Instructions for ELIA Learner’s Manual

Introduction

The tactile manual will guide you through the ELIA learning process. First, we introduce you to the alphabet. Then, you’ll complete exercises to help you master both the letters of the alphabet, and the skills you’ll need to read the alphabet. We add new skills with each exercise, and we repeat important information that you will need to learn the ELIA Frames®Alphabet.

We encourage you to take your time, and master each skill as it is taught. You should master each section before beginning the next. Each skill is important for your understanding of the alphabet and your development as a tactile reader. If you skip training steps now, it could mean that you will read more slowly in the future.

We encourage you to keep this manual after you have finished the exercises. You may wish to review it to sharpen your skills.

Note for the Instructor:

This visual manual has two sections. The first section provides descriptions of the alphabet’s letters, and methods for learning and navigating the alphabet. You should share these descriptions with the tactile learner. The second part of this manual visually compares both ELIA Frames® Alphabet and Roman Alphabet texts so that you can easily identify any reader errors, and learn the ELIA Frames® Alphabet yourself.

Page 1

This first page lists all the letters of the ELIA Frames® Alphabet. The letters are either circular or square. Letters also feature the major characteristic of the Roman letter it represents, which can be traced with your index fingers. The only exception is the letter S, where there is a dot in the middle part of the letter instead of an S (which would be more difficult to feel). Before we continue with the instructions, please take a few minutes to feel each letter, and describe what you are feeling. To feel the letters, touch the letters as lightly as possible, using both of your index fingers. Keep your left index finger on the last letter you read to hold your place, and keep your right finger on the current letter you are reading. Remember to touch the letters lightly, or you may damage the text. Answer these three questions as you explore each letter:

What is the shape of the border? Is the letter circular or square?
What elements are inside the letter’s borders? Do you feel lines or dots? Where are they located? How do they compare to other letters’ elements? What is the shape of the open space inside the letter?

Notice that the letters A, B, C, D and O, P, Q, R , S all have circular borders. The rest of the letters have square borders.

Please pause the recording until you have explored each letter, and described its overall shape, the elements inside, and the shape of its open space. Once you have explored each letter, go on to the next section. For a full description of each letter of the alphabet, please continue listening, we will describe the features of each letter.

All letters in the ELIA Frames® Alphabet have either a circular or square outside frame. “A” , B, C and “D” have circular frames and “O” , P, Q, R, “S” have circular frames. “E” F G H I J K L M “N” have square frames and “T” U V W X Y “Z” have square frames. So, if you encounter a circular frame you know that the letter is in either the “A” through “D” or in the “O” through “S” groups. If you encounter a square frame you know that it is within the “E” through “N” or “T” through “Z” groups. Please take a moment to notice and absorb this.

Now, we will describe the first group of circular letters, A, B, C, and D.

Letter A - A is a circular letter with a peaked symbol similar to a capital roman “A”, or an upside down “V”. The shape of the open space inside is unique among ELIA ® Alphabet letters. You might not notice the upside down “V” immediately, but by tracing the outside and then the inside of the letter, you will feel that the shape of the inside space is not round like the outside.

Letter B – B is a circular letter. There are two horizontal lines across its interior, and an opening in the right side of the frame. With the two interior lines, it looks similar to a baseball.

Letter C – C is a circular letter with an opening in the frame on the right side, so it feels like the letter C. It is similar to the letter B. However, it does not have the two internal horizontal lines, so if you feel a circular letter with an opening on the right side and a very empty interior, you will know it is the letter C.

Letter D - The D has an opening in its frame on the left side, and a vertical line extending from the top of the frame to the bottom. A capital roman D can be traced in the right side of this letter.

When you identify a letter that has a circular frame and an opening in the frame, it will always be one of these four letters – A, B, C or D. Remember that letters with a circular frame and an opening in them can only be an A, B, C or D.

Now, move down to the next line of letters.

Our first group of square letters is “E” through “N”.

Letter E – E is a square frame with a horizontal line extending from the middle of the left side of the frame across to the middle of the right side of the frame. The capital letter E can be traced in this letter by feeling the top, left and bottom parts of the frame along with the inside horizontal line. So if you are identifying a square framed letter with a horizontal line that is in the middle of the frame, that letter is an E.

