Kim de Verdier, Lic. psychologist and PhD student, at SPSM and Stockholm University

Reading development for six students with blindness or severe visual impairment

- a longitudinal case study

In Sweden most braille reading students attend inclusive educational settings, but the support they receive is not yet equal. Kim has carried out a longitudinal study that aimed to describe the students’ experiences of pedagogical support, general school achievement and reading development during compulsory school (grades 1 – 9).

The results revealed great differences concerning the students’ experiences of the support offered in the schools, their levels of achievement and their reading development. All six students started as emerging braille readers, but their reading development then took different directions. Two blind students developed good braille reading skills, while two other blind students had extensive problems with reading. Two partially sighted students both gave up braille-reading at different points.

Several teachers that took part of the study stated that it was difficult to support the students in their reading, because they themselves didn’t have enough braille-competence. We know that reading skills are closely linked to general school achievement. Becoming a successful braille reader is a demanding process and a great responsibility lies on the environment to encourage the students to develop and maintain their braille skills. In this session you will learn about the key factors for students’ reading development: motivation, attitudes and competence and how you as a teacher can support your students.

 

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