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Session 5:  Study Questions and Answers for Recommended Reading F:  Lewis & Tolla

Lewis, S., & Tolla, J. (2003). Creating and using tactile experience books for young children with visual impairments. Teaching Exceptional Children, 35(3), 22-28.

1. How do the emergent literacy experiences of young children with visual impairments differ from those of their typically sighted peers?

Children with visual impairments do not have the same quality of information that typically sighted children have in the emergent literacy process. Because of learning differences, children with visual impairments may not understand what others read to them and what they are expected to read themselves. For example, children with visual impairments have limited understanding of literacy concepts because their perceptions are limited to what they have felt by hand or seen with a limited visual field. Children with visual impairments also have less experience with incidental learning, which decreases their opportunities for developing meaningful concepts through typical life experiences.

2. What purpose do illustrations serve in books for young children?

Illustrations can

  • introduce children to information that is unfamiliar.
  • facilitate understanding of the text.
  • enrich he story.
  • add humor or intrigue.
  • give context clues.
  • enable readers to reconstruct a story line.
  • provide a bridge between listening and early reading behaviors.

3. Why are raised line drawings inefficient means for providing illustrations for young children with visual impairments?

Interpreting raised-line drawings is difficult because they do not share the same relationship to three-dimensional objects that visual illustrations do.
Tactile forms do not provide the same identifiable details and constancy that visual illustrations provide.

4. What are the benefits of using tactile experience books?

Tactile experience books can

  • encourage association of words that are read with braille and the use of appropriate hand movements during story reading.
  • be used by children with visual impairments independently; they can turn pages, explore the artifacts attached, and pretend to read the story aloud.
  • provide children with a connection between words that describe activities and words that they read.
  • provide experiences with writing and symbols of written language.
  • provide social inclusion opportunities for young children with visual impairments.
  • provide children with meaningful stories to choose from during story times.
  • be shared by children with visual impairments, helping them learn to be competent readers and listeners.
  • reinforce spatial, temporal, and number concepts.
  • facilitate meaningful expansion of language, social skills, and tactile perception.
  • reinforce the pleasure of reading with adults and peers.
  • be easily memorized; children can memorize the content and pretend to read aloud to listening adults.

5. What are critical factors in selecting artifacts and topics for tactile experience books.

Tactile experience books should include artifacts and objects that are familiar to children. Ideally, children participate in collecting the items. Children must have had tactile contact with the items that are selected. Artifacts should never be objects that adults associate with the event but that are unfamiliar to children. Artifacts in tactile experience books should be real, and miniature
representations should be avoided.

6. What are the key guidelines for providing text to tactile experience books?

  • Text should always be in a predictable location on the page.
  • Braille text should be on heavy braille paper in a continuous line, not cut apart and placed as single-word units or phrases.
  • Braille text should be carefully adhered to the page; care should be taken to not reduce the sharpness of the braille dots.
  • A high-quality print version of the text should be included along with the braille on each page.