When we assess a student with (Cortical/Cerebral Vision Impairment) in an educational setting, we realize that each student is unique and needs their own educational plan to best fit their needs. A TVI (Teacher of students with visual impairments) helps guide the team to develop this plan based on data collection, observations, and a concrete understanding of the student’s strengths and needs. One of the most important decisions is how to support the student with CVI in their literacy journey.
The free to use LOOK Reading Tool developed by CVI Scotland may be a good fit for some of our students who are learning to read.
Reading with Recognition
The reading with recognition approach has “proved very successful for some children who find reading difficult due to having to process too many pieces of visual information simultaneously, including the individual letters that come together to make a word.”
Clustering letters to form words by recognizing each letter to make individual sounds, and then piecing the sounds together to form the word can be very complex.
Some students may not find success with the phonics approach to reading.
A student with CVI may have more success with numbers than letters. Numbers can have more of an understandable concrete meaning. Numbers recognition does not need a sound and can be identified with concrete examples that don’t change. Letters are more complicated and can be a memory associated with an object. For example, “B” for ball. The student must then learn that each letter has a sound. For every letter the student must go through several steps for recognition, then grouping it with other letters to identify words. It is overwhelming and exhausting. Word recognition maybe the best approach.
Sight words are words that students memorize when learning to read. We can create success in this area with our students who have CVI when they have the necessary adaptations. The LOOK Reading Tool can be used when learning sight words.
A few adaptions used are:
- Larger font
- Underline the word or use Roman’s word bubbling tool
- Only view one word at a time
- Play matching games with sight words
- Use high contrast materials with no patterns
- Give extra time and cues
- Create an environment that is simple, uncluttered, and not overstimulating
Starting to Read Words Together
As students start to have success with sight words, they can begin to put these words together to form sentences. Often the simple sentences can be too much for our students with CVI. We can assist them by having just one word highlighted for them to read as the teacher reads the others. This allows for success and keeps the student motivated by the positive experience.
The LOOK Reading Tool can assist with reading sentences because the student can look at individual words to create that sentence.
Discovering What the Student Needs
A TVI and educational team should consider multiple tools when finding what works best with each student who has CVI. We learn from each student and carry that knowledge with us to become better teachers. Using the LOOK Reading Tool can be effective for some who benefit from an adapted reading approach.
Take a look at another tool: The Bubbly App