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Activity and strategy

Story Boxes and Storyboards for Students with Multiple Disabilities

An overview of storyboxes and storyboards as literacy tools for students who are blind or visually impaired with additional disabilities, including deafblindness

Story Boxes

By Deirdre Walsh, Speech and Language Pathologist, Perkins School for the Blind

What is a Story Box?

Story boxes are a great way to enhance your child’s literacy experiences. A story box is a simple collection of objects that go along with the storyline. The objects act like pictures to a blind child. They can make a story become alive and interactive for those students, that don’t benefit from pictures.

How to Make a Story Box

Story boxes are easy to make using objects from your child’s toy boxes, or from your own household supplies. First, find a story your child likes. A good place to start is with early literacy books that are rhythmic and predictable (Eric Carle is a great resource). If you are unfamiliar with early literacy books, look at this reading list for ideas. Next find objects that correlate with the story. For example, if you are reading the book, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, you could include many of the objects the mouse finds along his travels, such as a glass, a straw, some cookies, a blanket for his nap…  Be creative. There is no right or wrong way to spice up a book! The only rule is to make it fun.

Book

 

In the story box for If you Give a Pig a Pancake, I included a stuffed pig, a camera, pretend food pancakes, shampoo, an envelope, a shoe, some tools and a glue stick.

 
 
 

 
 
 

 

Storyboards

Velcro board with plastic fruit and picture symbols of fruit.

What is a Storyboard?

Storyboards are a great way to enhance literacy experiences. A storyboard is a picture outline of the story. Kids with low vision, or young kids can benefit from the pictures and the story sequence. There are may ways you can use story boards. You can play matching games, you can create a different story with the same pictures and characters, or you can make a story interactive by passing different pictures or pasting them on a storyboard.
 

How can I make a storyboard?

First, find a story your child likes. A good place to start is with early literacy books that are rhythmic and predictable (Eric Carle is a great resource). Next find pictures that go along with the story. You could buy a second book and cut it up (this can be an expensive option) you could copy the pictures using a color copier, or you can scan the pictures of the book into your computer. (Speech pathologists love to use Mayer Johnson communication pictures). Be creative. There is no right or wrong way to spice up a book! The only rule is to make it fun.


Puppet of old lady with picture cards and objects of animals. 

What are those big buttons?

You may be wondering what those big buttons are. They are a single message voice output communication aid. On these BIGmack switches, I recorded a predictable line of the story so students who are non speaking can join in the story. For The Hungry Catepillar I recorded “Yumm Yumm yumm” and my student hit the switch at the end of every page. For There was an Old Lady, I recorded three different messages for three different students, “There was an old lady who”, ” I don’t know why she swallowed that fly”, and “I think she’ll cry, boo hoo.” These switches can be purchased through AbleNet, Adaptive Equipment.

In the story box for There Was an Old Lady, I included stuffed animals and an old lady puppet.

For more information about Story Boxes, see also Story Boxes by Norma Drissel.

 

 
Storyboxes collage

The materials in this section appeared on the e-advisor site, which was originally hosted by Boston Children’s Hospital.  

 

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