Paths to Literacy

for students who are blind or visually impaired

Literacy Extension Activities for the Virtual KY Deafblind Derby Dash

We hope that you are planning to participate in the Kentucky Derby Dash Virtual 5K!  In case you haven't heard about it yet, this idea is sponsored by the Kentucky DeafBlind Project and is a fun way to get your whole family moving.  You can walk, run, crawl, wheel along, be pulled in a wagon or move anyway you want.  The idea is to just to GET MOVING during this time of stay-at-home activities and social distancing.  

There are LOTS of things that can be practiced through this race and the extension activities listed below.  In addition to movement, use those orientation & mobility skills to map and follow a route.  Learn some new signs to expand communication skills.  Work on literacy skills for learners at all levels, using any medium!  Make experience books, story boxes or experience bags, or digital books.  Write about the experience in print or braille.  Practice other skills from the Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC) by socializing with others (at a safe distance!) during the race, make a special snack to incorporate independent living skills.  The list is endless!  We hope you'll send pictures and let us know about your experience and any special activities you did.


In addition to joining in with the race itself, we also invite you to join in with the extension activities.  We have a whole schedule of events for the week:

  • Monday, May 18th:  What Is a Virtual Race?  How do you complete a virtual race?  All of your questions will be answered!
  • Tuesday, May 19th:  O & M and YOUR Race!  Getting around with your favorite O & M
  • Wednesday, May 20th:  Sign Language and Haptics:  Learn some race signs and haptics to use!
  • Thursday, May 21st:  Experience Books, Story Boxes, and Digital Books:  Ideas to document your event
  • Friday, May 22nd:  Celebrate!  Race Bib and Medal:  Get ready for Race Day!  Decorate your bib and make your medal!

Schedule of events leading up to the Kentucky Deafblind Derby Dash

There will be Facebook Live events every day at 1:00 p.m. Central on the Kentucky DeafBlind Project Facebook Page, so join in the fun!  Bring your questions and support!

The race itself will take place May 24-30.  Register here.  


Experience Bag/Box: 

You may place the artifacts in a backpack or drawstring bag that you took with you during the race.  You may also use a shopping bag, gift bag, or box.

  1. Find any bag/backpack or drawstring bag laying around your house.
  2. Walk throughout your house and find the objects with your child.
  3. Talk about each object, let your child feel and/or look at the object.
  4. Place objects one at a time in your bag, box, or backpack. 

Black bag Red gift bag White tray with handles

Video of Experience Bag

Transcript of Experience Bag Video


Create an Experience Book!

This is an experience that you and your child will want to remember and re-experience it over and over.  You can do this creating an experience book.  An experience book is a type of scrapbook, or memory book, that you and your child will read together and enjoy time and time. 

But there are additional benefits to creating an experience book. As you read the book, your child will retell the story to you encouraging vocabulary building and use of expressive language. Your discussions encourage the same vocabulary building with both expressive and receptive language.  

Gathering Artifacts

The process of making the Derby Dash Virtual 5K experience book can be simple and rewarding. You will gather artifacts from the beginning of the race  to the end. The artifacts will be objects that will tell the story of the experience. The artifacts that you collect to put into the experience book should be items that your child has come in contact with tactually. This allows for sensory connections that give meaning to your child.  

Suggestions for items to be included in your experience book include:

  • Sunscreen
  • Hat/sun visor
  • Sun glasses
  • Running shoes or shoe laces
  • Derby Dash race bib (template link)
  • Ribbon or chalk for the start and finish lines
  • Whistle
  • Posters or Signs that fans may have used to encourage your runner
  • Pom Poms
  • Water bottle
  • Snacks
  • Race medal (link for template)
  • Trophy
  • Certificate (link for template)
  • Items found along the race route

Once the items have been collected, you will then decide on a manner in which to display them. This may be in an experience book or it can be an alternative.  You may compile the objects into an experience bag or box. Another option would be to use a digital format.  

Making Your Experience Book: 

Use a three ring binder and sturdy pages.  

  1. The pages can be made from framing mats or picture backer boards. You can purchase packages of mat boards in a variety of colors. Some framing businesses will give you unused mat boards that have already been cut.
  2. Cardboard pages are durable. You can purchase DIY cardboard books and/or scrapbooks with cardboard pages.  
  3. Chipboard


  1. Plastic Pages
  2. Pegboard Books:  You may attach materials to pegboards with elastic to allow the child the ability to manipulate the materials. 


  1. Another suggestion would be to use commercial board books.  I purchased a board book from Goodwill for 0.99.  I painted the pages black with tempera paint.  You could also use low odor spray paint. After they were dry, I cut them apart and drilled holes in them so they could be added to a binder.  You can also drill holes in the pages to attach materials with elastic. 

Cover of Derby Dash Getting Ready to Race

On your mark, get set, GO!  Run, Run, Run

Run, run, run  Rest break, stop for water

Crossing the finish line  You are a WINNER!


Video of KY Deafblind Derby Dash Experience Book


The main thing to remember is to have fun making the experience book, bag or box with your child.  Enjoy looking back at the book with your child and reliving the memories of the Kentucky DeafBlind Derby Dash! On your mark..get set..go!

If you have questions or want to learn more about how to make an Experience Book, Story Box, or Digital Book, please go to the Kentucky DeafBlind Project FB Page on Thursday, May 21 at 1:00 p.m.!

Collage of literacy extension activities


Posted on May 14, 2020
Updated on: May 18, 2020