Skip to content

Tactile and Braille Adaptations of School Books – The National Geographic Learning Program

Discover how this caregiver adapted school reading materials for a child who is visually impaired.

The cover of a work book with the name

The “National Geographic Learning” is an English language program used in private schools in Brazil in their bilingual education system, from very young ages to adults.

As a caregiver of a child with Leber Congenital Amaurosis, I’ve been adapting materials for visually impaired kids since 2021. Now, we are getting at the school challenges, which means much more work and effort into the educational process.

Below we will see how the schoolbooks can be inclusive and catch the kid’s interest – and, of course, it is important that the teachers bring objects to the classroom, so the VI children can explore them in a more expressive way.

All the pictures are part of the adaptation of a single unit of the book. To keep the content organized, I decided to make one short book (around 15 pages) for each chapter. This one is going to be used by a 4-year-old kid, who does not read yet, but is in the literacy process.

This is the cover of the book. Bigger braille was placed only for the child’s name.

The cover of a work book with the name "Henrique" on it in both print and braille

The opening of the chapter brings the vocabulary using images. Here, I’ve written in ink the name of the animals just as a reference for the teacher. Braille was added only where there was text written in the original book.

A page in a book that has the number six on it, the words "I see a bee" listed in both braille and print, a tactile image of an ant, and a tactile image of a caterpillar
A page of a book with tactile images of a bee, butterfly, and ladybug

In this activity, kids need to listen to a sentence and circle what is asked. The numbers are covered in hot glue to make them tactile.

A page with 3 lines and each line has 4 tactile images like: bee, bug, rock.

For the next activity, kids must identify the words that make the sound as in ‘rOck’, ‘sOcks’, ‘dOll’, and ‘bOx’.

A page of a book with a paper doll, rock, sock, leaf, and box taped to the paper

The 3-page activity below was adapted from a 1-page task. In the original, there were 27 very small animals (bee, ladybug and butterfly) spread around the sheet and the kids should find the one that they hear in the audio, count them and color. Here, I cut it into 3 parts (as there will be 3 audios to listen to). In each page I added other figures to challenge the identification of the correct ones.

A page filled with black and white simple drawings of 9 bees and 2 lady bugs
A page with simple drawings of 7 ladybugs and 1 leaf
A page with simple drawings of 9 butterflies and 2 leaves

In the below image, the kids must follow the number sequence to complete the drawing. I’ve thought about writing the numbers in braille, but it ended up being too much information for a little kid who doesn’t identify braille numbers yet, so instead, I opted to use tiny pearls. With the teacher’s help, the child will be able to connect one dot to the next one.

A drawing of half a butterfly, and then 10 small pearls that are numbered which outline the remaining shape of the butterfly

This shows a tactile flashcard of a butterfly’s life cycle.

A circle that is divided into four and each fourth is showing a different cycle of a butterfly's life. The first is a small ball that is on top of a felt leaf, the next shows three pompoms glued together to signify a caterpillar, next is a cocoon made from twine, and finally is a butterfly made from felt.

For the next activity, kids must draw their perceptions about an animal’s body transformation. This activity was also in one single page and is asking the children to identify what animals experience metamorphosis.

A tactile image of a cow's head and a snake's head
A tactile image of a butterfly and a bird
A tactile image of a ladybug and a dog's head

The last project is to create a metamorphosis, which will be made in a bigger paper.

To finish the unit, children are asked to tell how they feel about all the work. All the images have hot glue on the main information – the mouth, and the eyes in the angry face.

A piece of paper that says "Create a metamorphosis" and "How do you feel about the project?" in both braille and print. Also on the paper are 5 faces that show very happy, sad, angry, happy, and love

Besides knowing how much the 3-dimensional objects are extremely important during the learning in the classroom, I’ve noticed that having a good book to follow the directions given as the whole class is following increases the participation of the VI kid and their interest in the content.


Ideas for Teaching Tracking and other Tactile Skills

Page of experience book about popcorn
Tips and guides

Experience Stories for Functionally Blind Pre-Readers

A child using a cookie cutter
Tips and guides

Motor Activities To Encourage Pre-Braille Skills