Paths to Literacy

for students who are blind or visually impaired

Shared Reading Activity

Mom and little girl share a book with print and braille

Create an easy reading book with print and braille to share the love of reading with your child or student. Easily adapt a print "Shared Reading" book to make reading time together fun and less stressful! The sighted guide (parent/teacher) reads the sentence until you reach a word or phrase you've added a braille label for, then the student finishes it. It's a great way to promote literacy among early or struggling readers by boosting confidence with common words.

The book shown in the video and pictures is "Fancy Nancy Apples Galore!" It's a great "pick" for Fall!


  • Your Choice of Print Book from the "My First I Can Read Series" by HarperCollins Publishers, or any early reader book in print
  • Sticker Paper & Brailler, or Braille Labeler


First, read through the entire book one time so you're familiar with the story's context, language and keywords. Next, decide which words you will add braille labels for on each page. Try choosing words that are in the middle or at the end of a sentence so you are reading the beginning of the sentence each time. Also think about which words the student may already be familiar with, whether having practiced reading them before or exposed to a concrete object in his/her environment. (For example, I chose to add labels for the word "apple" because it repeated throughout the text and the student is very familiar with an apple in general.)

Next, make braille labels for each word you've chosen for the student to read and place them on the page near the print word. Be sure not to cover the print word though so the sighted reader can read the word as well.

Finally, discuss the idea for how the shared reading activity will work with the child by describing how you will read part of the sentence, then he/she will read the word(s) when you pause. 

You'll often find that the child is much more eager to read when you share the book and he/she is not overwhelmed by having to read every word in the book!

Here's a short video of Hillary (mom) & Madilyn (10 yo, blind) reading "Fancy Nancy Apples Galore!" together for the very first time! The actiivty was part of an "apple" themed lesson for Fall listed on the Sensory Sun Blog!


  • Highlight words to be read by students who read print.
  • Record the story using a mobile device or computer, pausing for some time at the words the student will read to create a more independent activity.
  • Add more words for the child reads as he/she becomes more fluent and familiar with the story.

shared reading activity collage


Common Core and Braille Standards

Foundational Skills: 

RF.K.1a Follow words from left to right, top to bottom, and page by page.
RF.K.4 Read emergent-reader texts with purpose and understanding.

Kindergarten - Word Analysis, Fluency, and Systematic Vocabulary Development : 

K.1.3 Understand that brailled materials provide information.
K.1.3a Understand the difference between braille and print.
Posted on October 6, 2015
Updated on: February 23, 2022