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PURPOSE: To teach braille letter recognition to pre-readers. The activity uses a container with six compartments to represent a braille cell (a muffin tin or a plastic box divided into three rows of two compartments each).Children arrange objects starting with the corresponding letter in the compartment(s) to match the pattern of the braille letter. The number of items used corresponds to the number of dots that form the letter. For example, one plastic apple might represent the letter "A" when placed in the upper left compartment of the AlphaBox. As reading progresses, the game can be expanded to teach more advanced concepts.To encourage a love of reading, the game should be fun, and objects should be those children are familiar with and can eat or play with. In addition to the container and the appropriate number and type of objects for each letter, 26 large zip-seal bags or manila envelopes to hold the items, and a means of organizing the envelopes or bags are required. Label the envelopes or bags in braille or large print. A work tray from which the child chooses objects is also needed. To begin, establish the concept that the braille cell has six little "rooms" or spaces. Demonstrate this with a large braille cell. Relate this cell to the container with the six compartments. Name and label each section with the appropriate box number. Have the child and an adult find the appropriate envelope or bag with the objects for the letter being studied. Say the letter and identify the objects. Open the bag and remove the objects. If the objects are representative, if possible have the real object available to compare. Help the student place the objects in the sections that correspond to the dot configuration of the letter. Using an interesting and creative method, remove the items and repeat the process, saying the dot numbers as it is done. Work with the student to identify other objects that correspond to the letter and allow him/her to create new sets. After the child is completely familiar with the letter's dot configuration and sound, the objects can be replaced with balls, chips, or candies. The game can also be altered by placing the objects in the compartments and asking the child to identify the letter. TITLE: AlphaBoxes (in Springboard). AUTHOR: Anne McComiskey. JOURNAL: RE:view. REF: Vol 35 no 1, Spring 2003: p.24-25. PAGES (including cover): 3 2003.
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