As a new preschool teacher with four students with visual impairments, one of my first questions to the teacher of students with visual impairments (TSVI) was, how can I help my students will to be braille learners develop pre-braille and tracking skills? I have found that in order to attract the attention of the students, tracking activities should be fun.
I found that my students enjoy creating books, so we created our first tracking book, and they loved it!
The goal of tracking activities is to develop the understanding that the texture of dots on the page are organized in lines. People start at the top left of the page and go horizontally to the right. Another goal of the tracking activity is to develop the hand movement students will need to read braille.
- Braille paper or cardboard
- Bump-dot stickers
- Pipe cleaners
- Lego bricks.
- Small wood squares
- Corrugated cardboard paper
On each page, we glued a bump-dot sticker to indicate where the first line starts; this will help my students remember that we start tracking on the top left side of each page.
On the first page, we glued a straw at the top of the page, leaving one-inch margins on the top, left, and right side of the paper.
On the second page, we put two lines of bump-dot stickers.
On the third page, we used pipe cleaners. The first pipe cleaner was glued at the top of the page; it was from the left side to the right side with one-inch margins on each side of the paper. The second pipe cleaner we glued it under the first, and it was shorter than the first one.
On the fourth page, we used three Lego bricks. We glued them in a straight line, the first on the top left corner of the page, the following in the middle, and the last at the end of the line. We left a one-inch margin on each side of the page.
On the fifth page, we glued small wood squares, the first line started on the top left side of the page, in the first line, we glued five pieces of wood with an inch of separation, the second line was just two square pieces of wood separated a little bit more of an inch. For the third line, we glued three pieces of wood separated by an inch between each wood square, and in the fourth line, we glued two pieces of wood.
On the sixth page, we glued strips of corrugated cardboard paper. We made four lines, the first is a long line, the second a short line, and the last two have two and three pieces of paper.
On the seventh page, we introduced braille. There are six lines with space between them.
On the eighth page, we also used braille. There are four lines, there is an inch of space between each line, and each line has space between characters.
- You can use any other materials that give tactual feedback to the students.
- Encourage the student’s left-to-right hand movement, the use of two hands and eight fingers.
- Make this activity FUN, create songs or stories together to describe who or what is traveling along the “road.”
- I recommend using this book for a short period to develop an understanding of tracking. This tracking technique will improve with daily opportunities to read actual braille text.
- Activity inspired by: Beginning with Braille Book, Firsthand Experiences with Balanced Approach To Literacy by Anna M. Swenson.