Letter F – F is a square frame with a horizontal line extending from the top of the left side of the frame across to the top of the right side of the frame. The capital letter F can be traced in this letter by incorporating the top, left and bottom parts of the frame along with the inside horizontal line. So if you are identifying a square framed letter with a horizontal line that is in the top of the frame, that letter is an F.

Please review both the letter E and F, so that you can feel their similarities and differences. It may help to remember that the capital F in the regular Roman alphabet has the majority of its mass up high, while the capital E has the majority of its mass evenly spaced between the top and bottom.

Also remember that the E and F are both square letters, so if you find a circular letter, you will know that it is not one of these two letters.

Letter G – The letter G is a square frame and has a small barb, or tail, on the inside of the right hand side of the frame. To trace the capital letter G in this symbol, find the barb, trace down the right hand side of the frame across the bottom of the frame, up the left hand side of the frame and then trace from the upper left hand corner across the frame to the right.

To review, if you find a circular letter, you will know that it is not E, F, or G.

Letter H – H is very similar to the E and F in that it has a square frame and a horizontal line. However, the H’s horizontal line is in the bottom half of the frame, far below where you would find the E’s horizontal line. To remember this, remember that for the regular Roman alphabet, in the lower case “h” most of the letter’s lines are low and down near the bottom of the letter.

Remember, if you find a circular letter, you will know that it is not E, F, G or H.

Letter I – The letter I is a square frame with a dot in the middle of the frame.

Letter J – The letter J is a square frame and has a small barb, or tail, on the inside of the left hand side of the frame. To trace the capital letter J in this symbol, find the barb, trace down the left hand side of the frame across the bottom of the frame, up the right hand side of the frame and then trace from the upper right hand corner across the frame to the left. The letter J is almost the mirror image of the letter G.

Again, please remember that if you find a circular letter, you will know that it is not E, F, G, H, I or J.

Letter K – The letter K is a square frame and has two legs inside extending from the middle of the left hand side of the frame to the middle of the bottom and top of the frame. To trace the capital letter K in this symbol, use the left hand side of the frame and the two interior lines to form a Roman letter K. Most people find it easiest to identify the K by the shape of the open space inside. Mainly, a reader’s finger feels a lot of open space, but cannot feel the bottom or top left hand corners.

Letter L – The letter L is a square frame that is empty. You can trace the capital letter L using the left hand side of the frame and the bottom horizontal part of the frame.

Letter M – The letter M is a square frame and has a small barb, or tail, on the inside of the top of the frame. To trace the capital letter M in this symbol, trace from the bottom left hand corner to the top, across to the barb, down and up the barb, across to the right hand side and down to the right hand side of the frame to the bottom right corner. The letter M is similar to the letters G and J. They all have a barb on the inside of the frame.

Letter N – The letter N is a square frame with diagonal line extending from the upper left hand corner of the frame to the bottom right hand corner of the frame. The capital letter N can be traced in this letter by incorporating the left side and right side of the frame along with the inside diagonal line.

Please notice that the “E”, “F” and “H” are similar in that they are square with a horizontal line across the frame. However, the “F” has a high bar and its “mass” is high, as is the roman “F’s” and the “H” has a low bar and its mass is low, as it is with the lower case “h” in the Roman alphabet. The “E”, “G”,“I” “K” “L” “M” and “N” are all straightforward in that you can find the major features or the actual letters in the symbols’ interior and or frames. The “J” is not as easy to remember as the others, so please take a note of its shape. Please take some time to study the first group of square letters before you continue to the next group of letters.

To review: If you find a circular letter, you will know that it is not E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M or N.

In the second group of circular letters you will find the letters “O”, P Q R “S”. Notice that the “O” is the same as a capital “O”, the “P” has one horizontal line in it (vs. the “B” which has two), the “Q” has a tail much like the roman “Q”, the “R’s” major feature is taken from the bottom part of the capital “R” and it is a diagonal line through the middle of the frame and a small dot in the upper right hand portion of the circular frame, and the “S” has a visible dot inside that has two indiscernible swirls (like an S) attached to the S. The “S” has this unique shape so that it is easily recognized and learned visually and so that it can be differentiated tactilely from the “R”.

