Literacy and Visual Impairment

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Abstract

ABSTRACT

Research supporting specific instructional approaches for young children with visual impairments and blindness is limited. There is, however, a growing body of evidence to support the belief that the critical components of emergent and early conventional literacy for children with visual impairments do not differ markedly from those of their sighted peers. Specifically, infants and toddlers with visual impairments and blindness require interactions that support their oral language development, awareness of print or braille, and opportunities to explore writing. Although these very young children are often delayed in developing emergent literacy understandings, the path of their development is consistent with emergent literacy development of sighted children. The research regarding older children with visual impairments and blindness suggests that they too benefit from instruction that emphasizes the critical elements of early literacy instruction for all children. Research also suggests that specific strategies, such as repeated readings, direct instruction in phonics, and big word decoding that emphasizes morphemes, can benefit school-aged children with visual impairments and blindness. Further research is needed if we are to understand fully the most effective approaches to emergent and early literacy instruction for children with visual impairments and blindness, but there is a solid base from which we can begin.

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