My son Liam is 7 years old and he is deafblind. Liam loves reading and writing braille. I thought a great activity for summer break would be to learn about writing letters to our friends and family. It was my hope that it would be fun and motivating way to practice his writing over the summer.
I created a personalized book about “mail”. My objective for the book is for Liam to learn that houses have numbers, streets have names, as well as the format of an envelope, etc.
The book included:
- Title: Mail Box (in braille and print both throughout the book)
- Tactile Graphic- envelope glued to the cover
Page One: House
- Words: Your house number is #####.
- Tactile Graphic: Cut out of a house labeled “Liam’s house”
Page Two: Street
- Words: Your street name is __________.
- Tactile Graphics: a piece of hard material that feels like cement with grass on either side of it (just like our street at home).
Page Three: City
- Words: You live in the city of _____________.
- Tactile Graphics: Cut out chipboard pieces in the shape of buildings labeled: church, house, school and store.
Page Four: State
- Words: You live in the state of South Dakota.
- Tactile Graphic: Outline of the state of South Dakota using Wikki Stix
Page Five: Parts of Envelope
An envelope glued to the page that includes labels of the parts of an envelope.
- Your name and address
- Friend’s name and address
Additional ideas to include in a Mail Book:
- Parts of a letter
- Post office vocabulary and/or experience
Ahead of time I labeled all of the addresses in braille and also in print of friends and family we could write to. Liam gets to read the labels and pick one person a day that he wants to write to. I also made return address labels in braille with Liam’s name and address on them so that Liam can place on the envelopes himself.
We will discuss the three lines of the address:
- city, state and zip code
We will also discuss where the stamp goes on the envelope and also why you need a stamp.
Liam will get to write the name of the friend or family member that we are writing by himself on the top of the page using his braille writer. I then will ask him what he wants to write on his letter and I will use a braille writer to record what he tells me. I will encourage him to feel my hands as I type for the first couple of letters. He then will get to type his own name at the end of the letter independently. Eventually as we get more practiced (and he gets the idea) he will get to write more and more by himself.
Accessible for all:
- I will also include print with all of the letters of his recipients that don’t know how to read braille.
- I will also include premade braille labels so that when his friends/families want to respond to Liam they can add braille to their envelopes and also their letters.
- If your student/child is ready, they can address the envelopes themselves and write the letters independently as well.
- If your student/child is not reading or writing braille yet, they can add tactile stickers, pre-made braille labels, etc.
Accessible Mail Box:
Liam’s favorite part: His last name in braille on the mailbox. Every time we go for a walk around the neighborhood he loves to find “his” mailbox.