Only the letters A, B, C, D, O, P, Q, R and S have circular frames. “A” through “D” have an open frame, and “O” through “S” have a closed frame.

Please take a moment to explore the letters we have reviewed so far.

Now, if you come across a circular letter, you know that it is in either the “A” through “D” or “O” through “S” regions of the alphabet. Put differently, if you find a circular letter you know “what it is not” mainly, it is not in the “E” through “N” or “T” through “Z” regions of the alphabet.

We are now going to explore the letters T, U, V, W, X, Y and Z.

Okay, in the second set of square framed symbols, you will find “T” through “Z”. In all of these symbols, except for the “Y”, you can trace the capital roman letter somewhere in the symbol. Please take a moment to study its shape along with the others in the second group. After you have finished

Briefly,

T – T is a square frame with vertical line extending from the middle of the top of the frame across to the middle of the bottom of the frame. The capital letter T can be traced in this letter by incorporating the top part of the frame along with the inside vertical line. So if you are identifying a square framed letter with a vertical line that is in the middle of the frame, that is a T.

U - U is a square frame with diagonal line extending from the middle of the bottom of the frame to the middle of the right side of the frame. The capital letter U can be traced in this letter by incorporating the left, bottom and right parts of the frame along with the inside diagonal line. Note that the diagonal line inside has a jagged edge, and looks like stairs that ascend up to the right. So if you are identifying a square framed letter with a diagonal line that is in lower right hand corner that is a U. Some readers report successfully identifying this letter by feeling the shape of the open space inside the frame. By this method, if you feel a fair bit of open space inside the letter but cannot get into the bottom two corners, the letter is a V.

V - V is a square frame with a V inside of the frame. The capital letter V can be traced in this letter. Please note that the V in the inside of the frame starts at the middle of the bottom of the frame and extends to the middles of the right and left hand sides of the frame. So if you are identifying a square framed letter with a diagonal line that is in the lower right hand corner that is a V . Some readers report successfully identifying this letter by feeling the shape of the open space inside the frame.

The V is very similar to the K, in that they both have two lines that block access to corners.

W - The letter w is a square frame and has a small barb, or tail, on the inside of the bottom part of the frame. To trace the capital letter W in this symbol, trace from the top left hand corner to the bottom of the frame, across to the barb, up and down the barb, across to the right hand side and up to the right hand side of the frame to the top right corner. The letter W is similar to the letters M, G and J. They all have a barb on the inside of the frame.

X – X is a square frame and there is an X inside the frame. Readers report that they identify X because it is very busy inside. So when they find a letter that has a lot of something right in the middle they know it is an X.

Y – The letter Y has a square frame with two dots inside. One of the dots is in the top left hand corner, the other dot is in the top right hand corner.

Z - The letter Z is a square frame with diagonal line extending from the bottom left hand corner of the frame to the top right hand corner of the frame. The capital letter Z can be traced in this letter by incorporating the left side and right side of the frame and the inside diagonal line. The letter Z is very similar to the letter N and is most commonly confused with the letter N.

Please take a few moments to study the square letters as a whole.

Remember, if you come across a square letter, you know that it is in either the “E” through “N” or “T” through “Z” regions of the alphabet. Put differently, if you find a square letter you know “what it is not” mainly, it is not in the “A” through “D” or “O” through “S” regions of the alphabet. Obviously, the same is true for the round letters, if you are trying to identify a round letter, you know that it is one of the letters A, B, C, D, or O, P, Q, R or S. It is not any of the letters in either the “E” through “N” or “T” through “Z” regions of the alphabet.

Page 2

The symbols on this page represent the Numbers 0 & 1-9 as well as punctuation. The first two rows are numbers, the last three rows are punctuation.

The ELIA Frames® Numbers all have a house shaped frame. The frame looks like home plate on a baseball field.

Zero is an empty circular frame.

