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Activities for Teaching Reading Skills

A collection of APH Press books, including Reading Connections: Strategies for Teaching Students with Visual Impairments, sit on a bookshelf alongside a pink hat with the APH logo on it, a small flag that has the APH logo and the words "welcome everyone" on it, a stack of APH branded bracelets, and a wooden drawing model of a person.

Reading is an important skill used in daily living. Yet many children struggle with becoming proficient readers. The APH Press book Reading Connections: Strategies for Teaching Students with Visual Impairments was written to help educators improve the reading skills of their students. This in-depth and user-friendly guide for understanding reading instruction is essential for teachers. “Part 2: Teaching the Components: Putting the Pieces Together” is full of activities like the ones below to help teach essential reading skills for students who read print, braille, or both.


Clanking Coins

Goal: To develop phoneme segmentation and blending skills

Additional skills: To develop tactile/motor skills and promote motivation and interest

Materials: Pennies, quarters, and a metal can the size of a coffee tin

Say a word to the student (for example, “dog”). Have the student count the sounds of the phonemes in the word. As each sound is named, have the student drop a penny into the metal can (/d/-/o/-/g/). A high-pitched clanking noise will be made for each sound in the word. After each sound is made, have the student blend the sounds and say the word (“dog”). As the student says the whole word, have them drop a quarter into the can, which will make a deeper sound signifying the blended word.


Choral Reading

Goal: To develop reading, accuracy, rate, and prosody

Additional skills: To increase focus and attention

Materials: Two copies of a short, unfamiliar passage that is at the student’s instructional level

Give the student a copy of the passage and keep one for yourself. Tell the student that you will read from the passage, and then the student will join you in reading the passage together. Read a few sentences or a paragraph from the passage while the student listens to you read. After modeling fluent reading of this selection, ask the student to join you in reading aloud the same sentences or paragraph. Repeat reading the text two to three more times together with the student. Then continue with the rest of the passage in this manner.


Give a Clue, Get a Word

Goal: To develop vocabulary knowledge

Additional skills: To develop oral language (also supports social skills)

Materials: Vocabulary words written on cards, with a definition of a different word written on the back (five to seven cards per student in the class or group)

Give each student five to seven vocabulary cards. Explain that one side of each card has a vocabulary word on it and the back has a definition of a different word. Tell the students that the purpose of this activity is to try to match the words with the right definitions. The first student begins by giving a clue about the word or definition they want to find. The student who has the word or definition responds to the clue by providing their card and matching it with the first student’s card. If no one is able to find a match, then the student can give a second clue. The activity continues until all the cards have been matched to their proper definitions.


Student #1 reads a word on their card, saying, “My clue is ‘docile.’” The student who has the definition of ‘docile’ holds up their card, saying, “I give you ‘quiet, easily controlled, and not aggressive.’” Those two students match their cards. Student #2 then reads a definition on their card, saying, “My clue is ‘acting in a brave way.’” The student who has the matching word then holds up their card, saying, “I give you ‘intrepid.’”


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