In response to National Braille Day on January 4th, and the curriculum of the 1st grade class we did a braille storytime. The kids were enthusiastic to see books in braille, which we collected from our system and others, the tactile experience was very impressive to them.
Helen’s Big World: The Life of Helen Keller by Doreen Rappaport is a beautiful book, although i did not expect the 1rst graders to sit through it, their enthusiasm held their interest. The books pictures are bright, the story includes quotes from Helen herself and even mentions her commitment to social justice, without getting into the discussion of her political life. The back pages included the sign language alphabet and the group had fun figuring out letters.
This stunning book by Menena Cottin is the book that inspired me to start this storytime theme. The book is all in black, the pictures illustrated by raised shiny black shapes of rain, strawberries and grass, allowing the children to feel and hear the experience of colors rather than depend on their eyes. Hard to pass around in the big group, but the tactile experience was important and the kids loved feeling the words in braille and the pictures.
Although it is out of print this books is a short, sweet story of experiencing of spring by Naomi who is blind is worth finding. Naomi Knows It’s Springtime explains how she hears and feels the changes of increasing warmth, animal sounds, and the feel of the lawn mower vibrating as it cuts the newly growing grass.
For our craft I printed out these templates so the kids could use raised gem stickers to create a large braille name badge. I gave them each a braille alphabet chart to use to find their letters. They loved it.
Both of which I found from The Scout Leader Council.
The kids were curious about Helen Keller being able to speak, and they would have loved to see this short clip about her and hear her speak.