One has a small barb, or tail in the top of the frame. A number one can be traced using the barb and the right side of the frame.

The number two has two dots inside.

The number three has a barb on the right side of the frame. It looks like a three and the barb is located where the three would be on the clock.

The four has two lines inside, one extending from the top of the frame to the bottom, and one extending from the middle of this interior line to the left side of the frame. A number 4 can be traced using the interior lines and the upper left portion of the frame.

The number 5 has a horizontal line extending from the left side of the frame to the right side. A number 5 can be traced in this symbol and the line is positioned halfway between the top and bottom of the frame, as 5 is halfway to ten.

The number 6 has a barb in the bottom of the frame, right where one would find the number 6 on a clock.

The number seven has a diagonal line extending from the bottom left corner up to the top right portion of the frame.

The number 7 can be traced in this symbol using the line and the frame.

The number 8 has an X in the inside and the number 8 can be traced using this X and the outside frame.

The number 9 has a barb where one would find the number 9 on the clock.

Please take a moment to review these numbers. Note that there is an exercise at the end of the manual for practicing these letters and at the bottom of each page is the page number in the ELIA Frames ® Numbers.

Punctuation in ELIA is similar to the visual representation of standard punctuation without an exterior frame. It is important to remember that punctuation and symbols do not have Frame shapes like the letters or numbers.

The period is a small single filled dot.

The comma is a small filled square shape with a small barb protruding from the bottom.

The question mark is an extreme curved line with a small filled square beneath the base of the character.

The exclamation point is a straight vertical line with a filled dot beneath the base of the character.

The hyphen or dash is a short horizontal line.

The plus symbol is a crosshair, or two intersecting line. The vertical section of the crosshairs is wider than the intersecting horizontal section.

The equal sign is two short horizontal lines parallel to each other. This can also be viewed as two parallel hyphens or dashes.

The quotation mark can best be described as two comma symbols placed one after the other. The opening quotation mark has small barbs protruding from the top of the filled square, while the closing quotation mark has small barbs protruding from bottom of the filled square.

The parentheses are slightly curved vertical lines. The opening parenthesis curves to the left, the closing parenthesis curves to the right.

The bracket is a vertical straight line with two barbs or corners at top and bottom parts of the line. The opening bracket has corners that turn to the right, the closing bracket has corners that turn to the left.

The slash is a straight line that runs in a diagonal direction compared to a vertical line. The line rises from the bottom left of the character to the top rights.

The dollar sign is similar to the visual representation for the standard symbol for US dollars (USD). The sign is composed of an extreme curved line, similar to the Roman letter “S”, with a vertical line running through the “S” portion.

The percent sign has three components: a slash or straight diagonal line surrounded by two circles. The diagonal line is rising from the bottom left to the top right of the character. One circle is to the left of the line, the other circle is to the right of the line.

Please take a moment to review the punctuation and symbols. It is important to remember that punctuation and symbols do have Frame shapes like the letters or numbers.

Page 3

ELIA Frame letters and numbers are presented at a smaller size.

The letters make up the first four rows, similar to the first page of the manual.

The fifth row are numbers 0 through 9.

The sixth row is the letter “E” presented in 12 different font sizes, going from left to right. This is to demonstrate that ELIA can be in any font size.

Page 4

The Alphabet was designed to be read systematically. On this page you will find ten letters - A, B, C, D, E and O, P, Q, R, and S, and exercises to help you practice these letters and your navigation skills.

While you practice these letters you should:

