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Story Boxes: Literacy Adaptations for Students Who Are Deafblind

Ideas and strategies for creating story boxes for students who are deafblind, visually impaired, or who have multiple disabilities

Collage of creating storyboxes for children who are deafblindAdaptations for a child who has a combined vision and hearing loss will depend on many factors, such as the amount of vision and hearing the child has, age, cognitive abilities, motor skills, and personal interests.  This post is the first of four parts presenting different aspects of literacy for students who are deafblind.  Many of these techniques or strategies can be used with children with multiple disabilities or visual impairment as well.  This particular blog focuses on Storyboxes.

A group of teachers in the Deafblind Program at Perkins School for the Blind presented an hour-long webinar on various aspects of literacy for children with deafblindness: Literacy Adaptations for Students Who Are Deafblind with Christa Hulburt, Ira Padhye, Megan Connaughton, and Marguerite Bilms.



Stay Tuned for more parts of Literacy Adaptations for Students Who Are Deafblind featuring:

  • CVI and Adaptations for Literacy
  • Adaptations for Total Deafblindness
  • Teaching Strategies for moving towards a more traditional approach to literacy


What is Literacy?

finger over braillechild writing

stack of booksbaby with glasses reading a book



Where to Start?

Learning Media Assessment (LMA) – Assessment for selecting the appropriate literacy media for students with visual impairments.  “Literacy media” refers to the way in which students access the general education curriculum.

Hierarchy of Communication

object -> picture of object -> Mayer-Johnson -> Formal Written Word” src=”” style=”width: 622px; height: 205px; margin: 5px 15px;” /></p>
<p class=concrete -> abstract” src=”” style=”width: 400px; height: 32px; margin: 5px 15px;” /></p>
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<h3 class= Story Boxes & Adaptations for Literacy

by Megan Connaughton, M.Ed

Story Box Overview

  • Pre-literacy
  • Concrete -> abstract concepts
  • Appropriate for students at different cognitive levels

very hungry caterpillarvery hungry caterpillar

  • How to create access for different learners

if y ou take a mouse to schoolif you take a mouse to school

child hugging stuffed cat

Why Use Story Boxes?

  • Interaction
  • Concrete examples
  • Develop various concepts
  • Fun and engaging!



  • Story boxes should be unique to the student
  • Age appropriate
  • Reflect the student’s interests

Concrete -> Abstract

  • Unique to student’s level of communication

blue bowl on table

  • Concrete: Real objects that are meaningful to the student

child sneaker

  • Abstract – Represents another meaning

Concept vs. Abstract

  • A student who is not yet an abstract thinker can still use abstract objects in a story box
  • Use to focus on concepts

red dot with red and green apples

For All Story Boxes

  • Consistency of words and labels

shoe vs. sneaker

  • Repeat Exposure

weekly schedule

  • Unique & engaging

child reading story book

How to Create a Story Box

Book Materials:

  • Paper (Black)
  • Lamination
  • Sheet Protectors
  • Hole Puncher
  • Rings



  • Scanner
  • Internet Search
  • Personal Camera
  • Draw it
  • Cut out of Book


  • Donation
  • Dollar Stores
  • Craft Stores
  • E-Bay


very hungry caterpiller

Remember … Have Fun!



Roman-Lantzy, C. (2007). Cortical Vision Impairment: An Approach to Assessment and Intervention. AFB Press.
Roman word bubbling words with a bubble line around the words
Apps and technology

Word Bubbling Tool for Teaching Students with CVI

Screen shot of a YouTube video showing the number 6 with touch math concepts
Lessons and materials

YouTube Learning Videos for Students with Visual Impairments

Cube counters stacked together.

Math Manipulatives