Sharing Books with Blind and Partially Sighted Children

Reading to blind and partially sighted children is very important. Listening to your voice gives them a feel for the sounds and rhythms of language.

Which books should I choose?

Look for books with print that is easy to read: A plain, bold font and a high contrast of print and background, such as black print on a white page, is best. Try to find books with bold, simple illustrations and make sure the book doesn’t rely too much on pictures to tell the story. Start with books that have flaps, noises or textures.

Books with songs and rhymes help younger children learn language. They are lots of fun and a nice way to involve other family members too!

How can I make sure my child feels involved?

Have your child hold the book and turn the pages. Ask them lots of questions as you read and explain things they don’t understand. Relate things in the books to things the child is familiar with ('You’ve got a teddy too, don't you?').

Give your child their own bookshelf and let them to choose which books to read. Adding touchy-feely pictures or text stickers can help blind or partially sighted children find their favourite books. If using touch and feel books, remember to tell your child what they are about to feel so the textures do not come as a shock when touched!

Make it fun

There are lots of ways to make story time more fun for you and your child. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Try changing stories to fit with your child’s life or replace character names with family names
  • Get your child to say what will happen next or fill in missing words
  • Put your body into the position of the character in the story and let your child climb around you to get a ‘picture’ of what is happening
  • Add sound effects and use your voice playfully to show different character voices
  • Encourage your child to take on a character’s role and act out the story