Experience books are powerful tools to encourage conversation, build on literacy skills and support a love for literacy--especially for our children with vision impairments! An experience book is simply a book that is created about an experience. Books can be created for, with or by our students, depending on their level, as well as the learning objectives you have.
Below is an example of an experience book I created for my son Liam (a braille reader, who is deafblind). The experience he participated in was bowling. My learning goal was for him to have a book that he can share with his peers and family. I wanted it to be a book he would be proud and excited to share. I planned to use braille contractions that he was currently working on in school. I chose tactile graphics that were enjoyable, as well informative.
Experience Book Outcomes:
- Liam was able to use his book to share his bowling experience with friends, family and teachers at school.
- Liam was able to practice his new braille contractions in a way that was meaningful and motivating to him. He was confident in the subject matter; he became the 'expert' as it was his experience!
- He now has a better understanding about the game of bowling as he experienced it firsthand.
- The bowling experience book serves as a great memento of the fun event.
- Plastic soda pop lid and paper plate
- Puffy paint
- Small toy shoe that felt like the same material as the bowling shoes
- Small toy bowling pins (Liam was given the opportunity to compare the small toy pins to the larger life-sized pin.
- Print paired with braille labels.
- Blank chipboard book (I find mine on amazon.com)
Click "cc" for closed captions.
Liam: Mom find pop
Mom: oh he wants his pop
Liam: square pizza
Hannah: Yes, some pizza is square shaped
Liam: This is new pizza
Hannah: Yes, correct, new pizza
Liam: shoes off
Hannah: shoes on you help
Hannah: mom’s right here
Lauren: that’s a big pin!
Liam: I gave the pin to Toby’s mom
Hannah: Little pins here
Liam: where’s mom?
Liam had the experience:
- Eating pizza
- Getting bowling shoes on
- Pushing the bowling ball down the ramp
- Feeling the small toy bowling pins and feeling an actual 'life-sized' bowling pinChatting' with friends.
- I created the book for Liam.
- Liam was given an opportunity to explore the experience book. I always allow Liam to explore a new book before we discuss it and read it. I answer and respond to any questions or comments he has.
Liam: bowling pin
Liam: More bowling pins
Liam: More bowling pins
Liam: 1 pin
- We read the book together and reminisced about the experience. This is also a time where I will explore the tactile graphics with him and we will discuss what they represent.
- Liam's favorite part-sharing his experience book!
Grandma: What's this?
Liam: I bowled with mom.
Grandma: I like to bowl.
Liam: I like to bowl.
Liam: I like to eat pizza.
Grandma: You ate pizza? Good!
Liam: at the restaurant
Grandma: Restaurant pizza or bowling pizza?
Liam: Restaurant at bowling
Grandma: Yes, fun!
Liam: I like bowling.
- Students could dictate the words they want in their story and the teacher could write them for them.
- Students could create and also write the sentences themselves.
- The student could help in the process of collecting mementos from the experience to add to their book.