Building on Patterns is a systematic, comprehensive, and balanced literacy program designed to teach young children with visual impairments to read and write using braille.


Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Who will benefit from BOP Pre-K?
    Preschool children who will be braille readers will benefit from participation in the activities in this program. Depending on the child’s current level of development, precocious 3-year-olds may be able to start this program, although as you might expect, they will probably take longer to go through the program and you will need to alter your timing and expectations accordingly. Four-year-olds are definite candidates for the program—they will gain valuable experience before starting the BOP Kindergarten level when they reach the age of formal education in their home state (usually five or six years of age and depending on the child’s birthday).

  2. Are preschoolers expected to read all those books themselves?
    No. The children’s picture books are for the teacher to read aloud. Preschoolers listen to and talk about the stories, and explore the print and braille copies. Use these books to start a library of children's books for the home or classroom. Files to create braille labels for the print children’s books are available at

    The braille-only tactile storybooks and workbooks are for the child to read with support; they give practice with book handling, tracking, tactile graphics, and reading simple text.

  3. Is it necessary for a Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments (TSVI) to provide the BOP Pre-K instruction?
    Yes. Building on Patterns is written with the understanding that instruction in reading and writing through braille will be delivered by a qualified teacher of students with visual impairments. It is critical that this instruction be provided by someone who knows the braille code and who is also a knowledgeable and reflective teacher.

  4. Do I need to do every single activity or lesson?
    No. When teaching BOP Pre-K, the emphasis should be on moving the child at a comfortable pace, rather than rushing through material to complete the entire program. Lessons may take longer than a week, and it is not necessary for a student to finish all of them in preschool to be “ready” for kindergarten. Even if only half the lessons are covered, the child will have a solid literacy foundation and, in most cases, be ready to begin the kindergarten level of Building on Patterns (BOP-K) the following year. Letters of the alphabet will be reintroduced in BOP-K, along with expanded opportunities to develop age-appropriate literacy skills.

  5. What materials will I need?
    There are some required items used so routinely that they are not listed specifically in the written list of materials needed in the lessons:

  6. How is BOP Pre-K different from other BOP curriculums?
    If you’ve used the school-age version of Building on Patterns, you will find that BOP Pre-K looks very similar. It is a comprehensive preschool literacy program. However, there are some important differences. For example, this program is designed for a younger population, so instruction occurs in smaller chunks, and there is room for teacher creativity and spontaneity, where you can seize upon that “teachable moment” and follow the child’s lead. Additionally, each lesson is grounded in a fiction or nonfiction book for young children. Activities are included that support these books. Many of the books are generally available in public bookstores and have been enjoyed by preschoolers everywhere.

  7. What setting can BOP Pre-K be used in?
    BOP Pre-K can be used in the home or in a preschool classroom by a qualified teacher of students with visual impairments. Some parts of the lessons, such as the interactive read-alouds, can be implemented in small-group settings with peers with and without disabilities.

  8. Do you have suggestions for pacing with preschool students?
    Children in preschool have very different needs than older children in a school environment. Children in preschool learn best through fun, enjoyable activities that allow them to continue to develop naturally in all areas (cognitive, motor, emotional, social). Here are some suggestions:

    • Move through the program sequentially. (Don’t skip ahead if the child has not completed a lesson.)
    • Focus on exposure, not mastery. Children at this age should not be required to memorize or participate in “drill and practice.” The braille symbols and tactile concepts will be repeated many times throughout BOP Pre-K and subsequent levels, so at this point, it is important for the child to have rich tactile experiences, not to be required to master knowledge of the braille code.
    • Give the child ample opportunities to repeat enjoyable activities included in the lessons. Don’t feel that you must push through to the next lesson if there are still gains to be made by having fun with the current lesson.
    • Watch carefully for signs of fatigue or frustration. Avoid putting the child in a situation where learning is not enjoyable.
    • Let the child lead the way in determining how long to focus on a particular aspect of the lesson. Gentle guidance can go a long way to encouraging a child to continue to focus on a challenging activity.
  9. What is in the Teacher Kit and the Student Kit?

    Teacher Kit

    • Quick Start: Following the steps in this guide will help you and your student’s educational team, including the family, learn about the BOP Pre-K program and help them to work with you and your young braille reader.
    • TSVI Booklet: This is an introductory booklet to give you some background information about the program and things to think about before beginning to teach it.
    • Teacher’s Manual: The Teacher’s Manual for this program is contained in six print volumes. The manual is available in braille as a free download on the APH Downloadable Product Manuals website: Hard copy braille is not included in this kit; it is available as make-to-order from APH. Note: The braille version of the Teacher Kit also includes a complete set of the children’s books used in the lessons in braille with picture descriptions.
    • Reference Volume: The Reference Volume provides background information and support for teachers planning and working through the lessons with young children. Teachers should refer to this book at the beginning of their work and throughout the time they will be using the program.
    • Reading Roundup Lessons 10, 17, 25, and 32: The four Reading Roundup lessons are meant to include fun activities and to provide you with opportunities to evaluate progress and adjust instruction for your student.

