Lessons and materials

Creating Literacy Skills Kits to Target the Expanded Core Curriculum

Series of skill kits using children’s books, props, comprehension questions, and follow-up activities designed to target specific ECC skills for young children with visual impairments

By Lisa Pruner and Catherine Summ
CT DORS- Bureau of Education and Services for the Blind
Most TVIs are familiar with the concept of story kits, in which real objects become “pictures” to illustrate a book for our students who are visually impaired. Drawing on our experiences using story kits, as well as our experiences using literacy kits with our own children, we have created a series of kits using children’s books, props, reading comprehension questions, and follow-up activities designed to target specific Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC) skills for young children with visual impairments.


Each kit includes:
  • Two copies of a carefully-selected child’s book targeting a specific ECC skill – one print and one print/braille.
  • A selection of comprehension questions related to the story and appropriate for several levels of learners. 
  • A selection of follow-up activities related to the ECC skills targeted in the story. 
  • Props related to the story to explore, manipulate and use in follow-up activities.
  • A notebook containing the questions and follow-up activities in both print and braille, braille and bold-lined paper for reflection on the kits/activities by students/parent/teacher and a pencil case containing crayons, bold markers, and soft pencils for completing the reflections


These kits are simple and so much fun to create that we hope to inspire others to create their own targeting skills appropriate for their own students. Below are the kits we have created to date.
Kit with wallet, coins, bus passes, and talking calculator
Alexander, Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday
by Judith Viorst

Alexander (the same one who had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day) can’t seem to save any money in this sweet, funny story. Kit includes several types of wallets/change purses, Metro Cards and old bus tokens, a talking calculator, and lots of change for counting and sorting. 

Kit with shirt, shoes, gloves, belt, and socks
Froggy Gets Dressed
by Jonathan London
The classic story of Froggy and his struggles getting dressed appropriately to go outside. Kit includes articles of clothing which use many different types of fasteners, as well as related questions and activities.
Kit with a cell phone, cordless phone, and a cord phone
Toni’s Topsy-Turvy Telephone Day
by Laura Ljungkvist
Toni tries to invite a few friends to a party, but when her phone message isn’t clear, things get confusing very quickly. This kit includes variety of telephones to explore, as well as suggestions for ways to improve phone skills, both for pleasure and for safety/911 skills.
Kit with note cards, paper, and tactile stickers for writing thank-you notes.Madeline Says Merci: The Always-Be-Polite Book
by John Bemelmans Marciano
This delightful book emphasizes the importance of good manners in a pleasant, kid-friendly story. Kit includes note cards, paper, tactile stickers, etc… for writing thank-you notes.

Kit with rolling pins, Play Doh, pie pans, and kitchen timer.

Easy As Apple Pie: A Harry and Emily Adventure
by Karen Gray Ruelle
An easy to read chapter book about a brother and sister making apple pie with Grandpa. Suggested activities include sorting apples, going on an apple picking trip, and, of course, making apple pie. Kit includes a recipe for apple pie, measuring tools, rolling pins, Play- Doh, talking timer, and pie plates.

Kit includes oven mitts, placemat, can opener, spatulas, pancake flipper, plate and silverware

Do Not Feed the Table
by Dee Lillegard
A collection of poems about kitchen appliances, furniture and tools found in the kitchen. The literacy bag includes a print and braille copy of the book, questions for discussion, and ideas for extended literacy activities. A variety of kitchen related items are included in the bag: oven mitts, placemat, rolling pin, ice cube tray, potato masher, can opener, spatulas, pancake flipper, plate and silverware and more…
Kit includes a loofah, rubber duckies, hand sanitizer, and a back scrubber
Squeaky Clean
by Simon Puttock
A story about three little pigs who are initially resistant to the idea of bathing, but eventually realize that getting clean can be a lot of fun. The literacy bag includes a print and braille copy of the book, questions related to the book, and extended literacy activities, including a recip
e to make your own bubble bath. Manipulatives include bath scrubbers, a variety of rubber duckies, washcloths and hand sanitizer.
Kit includes magnetic grocery list, car keys, and boxed food
Bebe Goes Shopping by Susan Middleton Elya
Put it on the List by Kristen Darbyshire
Two stories that take a humorous approach to grocery shopping. This kit includes a variety of packaged food items, a magnetic grocery list, car keys, change purse and tactile watch.
Kit includes telescope, ladle, gourds, and a cotton boll
Zoo in the Sky by Jacqueline Mitton
Follow the Drinking Gourd by Jeanette Winter
Two stories about the constellation system, with Drinking Gourd also addressing the concept of slavery in America. This kit includes an astronomy craft, a book on CD, a telescope, gourds, a ladle, and a cotton boll.
Kit includes a fireman's hat, fire extinguisher, a dragon doll, and a fire hose
No Dragons for Tea – Fire Safety for Kids (and Dragons)
by Jean E. Pendziwol
A rhyming story about a little boy whose dragon friend accidentally sets fire to the house and the fire fighters who help them. This kit includes a functioning smoke detector, a fire extinguisher, an adorable stuffed dragon, and a real section of fire hose complete with couplings assembled just for us by Bridgeport fire fighters. 
Kit includes a a helmet, chaps, a bit and a bridle
We Go in a Circle by Peggy Perry Anderson & The Perfect Pony by Corrine Demas & Hush Little Horsie by Jane Yolen are a collection of horse-themed stories for a variety of reading levels. This kit features a list of therapeutic riding programs in Connecticut, a glossary of horse terms and a collection of horse-related props including a helmet, chaps, a bit and a bridle for young equine enthusiasts to explore.
Collage with gardening skill kit, cooking skill kit, and bathing skill kit