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Activity and strategy

Snow Much Fun Braille Lesson – Featuring the “ow” Contraction!

This series of lessons uses the theme of snow to work on the "ow" braille contraction, while developing fine motor skills and basic concepts.

Winter is “snow” much fun, and learning braille is too! Here is a braille lesson activity introducing the “ow” contraction to get you ready for winter braille fun!

Skills Addressed in This Lesson:

  • Hands skills and hand strengthening
  • Review of strong contractions
  • Contraction “ow” introduction
  • Tracking skills
  • Tactile graphic exploration
  • Hand skills/warm up toys: Bubble wrap, Snowman squeeze toy
  • Book: Andy and Sandy and the First Snow by Tomie dePaola
  • Story objects: three sizes of styrofoam balls, small cloth or a scarf, small hat (can be made from felt), mug, toy sled
  • Brailled vocabulary cards
  • Clipboard game
  • Perkins brailler
  • Book-making materials


This warm-up activity is designed to improve hand strength and dexterity using small toys. It will allow the student time to warm up and transition to the lesson activity. The “ice cracking” (bubble wrap) activity helps to build fine motor and finger strength, and the snowman squeeze toy will help the student to improve hand strength, while building the concept of the shape of a snowman.

bubble wrap   Snowman squeeze toy


Snowman Tactile Graphic (Braille Drawing)

The Snowman tactile graphic can be used to motivate students to explore and use tactile skills to determine what the graphic represents. 

Clues can be given such as: It is what today’s story will be about. Can you feel the eyes, nose and mouth? Tell me about how the body is shaped. What is on the head? What could it be?

Braille drawing of snowman

View the step-by-step directions or download the .brf file to emboss.

Working with Words


  1. Single letter contractions in the story: but, can, like, very, you
  2. Strong contractions in the story: and, of, the

Contractions: but, can, like, very, you  Contractions: and, of, the


Introduce the “ow” contraction word card. The two different sounds the letter combination /ow/ can make include:

  • long /o/ sound as heard in the word snow
  • the /ow/ sound as heard in the word now
  • sn(ow)
  • foll(ow)
  • sn(ow)man
  • n(ow)
  • d(ow)n

Invite the student to practice with premade word cards, and look for these words while reading the story.

          “ow” contraction cards


Card sorting:

Ask the student to sort words into the two sounds hear /o/ and /ow/:

  • /o/: snow, snowman
  • /ow/: follow, now, down


Clipboard Game:

Braille a page of “ow” words on braille paper and place the page on a clipboard. Add matching braille words to the clips. Ask the student to mark the words on the paper using the clips to match the words. 

Clipboard Game  



Read the book: Andy and Sandy and the First Snow by Tomie dePaola

Cover of


Styrofoam balls of

Discuss the concepts of small, medium and large. Ask the student which ball is small, medium and large, and invite them to place the balls in order from smallest to largest, and then from largest to smallest.

For students who have not experienced real snow, discussthe concepts of “cold” and “freezing”.

Ask the student, “Do you like to play in the snow?” A discussion of snow experiences in snow (and ice) can be guided. Ask the student to look for the activities the children in the book do in the snow as the book is read. Also, ask the student to look for the new “ow” words in the story.

Story Objects: book, three sizes of Styrofoam balls, small cloth or a scarf, small hat (can be made from felt), mug, toy sled

Gather objects for the story to create a story box or to supplement the experience. 

Read the story Andy and Sandy and the first Snow by Tomie dePaola together. As the book is read, present objects from the story and encourage the student to explore them: large, medium, and small balls of “snow”, a top hat, scarf, sled, and mug. The student can “roll” the balls of snow, assemble the snowman from the parts, slide the sled across the floor, and “warm up” with a mug of cocoa. 

Snowman Building:

The student will use the objects from the story kit to build a snowman. Velcro can be added to the Styrofoam balls easily, and the carrot can be pushed into the Styrofoam. Even better, if you have snow go outside and build a snowman or bring in a container of snow and make snowballs!

3-D snowman parts from the story kit  Assembled snowman                 

After the student has had success with the 3-D snowman, try using 2-D shapes to build a snowman. This can be later added to a tactile book. 

2-D snowman pieces


Book making:

The student can make a tactile book, building on experiences and using vocabulary meaningful to the student. 

Ideas include: 

  • Snow fun,_______ in the Snow, My Snow Words, In the snow…
  • Build on the “ow” words and contractions learned. 
  • The student can use the brailler to write simple sentences on each page and refer to the word cards or spelling help as needed.
  • Tactile pieces can be used to illustrate the story (such as the 2-D snowman pieces pictured above).
  • Print can also be added so that the student can share the story with peers and family members.


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