Feel the outside of the frame first, then the elements inside the frame. Then, decide which letters the symbol is not. Once you have thoroughly learned the alphabet, you will be able to recognize the letters quickly. But during this training section, you should take your time and use your deductive reasoning skills by first identifying whether the frame is circular or square.
Try to find a corner on the frame. If you cannot find a corner, it is a circular letter. If you can feel a corner, it is one of the square letters. Use this first step to eliminate one of the two groups of the alphabet.
Within the circle and square groups, eliminate additional letters from consideration. Then make an educated guess based on what you feel. You will become more certain of yourself with practice. Memorize the grouping of the circular letters A, B, C, D and O, P, Q, R, S. This will help you with the tasks described above.
Navigate the page using both of your index fingers. Your left finger should be on the last letter you read, the right finger should be on the letter you are currently reading. With this method of reading, the left finger is essential as a constant point of reference. You will not lose your place on the page when you need to back track across a word or line of texts, when you stray off one line of text, or when you need to take your hand off the page, because you will always be able go back to the finger that is on the last letter you read. Also, at the end of each line, you should leave your right finger at the line’s end, and trace back and down to the next line with your left index finger. Finally move your right index finger over to the beginning of the next line.
Remember to press down lightly when reading. Readers actually have greater tactile ability when they press as lightly as possible. Additionally, readers who press down hard get tired more quickly. Lastly, the manual will last longer if you press lightly.

Page 5

You will now learn some advanced tactile navigation skills and the letters F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M and N. Please place your hands on the top left hand part of the page and find the first letter.

Place your right hand index finger on this letter. Before you explore it in detail, please place your left hand index finger directly next to your right hand index finger. Also, have your middle fingers pointing out, in the same direction as your index fingers, rather than facing your palms. The right hand middle finger should be on the second letter on the page. The left hand index and middle fingers should be directly to the left of your right hand index finger.

Now, both your index fingers should be next to each other, with the right hand index finger on the first letter and the left hand index finger on the blank paper next to the letter. Feel the 1st letter with the fleshy part of your finger. Imagine putting your finger down as if someone were about to take your fingerprint. The middle of your fingerprint is the part of the finger you want to touch the letters with, not the tip of the finger. Please touch the letter and press down as lightly as possible. You will actually feel more sensation the lighter you touch. Conversely, you will feel much less sensation, get less information and will get tired more easily the harder you press down. Don’t press down. Keep your touch as light as possible.

The letters E through N are all square letters. Consequently, when you identify a letter as circular (A, B, C, D, O, P, Q, R or S) you should know that it is not any of these letters. Please feel for the differences in the letters, as some of them, such as the E, F and H, are similar to each other. After the first line on the page, where the letters E through N are found, are additional exercises on this page.

When you come to the end of a page, leave your right hand index finger on the end of that line, trace back and down to the next line with your left hand finger and then bring you right hand index finger to the left hand finger. Then begin reading the next line.

Page 6

Page six has two columns made up of six individual words presented in ELIA. These words combine circle and square ELIA Frame letters. Take some time to figure out each letter and. See if you can figure out what word is being presented.

Pages 7

On Page 7 you will find the final letters of the alphabet T through Z, which all have square borders.

At the end of the first line of letters, please stop. We are going to put your middle fingers to work scouting out the next text to read. Take you right hand middle finger and, without moving your right hand index finger, explore as far as your can to the right. We call this “scissoring” or “scouting.” If you want to be a fast reader, you will learn to do this, allowing your middle fingers to scout out the letters to be read as well as where the lines of text start and end.

So you know from your right middle finger that there are no other letters on this line. Leave your right hand exactly where it is and trace back with your left hand index and middle fingers until you get to the A. From the A, scout out with the left middle finger to make sure you are at the beginning of the line and then drop your left index finger straight down the page to the start of the next line.

Once you have found the first letter on the second line, feel the outside of its frame and then the inside. You will find it is a T. Please navigate this letter and the rest of the letters on this page using your fingers as a team. Proceed through the rest of the instruction manual using these skills and identify the letters on the page.

Remember to:

Navigate the page using both of your hands as a team.
Press down lightly when reading. Feel the outside of the frame first, then the elements inside the frame. Decide which letters the symbol is not. Use you deductive reasoning skills.
Feel the outside of the letter first and try to find a corner on the frame. If you cannot find a corner, it is a circular letter. If you can, it is one of the square letters. Use this first step to eliminate one of the two groups of the alphabet.
Within the circle and square groups, eliminate additional letters from consideration. Then make an educated guess based on what you feel. You will become more certain of yourself with practice. Memorize the grouping of the letters A, B , C ,D ,O ,P ,Q ,R , S. This will help you with the tasks described above.

