Paths to Literacy

for students who are blind or visually impaired

Getting books into the hands of my 3-year-old, deaf-blind son

My son became deafblind a year ago from Meningitis when he was 2 1/2 years old.  Before he became sick, one of his favorite things was to be read to and look at books.  I didn't want that to stop just because he lost his sight and hearing.  I have created many books for Liam that match his interests and encourage his love for reading.  Below are 4 examples of books that I have made for little Liam.  I always try to use REAL LIFE OBJECTS, not abstract, as often as I can. 
Star in shape bookShape book:
Textured shapes for pictures on each page with the Braille word for the shape under each 'picture'.  When my son 'reads' this book we trace the shape on the book and then create the shape with our finger in the air or on our hands.  
Textured heart in shape book


Counting book number 4 with ASLCounting book:
I create a 'flip book' with objects to count under the flap.  I put the Braille number on top of the flap the objects underneath it.  I also added the sign language picture for each number on the flap as well so whoever is reading the book with Liam will know how to sign the number to him as well. Counting 4 Q-tips


Face bookFace book:
On each page I added a new 'face part'.  For example, on the first page I added just a face.  I put the Braille word for face on the page.  When I would read it to Liam, I would have him feel the face, I would point to his face, and have him feel the Braille word for face.  The next page I would put a face on it and then add eyes.  I would repeat the pattern of him feeling the eyes on the page, feeling his own eyes, and then feeling the Braille word for eyes.


Liam likes puzzlesLiam likes book:
Up until now the books I have made for Liam have been one word books.  I always try to use REAL LIFE OBJECTS not abstract. This book, I used 3 word sentences.  All of the objects are words that Liam knows how to sign.       Liam likes brother
I wanted him to start correlating the sign language with the object in the book and then also to the word written in Braille.  I thought the best way to do that was to start with signs/words he already knew.
Liam likes Mommy and Daddy
I'm hoping that this will be a bridge to being able to read short story books to Liam as he learns more sign language.

Tip: If you also have a deaf/blind kiddo like Liam, it helps to add pictures of the words in sign language on the books so that people who are reading the book to your child will know the signs to use.  

tactile book collage



Great Books!!

Posted by Katie Armstrong

Sandy, this is awesome. You

Posted by Nancy Johnson

books for Liam

Posted by Irene Lee

Great way to spend time together!

Posted by Gigi

I love the book ideas,

Posted by Heather

Share your books!

Posted by Charlotte Cushman

Thanks for sharing the

Posted by Dipti Karnad

Create tactile books to give your child

Posted by Vesta

Posted on January 24, 2013
Updated on: January 25, 2018

Previous comments for Getting books into the hands of my 3-year-old, deaf-blind son

Vesta commented on April 25, 2017

Thank you for your good ideas

Dipti Karnad commented on February 10, 2013

Thanks for sharing the tactile books,great ideas,keep them coming!!!!

Charlotte@Perkins commented on February 6, 2013

If any of you creates a book for your child, please share it with us here on Paths to Literacy!  You can email us at with questions.  We love it that you all have such great ideas and we are so happy to share things on this site!

Heather commented on February 5, 2013

I love the book ideas, especially the face book. Just wonderful! I haven't made any books yet but am sure itching to do so. My son was born Deafblind, he's now 2 1/2 years old. I have a blog at ::Heather

Gigi commented on February 5, 2013

Love the books you created and can not thank you enough for sharing!

Irene Lee commented on January 30, 2013

Wow, thank you for sharing this great idea! Liam is a special little boy with an amazing, loving mom.

Nancy Johnson commented on January 29, 2013

Sandy, this is awesome. You are an amazing mom and Liam is lucky to have you in his life. These books will continue to spark his love of books and reading. Way to go, super mom!

Katie Armstrong commented on January 28, 2013

I just wanted to say that I love your book ideas!!  Keep up the good work that you are doing for your son, and of course keep sharing your ideas!!  Thank you.