One of my emergent braille readers needs to improve her hand positions and movement in tracking, so I’ve started using the Mangold Developmental Program of Tactual Perception and Braille Letter Recognition, fondly referred to as “Mangold,” with her. Over the years, I’ve often placed stickers at the ends of the tactile lines in this program as an incentive for my students. My current student is much more motivated by sound than by touch, though, so I’ve been building in some auditory reinforcers. She calls these activities, “Sunshine Mangold” and “Cricket Mangold.”
For Sunshine Mangold, I made lines of braille c’s, using American Printing House PermaBraille sheets so the dots would hold up. I used the APH Crafty Graphics stencil materials to make tactile symbols at the end of each line. (I could have used stickers, instead, but I’ve always loved white-on-white in braille pages.) Most of the symbols are squares, but five of them are suns. When my student finds a square at the end of a line, she just goes to the next line, but when she finds a sun, she tells me, and I play a short stanza of one of her favorite songs (the Beatles’ “Good Day, Sunshine.”)
I have often played songs while my students track lines in the Mangold program. They enjoy the music, and they know that they are finished tracking at the same time as songs end. My current student is distracted by music to the point that she can’t track braille lines and listen at the same time, though. So for her lessons I use an iPhone timer app, set with a soft cricket chirp to indicate when two minutes are up. My student tracks with the silence she needs, and she knows she is finished when she hears the chirp. This in-built timer also helps with my own data collection.