Pages 8 - 12

There are various practice sentences with letters and punctuation on pages 8 through 12. Take some time to figure out the letter and word combinations to complete each sentence. Once you complete the sentence, try it again to make sure you have the meaning. Remember that punctuation and symbols do not have exterior frames.

Page 13

This page is an exercise in practicing individual numbers. The first row is the numbers 0 through 9. The other rows are randomized numbers. Give the exercise a try and see if you can identify all of the characters.

Page 14

This page is an exercise in practicing letters and numbers. Both upper and lowercase letters are presented. An uppercase letter is indicated by a dot directly above the top of the exterior frame.

Give the exercise a try and see if you can identify all of the characters.

Appendix A – Pointers and Common Mistakes

Now that you have been exposed to all the symbols of the ELIA Frames® Tactile System, we will discuss learning the alphabet and give you an overview of the common mistakes learners make, how to avoid them and how to improve your skills.

It should be noted that every student will misidentify some letters when learning this alphabet. Fortunately, the alphabet was designed so that you will learn from these mistakes, make fewer of them and improve rapidly. We encourage you to take your time when identifying letters. When you are trying to identify a letter that is difficult, if you can eliminate certain letters from consideration and narrow down your choices, you will be left with only a few letter choices from which to make an educated guess. Go through the entire alphabet one letter at a time and assign each with a yes, no or maybe. Then take the yes and maybes and guess. You may make a mistake. Nevertheless, your educated guesses will improve and you will become more certain of your choices, until there is no guesswork involved in your decisions.

We also encourage you to memorize how the ELIA Frames® letters are divided. If you simply repeat to yourself “A, B, C, D, O, P, Q, R, S,” you can use that information to rapidly narrow down your choices between the circular and square letters. If a letter is circular, it is one of these nine letters and you can consider only these letters. If the letter has a square frame, you can eliminate these letters from consideration. We will repeat this point frequently, as the sooner students memorize this, the faster they will progress.

Reading the ELIA Frames® Alphabet, students make three distinct types of errors. They either misidentify the elements inside the frames, they misidentify the outside frame itself - identifying the frame as a circle when it is a square, or visa versa – or they incorrectly identify both the inside and outside of the frame. The first error becomes less common with practice. The frame misidentification error can be overcome by feeling the outside of each frame; specifically by feeling for a corner. If the reader can feel a corner on the frame, they know that letter is one of the 17 square letters (E through N or T through Z) and can proceed to the inside of the frame to identify the interior elements of the letters. Then make a choice. The last type of error, where both the inside and outside of the frame are misidentified occurs because the student has not memorized the alphabet yet. Additionally, all three error types can occur when the letters are too small for the reader. This manual was designed to help you avoid the most common mistakes.

The Most Common Errors

If a person correctly identifies the outside of the frame, the 10 most commonly confused letter groups are 1) B and C; 2) E, F and H; 3) I, M and W; 4) N and Z, 5) Q for O; 6) P and R; 7) U and V;8) U and L, 9) V and H; and 10) Y and F. If a person incorrectly identifies the frame and correctly identifies the interior elements of the letter, then the five most common errors are 1) D and T, 2) E and P, 3) I and S; 4) L and O, 5) N and R. Again, students misidentify both inside and outside parts of the letters when letters are too small for the reader to physically feel or if they have skipped some of the practice exercises in this manual. We encourage you to watch out for the above errors and use this manual to practice identifying those letter combinations you find most difficult.

It should be noted that the exercises in this manual should be reviewed any time that a student finds himself / herself incorrectly identifying certain letters. Also use it to increase reading speed.

Appendix B - ELIA Positioning and Finger Movement

Starting Position Four fingers. Index fingers moving letter by letter to the right

End of Page: Moving Left to Right. Index fingers moving letter by letter to the right to end of page.

End of Page: Track back with left fingers. Right fingers static.

Left Fingers Tracking Back: Fingers track back with Left middle finger reaching until end of line. Right hand static.

Left Fingers Drop to Next Line: Right fingers follow to return to starting position on next line.

Starting Position on Next Line: Right fingers return to starting position on next line. Proceed to next position.