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Activity and strategy

Pancakes, Crackers, and Pizza: Story Box and More!

Tips to make early literacy book Pancakes, Crackers, and Pizza accessible to young children who are blind or visually impaired, using storybox, picture and tactile symbols

As part of the graduate coursework for Visual Impairments and Multiple Disabilities in the Teacher Preparation Program in Visual Impairments at the University of Kentucky, students were asked to complete four projects: Story Box, Picture Communication Symbols for Story Box, Tactile Communication Symbols, and Talking Book Project.
We are sharing them on Paths to Literacy and hope that others will use them!  Please add your comments at the bottom of the page.


Story Box

Cover of Pancakes, Crackers, and PizzaBook:  Pancakes, Crackers, and Pizza
Authors: Marjorie Eberts and Margaret Gisler
Illustrations: Stephen Hayes
“Pancakes, Crackers and Pizza” is a children’s book about Eddy, who loves to eat all kinds of food. The book describes certain foods Eddy likes and what shapes these foods have. For tactile objects for the storybox, I decided to include everyday cooking items normally found in a kitchen. These tactile objects will be easy for a child with visual impairments to handle, explore and compare. Basic background knowledge of simple cooking tool will be helpful and loving to eat will help too. 

Five strategies for implementing the Story Box:

  1. Read book to student(s) before showing items in box.
  2. While reading book, reveal items relating to each page for student(s) to explore before moving to next page.
  3. After reading book, ask student(s) the shape of certain items. Example can be letting student(s) examine frying pan then asking for the correct shape.
  4. Allow student(s) to freely examine tactile items and hold some of them before and during reading of book. 
  5. Ask student(s) during and after reading if they think of shapes (square, circle, triangle) while looking at everyday objects besides food. 

Tactile Objects include:

  • Pizza cutter, plate, oven mitt, eating utensils, spatula, ladle, frying pan, basic shapes, bowl, cup, pie plate, etc. 


Story Box – Picture Communication Symbols

Picture symbols for Pancake book Instead of recreating items from the actual Story Box, picture symbols for this activity mostly relate to general shapes, shapes of certain foods and some kitchen items. Food pictures were either directly taken from the story or randomly chosen. The activity is matching and answering general questions. The student (if able) will take the picture and match shapes of different foods to the corresponding shape on the board. Background knowledge needed consists of the shapes involved being circle, square and triangle. 
Possible ten questions:
  1. What shape is the pizza? (whole and slice)
  2. What shape is the cracker?
  3. What shape is the hamburger?
  4. What is the name of the room where you eat?
  5. What is the shape of a plate?
  6. Who helps prepare your food?
  7. What is the shape of an egg?
  8. What is the shape of a frying pan?
  9. What is the shape of a baking pan?
  10. What do you use to eat some of your food?

Story Box Tactile Communication Symbols

Tactile symbols for pancake book

The activity using the tactile communication symbols consists of asking the student to answer simple question such as those listed below. The symbols follow along with the food theme of the book, but not directly, such as breakfast, lunch, dinner, and eating utensils. Velcro has also been affixed to the back of each symbol, in order to have a matching game on the display board provided with the picture exchange symbols. Background information needed will be basic kitchen and food vocabulary.  
Ten possible questions:
  1. What is the name of the meal you eat in the morning?
  2. What is the name of the meal you eat in the afternoon?
  3. What is the name of the meal you eat in the evening?
  4. How does eating your favorite food make you feel?
  5. Where does you mom or dad fix your meals?
  6. What is another place you can eat a meal besides home?
  7. What happens in the kitchen?
  8. What do you use beside your hands to pick up your food?
  9. What do you use to cut your food?
  10. What is it you fry something in?

Talking Book Project

Some students may prefer to use a talking PowerPoint book to read along with the book, while listening to the audio version.

This talking book is based on Pancakes, Crackers and Pizza by Marjorie Eberts and Margaret Gisler.

Screenshot of Pancakes talking book



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