Paths to Literacy

for students who are blind or visually impaired

Reading Aloud to Children with Visual Impairment

A young girl examines a pop-up illustration of an alligator nose in a picture book

Compiled by Dr. Tina Herzberg of the University of South Carolina Upstate from a hand-out developed by Gallaudet University and Instructional Strategies for Braille Literacy, edited by Wormsley & D’Andrea


Reading aloud to a child can be a lot of fun! It also familiarizes the child with the language of books and helps develop vocabulary. If your child is visually impaired, here are just a couple of tips that may enrich the experience for you and your child.

  1. Spend time talking about the book before beginning.
  2. Talk about words and concepts in the book that your child might not be familiar with.
  3. Help the child relate the story to their previous experiences.
  4. Briefly describe what is happening in the pictures.
  5. Let your child guide you through the story.
    • For infants and toddlers, it may be showing them how to hold a book and turn the page. It may be easier to begin with board books or twin vision books.
    • For pre-schoolers, this may mean letting them turn the pages as you briefly describe the pictures and read the story. For their favorite books, encourage them to “read” or tell you about familiar parts of the book.
  6. Act out or retell the story together after you have read it.
  7. Read the story over and over if your child asks.
  8. Most importantly, have fun together!

Collage of reading aloud to children with a visual impairment


This article was originally posted on the BrailleSC website, which was funded by a grant from the US Department of Education with support from the University of South Carolina Upstate and The Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities.


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