    Student Kit

    • Booklets for parent and preschool teacher
    • Print parent letters (also available online)
    • 27 print children’s books, corresponding braille books, and one print-braille book (all braille is in Unified English Braille [UEB])
    • Tactile storybooks and workbooks for each lesson
    • Worksheets for some of the lessons
    • Manipulatives Pack
    • Consumable assessment materials (also available online)
  10. What are the components of each lesson?
    Building on Patterns Prekindergarten is a comprehensive preschool literacy program designed to contain most of the materials needed to carry out the activities in the lessons. The “Materials Needed” and “Teacher Preparation” sections of each lesson also make it easier for the teacher to get everything ready before the lesson. BOP Pre-K includes the following instructional content. Each lesson begins with learning objectives, then includes sections on the following:

    • Speaking and listening—including interactive read-alouds using high quality children’s literature, vocabulary, and listening comprehension
    • Knowledge and concept development—textures, days of the week, weather, shapes, and other concepts
    • Phonological awareness—precursor skills, rhyming words, syllables, initial and ending sounds
    • Reading—braille awareness, the alphabet, the tactile storybook, and letter recognition and phonics
    • Writing—practice exercises, modeled/interactive writing, name writing, and reviews
    • Specialized skills—such as tactile graphics
    • Enrichment activities incorporating arts and crafts and music
  11. What is Interactive Reading?
    Interactive reading is a systematic approach to reading aloud using research-based techniques. During an interactive read-aloud, children participate actively in the listening experience, guided by a skilled adult reader. The reader may make comments, explain concepts and vocabulary, ask open-ended questions, or model higher level thinking skills, such as prediction and inference (e.g., “I wonder why …”). These strategies occur throughout the reading so that children remain engaged from beginning to end.

  12. How will parents know what their child is learning?
    As mentioned in the TSVI Booklet, involvement of parents and family members is critical to a child’s enjoyment and success in acquisition of literacy skills. There is a Parent Booklet and a Parent Letter of Introduction to BOP Pre-K to be sent to the family at the beginning of the school year along with a Parent Observations Page. The other letters are these: one parent letter for each regular lesson, one to explain the alphabet cards (see Lesson 3), and one to explain the number cards (see Lesson 6). Print copies of the parent letters are included in each Student Kit, but they can also be downloaded from and tailored for the child’s family.

  13. What are the assessment tools that go along with the lessons?
    Assessment materials are included in both the Student Kit and the Teacher Kit depending on the purpose of the material. They can be adapted as needed for an individual child. The assessment materials range from monitoring sheets to the Reading Roundup, a summative evaluation of a child’s progress over time, using a language experience structure. There is also a form letter to fill in and send home to the child’s family after each of the four Reading Roundups.

  14. Are there opportunities for same-age peers to participate in BOP Pre-K activities?
    Yes. BOP Pre-K offers opportunities for same-age peers to work with the TSVI and preschoolers with visual impairments in various activities, games, and story reading. This helps the child to feel more engaged in the classroom.

  15. Is BOP Pre-K appropriate for Dual-Media Learners?
    Yes. Generally, the Learning Media Assessment dictates this decision, but in cases where members of the IEP team may still be undecided about the child’s primary learning media, BOP Pre-K can be used to provide rich and varied experiences for the child to use both vision and touch for initial approaches to reading and writing instruction. Following exposure to and instruction in braille and tactile graphics, the teacher can closely observe the student’s response to multisensory materials to help inform this media decision.

  16. Why aren’t the letters introduced in alphabetical order? In what order are the letters of the alphabet introduced?
    The order of letter introduction in BOP Pre-K is designed to facilitate tactile discrimination and to promote other early literacy skills. The program presents similar and reversed letters – such as h, d, f, and j – at widely spaced intervals, allowing time for each letter to be well-learned before the next potentially confusing one is taught. In the same way, the BOP Pre-K letter sequence separates the introduction of vowels. The vowels i and a are taught in the earlier lessons, since their short sounds are easily distinguishable. The remaining vowels appear a few lessons apart with multiple opportunities to practice their short sounds in phonemic awareness and phonics activities. Finally, the sequence of letters in BOP Pre-K begins with the most useful alphabetic wordsigns for writing simple phrases and sentences, such as go, you, can, like, and a. This enables the child to read continuous text right from the beginning of instruction, promoting tracking and word recognition skills within a motivational context.

    Order of letter introduction: g y c i l a h w x n d t m p s r e f u b k v j z o q

Children reading

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