Every child deserves the opportunity to read. That is the core belief behind Building on Patterns (BOP), a comprehensive program designed to teach children to read and write while learning braille. During the update of BOP, it became apparent that there was a need for a prekindergarten emergent literacy program to help students meet the new literacy standards for preschool and the increased emphasis placed on early learning. Building on Patterns Prekindeårgarten (BOP Pre-K) was created to meet this need.
The BOP Pre-K curriculum demonstrates best practices in braille literacy instruction, with lessons designed to develop listening, speaking, reading, and writing in preparation for kindergarten. It incorporates early childhood education principles throughout the lessons and balances instruction and experiential learning. Through the lesson activities, children will learn to recognize letters and their corresponding sounds; write their name; and read and write the braille symbols that represent letters, numbers, and basic words so that they can develop early literacy skills right along with their classmates.
The most popular feature among the teachers and consultants who wrote and contributed to BOP Pre-K is the inclusion of a variety of high-quality children’s fiction and nonfiction literature. These fun, engaging books help foster peer interactions in lesson activities and more family inclusion in the future rereading of the books. A student copy of each book is included in braille, which is a great way to start a young child’s collection of braille books. BOP Pre-K also includes tactile storybooks that support lesson concepts through activities that involve tracking, simple reading, and understanding tactile graphics, and allows the child to make a stronger connection with the meaning in a fun format. For many children, the tactile storybooks will be the first books they can read independently.
There is currently nothing like BOP Pre-K. Most teachers of students with visual impairments (TSVIs) with prekindergarten students have to plan and create all the lessons and materials themselves, which is often time-consuming and challenging for busy itinerant teachers. BOP Pre-K is a teacher-friendly curriculum written by teachers that provides fun, creative lesson plans, and materials, which means less time on preparation, and therefore more time for instruction with the child. TSVIs can use BOP Pre-K as a stand-alone program, or more flexibly along with the literacy activities that the preschool teacher is doing.
A consultant for BOP, a university professor preparing teachers to work with students who are blind, noted that she is constantly in search of resources that will be helpful to her students, especially as they begin their career as a TSVI. “Building on Patterns is a resource that fills a real need for my students and I encourage them to use it as a tool to become more knowledgeable and confident in teaching reading and writing to young children who are blind.”
For more information about this outstanding resource, visit the Building on Patterns Pre-K website at www.aphbop.org/pre-k/, and head over to the APH shopping site to purchase the student kit: https://bit.ly/2MeVe2h and more!