Cay Holbrook Listen to Cay Holbrook’s advice on the three things parents should know about literacy skills.


My name is Cay Holbrook, and I’m an Associate Professor of Special Education at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, British Columbia, in Canada.

What are three things you want to ensure that parents know about the need for children to have good literacy skills and become proficient readers?

There are several things that I think are important for parents to know about the need for literacy skills—both for children to become proficient readers and also to love reading.

The first is I believe that parents should know that reading and writing are a part of the core curriculum. Reading and writing are important for all children—children who are sighted and children who are visually impaired.

The second thing is that literacy is involved in all areas of the expanded core curriculum. So literacy both supports the expanded core curriculum, and the expanded core curriculum supports the development of literacy skills.

Third, I think that it’s very important that parents understand that young children are learning to read! They are not learning braille. So the way that children are learning to read is through braille and through touch, but it is learning to read, not learning the code of braille.

And finally, I really think that it’s important that parents recognize and understand that there is good support out there for supporting children with visual impairments and learning literacy skills, through qualified teachers of students with visual impairments. Parents should understand that this is a right for their child, to have access to a qualified teacher, and that they are well within their rights to demand that.