Teaching Literacy to Students with Visual Impairments

Instructor: Sarah Mills

Sarah is an educational freelance writer and has taught English and ESL in grades k-12 and college. She has a master's degree in both Literacy and TESOL.

In this lesson, teachers will learn strategies for adapting literacy instruction for students with visual impairments. The lesson will cover aspects of an effective literacy program and ways to incorporate those elements into daily instruction.

Adapting Literacy Instruction

In order to become strong readers, students need regular access to a wide variety of literacy resources. For students with healthy vision, this is generally not a problem, as society is bombarded with text from magazines, newspapers, the backs of cereal boxes, restaurant menus, flyers, and advertisements on public transportation, to name a few examples.

Students with visual impairments need similar opportunities to explore text in all of its formats. Exposure to text on a regular basis will give them the tools to interpret text and respond to it in writing.

Let's look at some components of an effective literacy program for students with visual impairments, and let's discuss some strategies for incorporating them into your daily instruction.

Access to Reading Materials

An effective literacy program for students with visual impairments begins with access to varied reading materials. All students will have their own unique strategies for approaching text. The key is to build a classroom library with many diverse resources so students with visual impairments can choose the methods that work best for them. These may include:

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