Tactile books are a great way to foster the development of literacy skills with any child who is visually impaired, including children with other significant disabilities. These can be used at home for enjoyment, to support understanding and anticipation of activities or as an independent leisure skill.
At school tactile books are a must for supporting literacy instruction, for use in developing concepts and honing sensory efficiency skills.
- Whenever possible, it is always a good idea to make the book with the child.
- Create the book based on the child’s level related to the type of tactile material the child will understand (i.e. if still using real objects, book should be made with real objects that have meaning to the child).
- If including text, compose the text with the child and/or get help from the speech-language therapist.
- If using pictures or tactile drawings, keep the graphic as simple as possible without losing meaning.
- Glue one object per page to begin with, and then increase the number of objects as skill level increases.
- Glue envelopes or Ziploc bags to pages or the back of book to hold items inside.
- Use textures the child tolerates.
- Use a progression in moving from the concrete to the abstract: start with solid objects, then go to raised line figures, then to embossed figures, and then braille figures.
- When using symbols, remain consistent in the way you make the symbol (so not to confuse the reader) – collaborate with speech therapist, classroom teacher, teacher of the deaf and hard of hearing, and/or the parent.
- When finishing the book…bind it with rings or in binder if you are planning on adding additional pages at a later date or reordering the pages once child is familiar with the order.
- Change the location of where book is bound (i.e. instead of left side, use top) to prepare child for other books bound differently.
- Tag the cover of the book with an object, large print, picture, or braille that is specific to the book to aid child in identifying the book.
- The cover should be either a different kind of paper or larger than the “text” pages. Card stock, poster board, braille paper, plastic are some examples of possible items to use for pages…depends on the need of the student and items being used
- Keep page numbering system consistent, for example, print page number top right, braille page number bottom right.
- For a child with CVI, color should drive the selection of objects, outline of pictures, or background page. For example, if you are using Boardmaker, outline the picture in the child’s preferred color: use the option of color or black and white.
- Books should be tactilely FUNCTIONAL, and may not be visually appealing. That is okay!
- Books should be loved, and therefore may have a short life span….much like “The Velveteen Rabbit.”
Creating Books Using Microsoft Word
- Student with low vision
- Student with little or no vision
- Educational team working with student (this includes the parent/guardian)
Import Boardmaker Pictures into a MS Word Document
- Open a Boardmaker template that has pictures about the size you want
- Place picture(s) on template
- Close symbol finder window
- Click on picture (so you get orange dotted box around symbol) you want
- Click on EDIT then CUT or COPY
- Open document you want picture in, find location where you want to place picture click on EDIT then PASTE
Insert Clipart or Pictures into an MS Word Document
- Open you Word document and draft the text of the book.
- Determine which visual images you want to illustrate the book.
- Find the text block for a specific image and place you cursor where you want the image to appear.
- Using the “Insert” tab on your toolbar, select “clipart”.
- When the Clip Art dialog box opens, enter a search term for the object you want to help you find an appropriate image.
- Click on the image you choose and it should appear in the appropriate place in your document.
- Click on the image, then go to the “Picture Tools – Format Picture” tab. Here you can adjust the size and alignment of the picture to suit your needs. You may also want to compress the image so that the file is not so large.
- You can use the same process with photos, except you choose “photo” under the “Insert” tab to add photos from your collection.
Creating Tactile Posters
Tactile posters are a nice way to create materials to:
- adapt currently used materials
- enhance the curricular materials
- expand on the concept/skill
- teach a new concept/skill
Tactile Poster Tips
- Use lots of glue!
- Keep areas open to secure to the wall (pins or staples)
- Try to keep the items light in weight (not always possible)
- No sharp objects
- Use a variety of realistic textures
- Here are some examples of materials made by Texas teachers at a workshop held at Region 4 Education Service Center in Houston that was presented during the summer of 2015 by Liz Eagan, TVI from Bastrop, TX.
- From yourself / colleagues / educational team
- Paths to Literacy http://www.pathstoliteracy.org/
- Pinterest https://www.pinterest.com/
- Craft stores
- Facebook posts
- Art supply stores
- Hobby Lobby
- Container Store
- Big Lots
- Dollar General
- Dollar stores
- Dollar Tree
- Family Tree
- Resale stores
- Hancock Fabrics
- Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores
- Ace Hardware
- Home Depot
- Office Max
- Crystal Teacher Supply
- Lakeshore Learning Store
- Southwest Teacher Supply
- Human Life Forms
- Art Teachers
- Student’s family
- Nature walks
- Yard / Garage Sales
- Amazon – www.amazon.com
- American Printing House for the Blind – www.aph.org
- Discount School Supply – www.DiscountSchoolSupply.com
- Oriental Trading Company, Inc. – www.orientaltrading.com
- Rhode Island Novelty – http://www.rinovelty.com/
- For stickers or shapes that can be made easily into stickers, put in labeled envelope
- Then store envelopes alphabetically in a filing cabinet for easy retrieval
- Place smaller pieces (i.e. beads) in plastic bags
- Store bags in a plastic tote, drawer, cabinet, etc.
- Organize however it makes sense to you
- Bohling, Terry (2003) Alphabet Help. http://www.tsbvi.edu/early-childhood/1924-alphabet-help
- Crawford, Jackie and others (1994). Please! Teach All of Me: Multisensory Activities for Preschoolers. Sopris West: Longmont, Colorado.
- Drezek, Wendy (2003). Move, Touch, Read! http://www.tsbvi.edu/early-childhood/1926-move-touch-read
- Drissel, Norma (1997). What is a Story Box? http://www.pathstoliteracy.org/storybox-ideas-norma-drissel
- Lewis, S and Tolla, J (2003). Creating and Using Tactile Experience Books for Young Children with Visual Impairments.
- Project Slate (2002). Ideas for Adapting Books. (For Parents) [No longer available online.]
- Smith, Millie and others (2002). Object Books. http://www.tsbvi.edu/component/content/article/1736-object-books
- Wright, Suzette (2008). Guide to Designing Tactile Illustrations for Children’s Books. https://sites.aph.org/files/research/illustrations/