Tactile Book Project for You and Your Child

By Nancy Doyle, Teacher of the Visually Impaired

What are tactile experience books?

Tactile experience books are a collection of objects or artifacts that your child encounters during an event. The objects that are collected are later fastened to a sturdy cardboard page along with print/braille text in a binder to form a book. The book will enable your child to re-live the event and begin understand the sequence of objects and text.

Who should make these books?

Tactile experience books are a great idea for all children. They can be used to encourage independent reading, to improve daily living skills, or to help children make sense of the world around them. They are a way to connect objects and words in books to their personal experiences. They are appropriate for children who are blind or have low vision and are developing tactile discrimination skills.

How do you make tactile experience books?

Plan an experience with your child. It could be a trip to the store, to the park, to the beach, to grandma’s, or anywhere you like. Talk with your child about what is going to happen and that you will be collecting objects to put into a book about the experience. Invite other family members to join the fun. Perhaps a brother, sister, or cousin would like to help find objects. While on your shared adventure, encourage your child to look for artifacts for the book. For example, if you go to the park help your child find some leaves, stones, twigs and save them in a bag. When you get home you can start to put your book together. Your book can have as many objects as you like.

What materials do you need?

Try to keep things simple. You will need a loose-leaf binder, a hole punch, card board, baggies, staples, tape, and glue.

How do you put the book together?

This is a great opportunity for a shared craft activity. Things might get a little messy, but messy can also be fun. Have your child, and anyone else who wants to join you, help choose which objects come first. Fasten 1 found object at a time to a piece of cardboard. If the object is too difficult to fasten with glue, staples, or tape you might be able to put the object into a small baggie and then fasten the baggie to the cardboard. You will want to add some text to each page (print/braille according to your child’s needs). You can then put the pages into a loose-leaf binder or you can fasten the pages with rings or pipe cleaners.

Tactile Daily Living Skills Books

What is a tactile daily living skills book?

A tactile daily living skills book is similar to a tactile experience book because it uses objects and text/braille in a book format that a child who is blind or has low vision can read and use to remember steps taken to complete a task, such as brushing teeth, getting dressed, or washing hands.  The objects used in these books are usually chosen by an adult and are real objects, or as close to real as possible, directly related to the activity.

How do you make a daily living skills book?

Chose an activity that you would like your child to start to become more independent at. Let’s use hand washing as an example.

What objects should you use?

It’s best to use real objects or parts of real objects that are used during the actual activity. For example, for a book about hand washing you might use a ceramic tile, a small bar of soap, a small towel or a piece of a towel, and a small bottle of hand lotion. It’s not always possible to find a real object to represent an action however, in which case you may have to get creative. For example, it is difficult to find an object that will represent water so I used a letter W and the text/braille word “water” instead of a real object.

How do I put the book together?

The objects should be attached, one object per page, to a sturdy board. Each page will represent 1 step in the activity. For example

  • step 1: ceramic tile and the text/braille would read “go to the bathroom”.
  • step 2: raised letter “W” and the text/braille would read “wet your hands”
  • step 3; small bar of soap and the text/braille would read “put soap on your hands and rub them together”
  • step 4; raised letter “W” and the text/braille would read “wet your hands”
  • step 5; small towel and the text/braille would read “dry your hands”
  • step 6; small bottle of lotion and the text/braille would read “put lotion on your hands “

When should I read this book?

You can read this book with your child any time but ideally, you would read it during the activity, reading each page as you do each step.

Here is a sample book

I made this book for a class at our school about going on a shopping trip to buy ice cream.

  • Cover- a small shopping bag with the title “Going Shopping” in print and braille.
  • Page 1- 3 small tiles are used to identify the classroom with the words “We left the classroom” in print and braille
  • Page 2- a small shopping bag and the words “We went to the store.” In print and braille.
  • Page 3- a Popsicle stick and the words “We found the ice cream.”
  • Page 4- 4 coins and the words “We paid for the ice cream.” In print and braille.
  • Page 5- the same 3 small tiles I used on page 1 to identify the classroom and the works “We went back to the classroom.” In print and braille.

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