I currently work with preschoolers and students who are blind or visually impaired with other exceptionalities. I have searched and searched for a braille tracking video that was appropriate for their needs. I didn’t find what I was looking for. So, I created the following video which shows the technique for students of any age who are new to braille, beginning braille readers (preschoolers), and those who are still learning to read (not yet fluent readers). Enjoy!
Transcript: Tracking in Braille
Tracking is the left/right movement of the hands when reading braille.
Let’s begin with the setup. The setup is important to the success of every braille reader. Place the braille on a gripper. This could be a foamy shelf liner or a cork placemat; whatever works for you, as long as the braille doesn’t slide around. Next, make sure that you’re seated comfortably with both feet on the floor and a slight bend in the elbows. This is best achieved by sitting at a desk or a table.
Next we’re going to talk about hand placement. When you approach the braille page, you want to go to the top left hand corner. This is where reading begins. The pointer fingers are the reading fingers and all other fingers stay on the line. This is to ensure that the reader has success with staying on the line. The fingers will help you to find the beginning and end of each line. You want to make sure that you are not pressing too firmly on the braille. We don’t want to compress the braille and when you have a light touch, that helps you to move smoothly and it allows you to pick up speed as you become a better reader, a more fluent reader. The one thing that I want to make sure you don’t do is called “scrubbing”. This is moving your fingers up and down on the braille or in a circular or round motion. Scrubbing should be reserved for the kitchen floor. This slows down the reader. It doesn’t provide for fluid motion over the braille.
Left to Right Movement
So let’s practice left to right. If you have to check a letter, you can go left to right over top of that letter if you’re not sure what it is. So let’s practice our braille reading. Again, you go to the top left corner of the page. Find the first line with your hands. All fingers are lightly bent and on the line and we move from the left to the right. “Happy birthday to you.” Now my fingers have found the end of the line and we’re not going to just skip down to the next line. We’re going to go back on the same line and down. “Happy birthday to you.” Another way to go back and down is to go between the lines. Now I’m going to show you why we don’t just skip down to the next line instead of going back and down. If we skip down and there’s a very short line, you will miss that line, so we want to make sure that you are going back down to the next line. So “happy birthday to you” back and down. “And… many more!”
Have fun reading!