Paths to Literacy

for students who are blind or visually impaired

Making the Concept of Mail Accessible to Children Who Are Blind or Deafblind

My son Liam is 7 years old and he is deafblind.  Liam loves reading and writing braille.  I thought a great activity for summer break would be to learn about writing letters to our friends and family.  It was my hope that it would be fun and motivating way to practice his writing over the summer.  
 

Mail book:

Mail book with braille and tactile objectsI created a personalized book about "mail".  My objective for the book is for Liam to learn that houses have numbers, streets have names, as well as the format of an envelope, etc.   
 
The book included:
 

Cover page:

  • Title: Mail Box (in braille and print both throughout the book)
  • Tactile Graphic- envelope glued to the cover
 
 

Page One:  House

Tactile symbol of house with braille label

 

 

  • Words: Your house number is #####.  
  • Tactile Graphic: Cut out of a house labeled "Liam's house"
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

Street name with braille and tactile symbols

 

Page Two:  Street

  • Words:  Your street name is __________.
  • Tactile Graphics: a piece of hard material that feels like cement with grass on either side of it (just like our street at home).
 
 
 
 

Page Three:  City

City tactile page with braille

 

 

 

  • Words:  You live in the city of _____________.
  • Tactile Graphics:  Cut out chipboard pieces in the shape of buildings labeled: church, house, school and store.  
 
 
 
Tactile map of South Dakota with braille
 
 

Page Four:  State

  • Words: You live in the state of South Dakota.
  • Tactile Graphic: Outline of the state of South Dakota using Wikki Stix
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Page Five:  Parts of Envelope

Addressing envelope using tactile symbols and braille
 
 
An envelope glued to the page that includes labels of the parts of an envelope.  
  • Your name and address
  • Stamp
  • Friend's name and address
 
 
 
 
 
 

Additional ideas to include in a Mail Book: 

  • Parts of a letter 
  • Post office vocabulary and/or experience
 
 
Young boy reading mail bookYoung boy reading mail bookYoung boy turning pages of mail book
 
 

Writing Letters!

Envelopes:  

Envelopes with braille addressesAhead of time I labeled all of the addresses in braille and also in print of friends and family we could write to.  Liam gets to read the labels and pick one person a day that he wants to write to.  I also made return address labels in braille with Liam's name and address on them so that Liam can place on the envelopes himself.  
 
We will discuss the three lines of the address:  
  1. name
  2. address
  3. city, state  and zip code
We will also discuss where the stamp goes on the envelope and also why you need a stamp.  
 

Letters:

A boy writes on his brailler.Liam will get to write the name of the friend or family member that we are writing by himself on the top of the page using his braille writer.  I then will ask him what he wants to write on his letter and I will use a braille writer to record  what he tells me. I will encourage him to feel my hands as I type for the first couple of letters.  He then will get to type his own name at the end of the letter independently. Eventually as we get more practiced (and he gets the idea) he will get to write more and more by himself.  
 

Envelopes with braille addresses

Accessible for all:

  • I will also include print with all of the letters of his recipients that don't know how to read braille. 
  • I will also include premade braille labels so that when his friends/families want to respond to Liam they can add braille to their envelopes and also their letters. 
 
 
 
 
 

Modifications:

  • If your student/child is ready, they can address the envelopes themselves and write the letters independently as well.  
  • If your student/child is not reading or writing braille yet, they can add tactile stickers, pre-made braille labels, etc.
 

Accessible Mail Box:

Liam's favorite part: His last name in braille on the mailbox.  Every time we go for a walk around the neighborhood he loves to find "his" mailbox.  
 

Reading braille on the mailboxReading braille on mailbox and signing
 
 
Pinterest collage of accessible mail
 
 

Comments

Well done.

Posted by LM

What a creative idea to introduce mail as a means of communication for family & friends. Perhaps further down the road one could explain how the post office works to get their written letters to who they addressed on the envelope. Great work!!

Simply Amazing!

Posted by Jessilyn Matthias

Thank you for sharing this experience with us and your son! I'm proud to know there are people like you who teach their children well and include them in their community!

As someone who works in the Assistive Technology and Inclusion fields, I'm always thinking of ways to do more! This is a wonderful idea!