English Language Arts

Photo shows a student using two hands to read braille.

The BC Ministry of Education English Language Arts curriculum encompasses skills that “[equip] students with the language and literacy skills they will need for success in school, community, career, and life.” These skills include exploring how language can be used for different purposes and how stories can be used to learn about the world, share perspectives, and make connections.

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Check out the English Language Arts Curriculum category in #Outreaching - the blog of the PRCVI Outreach Team.

English Language Arts - Students with Visual Impairments

From a young age, we are exposed to an environment that is rich with literacy opportunities, from books to signs and posters to advertisements. Students with visual impairments require access to these literacy experiences in a format that is accessible to them. Teaching literacy skills to students with visual impairments requires close collaboration between the teacher of students with visual impairments and the general education teacher (Holbrook, D’Andrea, & Wormsley, 2017). One of the key factors in literacy for students with visual impairments is the assessment and monitoring of literacy skills and the determination of the whether a student should use print, braille, or both (Holbrook, 2009).

Examples of Adaptations for English Language Arts

  • Having classroom materials provided in large print or braille and classmates ensuring that their own materials that may be exchanged (e.g., for proofreading or peer feedback) ware also accessible.
  • Using optical devices or assistive technology to access print, video, online content, and other multimedia.
  • Using seat copies, manipulatives, or assistive technology to access projected demonstrations (i.e., discussion of a sentence or essay structure with manipulation of text).

Connections to the Expanded Core Curriculum

Knowledge and skill development in the Core and Expanded Core Curricula are mutually reinforcing and together enrich student learning. Below are examples of connections between Languages and the ECC. 

Sensory Efficiency Skills

  • Students with low vision use optical devices to access print materials and resources (i.e., accessing call numbers to find a book in a library).
  • A student who uses dual media (print and braille) determines which medium (vision, touch) is best suited to gathering information.
  • The use of active listening skills during whole class activities such as Readers' Theatre. 

Recreation and Leisure

  • Using reading and writing activities to explore recreation and leisure choices, such as genres of literature or creative writing.
  • Adapting literacy-based games to be accessible (i.e., accessing a role-playing app with a braille display).
  • Scavenger hunts with a riddle for each clue! 

Career Education

  • Creating documents such as cover letters, resumes, or letters to post-secondary professors.
  • Using stories to explore various careers, community roles, and perspectives.
  • Setting priorities and creating problem solving plans using procedural writing. 

Resources to Support Instruction

PRCVI Library Catalogue

Beaver, J. M. (2006). DRA-2: Developmental reading assessment: Grades k-3. Lebanon, IN: Celebration Press. [Assessment Kit.]
Popular reading assessment program available in print/braille format for grades K-3.
Beaver, J. M & Carter, M. A. (2006). DRA-2: Developmental reading assessment: Grades 4-8. Lebanon, IN: Celebration Press. [Assessment Kit.]
Popular reading assessment program available in print/braille format for grades 4-8.
Duckworth, B. (1983). Brigance diagnostic comprehensive inventory of basic skills: Green level. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.
Braille format version of the Brigance assessment of basic literacy skills.
Johns, J. L. (2017). Basic reading inventory: Pre-primer through grade twelve and early literacy assessments. (Adapted into Unified English Braille by PRCVI.). Dubuque, IA: Kendall Hunt.
Popular oral reading fluency assessment commonly used in the Learning Media Assessment process. 
Spicknall, S., Ferrell, K.A. & Swenson, A. (2018). Building on Patterns prekindergarten starter kit. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind. [Resource Kit.]
This literacy program, while geared to preschool-aged learners, can be used with school aged learners working on pre-kindergarten literacy skills. 
Wormsley, D. P. (2018). Individualized Meaning-Based Approach to Braille Literacy. New York, NY: AFB Press. [Professional Text.]
Professional text outlining the I-M-ABLE approach to literacy instruction for students who require a personalized approach to learning to read in braille. 
American Printing House for the Blind. (2018). Braille Buzz. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind. [Resource Kit.]
Fun, bee-shaped device for practicing the braille alphabet and six-key writing. 

Web-Based Resources

Paths to Literacy (Aug. 17, 2017). How do people with low vision participate in theater? Class success part 3. Accessed at https://www.perkinselearning.org/technology/blog/how-do-people-low-vision-participate-theater-class-success-part-3
Strategies for creative inclusive theatre experiences for learners with low vision - can be applied to classroom-based drama activities.
SET-BC. (2008). Reading strategies for students with visual impairments: A classroom teacher’s guide. Vancouver, BC: SET-BC.
Resource guide from SET-BC written for a classroom teacher audience on promoting reading success.
SET-BC. (2008). Writing strategies for students with visual impairments: A classroom teacher's guide. Vancouver, BC: SET-BC. 
Resource guide from SET-BC written for a classroom teacher audience on promoting reading success.
Stanfa, K., & Johnson, N. (2015). Improving braille reading fluency: The bridge to comprehensionJournal of Blindness Innovation & Research, 5. Accessed at https://www.nfb.org/images/nfb/publications/jbir/jbir15/jbir050204.html
Article outlining evidence-based strategies for promoting fluency for students who read braille.
VisionAware (n.d.). Enjoying theater and film when you are blind or have low vision. Accessed at https://visionaware.org/everyday-living/recreation-and-leisure/cultural-activities/theater-film-and-tv/
Strategies for ensuring that activities with visual media are accessible. Article is not age-specific and can be applied in the classroom. 

References

Holbrook, M. C. (2009). Supporting students’ literacy through data-driven decision-making and ongoing assessment of achievement. Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness, 103(3), 133-136.

Holbrook M. C., D’Andrea, F. M., & Wormsley, D. (2017). Chapter 12: Literacy skills. New York, NY: AFB Press. pp. 374-426.

 

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