be at the state day camp program and have them write braille letters to the one who is not there and have the home student write back.
3. Set the child up with stories using whatever part of the braille code she has learned to this point so that she can keep reading over the summer.
4. Arrange to borrow print/braille books from the regional NLS library so that an adult can take turns reading with her or help her with the words that she doesn’t know, if she is reading enough to read standard literary braille at her grade level.
5. Write little notes to the child in braille, with print interlining if necessary for the parent to help read. Most kids love getting real mail, and they are usually motivated enough to write a reply so that they can get another letter.
6. Provide transportation to programs whenever possible, so that the parents aren’t inconvenienced and so that those who can’t provide transportation for their kids are not excluded.
7. If you have been using a level of the Building on Patterns Series, then you can send the child home with some of the library series books that accompany the level which she has completed to read over the summer. Depending on how independent and motivated the student is, she might be able to read these with a little support.
8. Match the student up with another braille-using peer or adult who lives close enough to be a braille buddy, someone to read with and exchange notes, etc. When I was a kid, I learned to read and write the braille alphabet and the alphabet words and a few basic contractions from my 10-year-old camp mates over the two weeks of summer camp when I attended for my first camp experience. (And we wrote braille using the slate and stylus, by the way.) We continued to communicate using braille over the winters. I was not taught braille in school.