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After Hours Book-Making with Tactile Book Builder Kit

Speech Therapists and Teachers of the Visually Impaired teamed up to create tactile books for students who are blind or visually impaired, included those with multiple disabilities. Includes planning sheet with objectives, materials, and labels.

As TVIs, therapists, special educators or family members, we never have enough time to create all of the books that we want to.  Happily APH came out with a cool new product called Tactile Book Builder Kit and I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT!  This kit makes life so much easier! There are ready-made book binders, card stock pages, and so much more in the kit. The time spent binding has now been reduced.  In some cases I may still choose to do a special binding, but at least now it’s a choice.

I ordered several of these kits and met with 4 speech therapists and their supervisor, as well as the other TVI I work with. I reviewed the items in the kit, the amazing guide book that comes with it, and some handouts from previous sessions I’ve done, as well as a planning sheet I created to help plan out the book. Then I felt like Oprah and said, “You get a kit! And you get a kit!” All laughing aside, everyone was thrilled to get a kit and couldn’t wait to get started.

Starting with Planning Sheets

With any creation of materials, it’s important to begin by identifying the objectives and looking at which activities will support addressing those objectives.  We used these planning sheets to help us get started.  This example of “Starting the Day” is for a bilngual student, so we included both the English and the Spanish text that will be used in the book.

Starting the Day planning sheet
Download the “Starting the Day” planning sheet
Blank Book Making Planning Sheet
Download the Book-Making Planning Worksheet in Word format

Setting Up an After Hours Book-Making Party

Trying to figure out how to make time to create these books can be the tricky part. We all agreed to meet at my house, as my garage is filled with tubs and tubs and tubs of materials, each in its own Ziploc bag. The first “party” was at my home.

Reviewing planning sheet and mapping out tactile book
Reviewing planning sheet
Planning a tactile book
Discussing plans for tactile book

We’ve now had two with plans for more in the fall. One of the speech therapists that I co-treat one day a week with, took my original planning sheet and adapted it so it was more user friendly. I was THRILLED to see how she changed my sheet and loved that she did it! There were lots of great conversations that evening with ideas being bounced off each other. Some ideas triggered other ideas. The excitement was building by the minute. 

No one finished their books the first night. Lots of materials were taken from my tubs as they went home to work on what we started. The second night, not as many showed, but more books were worked on and ideas floated about. 

Shape Book Made by Speech Therapist

The speech therapist made this shape book for a student we co-treat and shared it with me before introducing it to the student.  She made each page progressively more complex and we created braille word cards saying “same” and “different” for him to use to use with each page.  The book focuses on circles and triangles, and with examples of some of his preferred food items of those shapes.

Yellow circle on page 1 of Shape Book
Yellow circle on page 1 of Shape Book
Shape Book page with two yellow triangles
Shape Book page with two yellow triangles
Red triangles in Shape Book
Three red triangles in Shape Book: top and bottom are same
Three triangle-shaped food items: pizza, half of sandwich, and pie
Three triangle-shaped food items: pizza, half of sandwich, and pie
3 round food items: hamburger bun, cookie, cracker
3 round food items: hamburger bun, cookie, cracker
6 round items, with 5 made of metal (bottle caps, washer)
6 round items, with 5 made of metal (bottle caps, washer)

After trying it with our student, we observed some minor changes that need to occur and she will tweak the book a bit. This happens when making most books though: the students become our editors and basically tell us through their actions what works and what doesn’t. 

Collage of After Hours Book-Making

Colored illustration of animals with alphabet letters A, B, C, D
Activity and strategy

Alphabet Objects


Ideas for Teaching Tracking and other Tactile Skills

Standardized tactile symbol for washing dishes
Tips and guides

A Standard Tactile Symbol System: Graphic Language for Individuals who are Blind and Unable to Learn Braille