Paths to Literacy

for students who are blind or visually impaired

Object Symbols for Choice Making

Image of panda bear and turtle with books

This activity is designed for students with multiple disabilities who are non-readers.  An object is paired with each book, so that the student will begin to associate the two.  As the student begins to recognize the symbol, she can request a specific book title or song.




  • simple picture books (it's best to choose something that is easily represented by a real object)
  • small stuffed animals or toys to represent book
  • boxes or containers in solid colors, such as APH expandable calendar boxes


  1. Familiarize student to object by presenting it prior to each time the book is read.  This may take quite some time.
  2. Choose books that you know the child prefers.
  3. Present a choice of two objects and ask the student to select one.  This can be done through eye gaze, swipe or any intentional communication or movement.
  4. Read the story while showing the student the object.
  5. Put the object in the "finished" box to show that the story is over.
  6. Repeat.


  • Any type of container or solid background will work, including a basket or bookstand or box with good contrast.
  • Students with Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI) may prefer objects that are a particular color, such as red or yellow.  They may be more interested if the object is their preferred color.
Common Core and Braille Standards


RL.K.7 With prompting and support, describe the relationship between illustrations and the story in which they appear (e.g., what moment in a story an illustration depicts).

Information Text: 

RI.K.2 With prompting and support, identify the main topic and retell key details of a text.

Speaking and Listening: 

SL.K.5  Add drawings or other visual displays to descriptions as desired to provide additional detail.

Collage of object symbols

Posted on August 17, 2012
Updated on: December 20, 2018