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Nonfiction Conventions: Braille and Large Print

Tips to introduce nonfiction conventions, such as Table of Contents, Glossary, etc.

I am the mother of a sweet and busy third grade boy named Liam. He is deafblind and a braille reader. I have been wanting to create a book for awhile now where the objective was to focus on the conventions of a nonfiction book. I wanted the conventions to be accessible to him and at his level. The “conventions” would include things that such as: Table of Contents, Glossary, page numbers, title, photographs/pictures, diagrams and labels. The books I created are simple and can be used as great first examples of those features. I was given the opportunity to create such a book when I volunteered to make a braille and large print book; both books would be about beavers (this was my first attempt at a large print book since my son is a braille reader). The books will be used for a “very cool” community project/activity for our local children with vision impairments that my son will be attending.

  • Objective One:


    • The child will be able to locate and describe the following features of a nonfiction text: Table of Contents, Glossary, page numbers, title, photographs/pictures, diagrams and labels. 
  • Objective Two:


    • The child will be able to describe features, habitat and basic needs of a beaver.    

Table of Contents: 

Have a discussion about where the Table of Contents can be found and its purpose.  Take turns finding specific pages in the book described in the Table of Contents.

Table of contents with braille labels
a large print table of contents



Have a discussion about where the Glossary can be found and its purpose.  In the braille book I added tactile ‘bullets’ to mark each new word, I also added a ‘bullet’ on the tab of the side of the book for easy identification of the glossary.

a glossary page with braille and print
a glossary page in large print format


Page Number:  

Locate all of the page numbers.  Note how they are in the same location on every page.

a page with braille text featuring a page number in the lower right corner
a large print page with a page number on the lower right corner



Locate the title of the book.

the cover a book with the title Beaver in print and braille
cover a book with a picture of a beaver and the title Beavers



Have a discussion about photographs and pictures.  Explore the tactile graphics in the braille book (or explore the enlarged pictures in the large print book).

a bunch of twigs arranged in the shape of a beaver dam with a braille and print text above it
a black and white picture of a a beaver dam with large print text above it



Describe the purpose for labels.  Explore the labels on the picture of the beaver. Trail the tactile lines to find the labels and what they are ‘pointing’ to.

a plush beaver tail with parts labeled in braille
a black and white drawing of a beaver with large print labels

A family friend who is a taxidermist generously donated some small animals and hides for me to use with my books for Liam. One of those animals happens to be a beaver!

a small beaver

Additional examples of conventions you could add to your nonfiction book or discussion:

  • captions
  • diagram
  • author
  • index
  • graphs
  • charts
  • bold print
Nonfiction collage

Uno braille playing cards with large print
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