Paths to Literacy

for students who are blind or visually impaired

Modifying books for children with CVI

Cover of Mouse Mess

There are many different ways to modify books for children who are blind or visually impaired to make them both more meaningful and more accessible.  For children with Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI), picture books are often too visually cluttered and it may be difficult for the child to pick out the important information on a  page. 



Decrease visual clutter

1.  The first step in adapting the pictures is decrease the visual clutter.  Simplify a picture by choosing the key element of the picture and blocking out or deleting the background.  For example, the book Mouse Mess by Linnia Riley is popular with many young readers, but is very busy visually. 

Oreo cookiesThe visual clutter can be reduced by selecting a key item (such as Oreo cookies) and putting them on a contrasting background. 




Use child's preferred color

2. You can also use the child's preferred color (often red or yellow for children with CVI, although it may be any color) to outline key details or to highlight a picture.


Increase contrast with background

3. Increase the contrast with the background.


Use familiar items

4. Children who have not had much experience with picture books may benefit from books created using pictures of familiar items, pairing them with the actual object

For other ideas, see also Beginning Books for Children with CVI.  Let us know what your ideas are!

cvi books collage



Way to make your own books

Posted by Faye Gonzalez

Posted on February 11, 2013
Updated on: February 7, 2018

Previous comments for Modifying books for children with CVI

Faye Gonzalez commented on February 21, 2013

I often use PowerPoint as an easy way to modify books for kids with CVI. It is easy to use your own pictures or pictures found on the web that have better contrast and are simpler. Also, you can easily change the text size within PowerPoint, another problem with typical books for kids with CVI. Then, when you print out the book, you can print it very large (one slide per page) or smaller (two slides per page) depending on student need. If you are ambitious, you can record your voice reading the text into each page. And, with the option to save a PowerPoint as a PDF it is easy to share with others, and with Smart-boards you can view the book with a group of students. I often will make a book in PowerPoint based on an original book, then use the same pictures to do a "re-write", where the students rewrite the words for each page. The re-write could be done using their AAC devices, or using a sentence frame. That way you get lots of educational mileage and multiple books out of the time you invested into one set of photographs.