I’ve been lucky enough to have met some really amazing people through Blindmotherhood.com. One of my readers, who happens to work for DK Publishing, was kind enough to send me a set of their newest non-fiction braille books. Although she did not request a blog post in response to her thoughtfulness, I felt I absolutely had to talk about this fabulous find with my readers. DK is a division of Penguin Random House UK. This newest series, “DK Braille”, is appropriate for ages 4 to 12 years old. Although I can personally tell you my 3 and 1-year-old love these books. The brain child of Senior Editor Fleur Star and Designer Jemma Westing, DK reached out to the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) for help creating these non-fiction masterpieces specifically with the needs of blind and visually impaired children in mind. With the help of Producer, Charlotte Oliver, DK was able to create these books combining both print and tactile images with braille.
Having only lost my vision in 2012, I have been doing Braille home distance courses intermittently over the past four years. Braille is not easy to learn. It takes patience and practice. My doctors and therapists have been urging me to continue with my coursework in preparation for when I do lose my remaining residual vision. Because my blindness is caused by a neurological condition, there is no way to clearly tell when that may occur.
Four Ways I’m Reading to My Kids Without Braille
1. Large Print: Large print books do exist, but titles are few and far between. The classic stories that we all grew up with are often difficult to find. The result is a limited selection that becomes boring for both reader and child.
2. Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) & Memory: I enlarge books on my CCTV and then attempt to memorize my daughters’ favorite stories. Most board books are very short and rhyme which makes them easy to memorize and repeat. When we get to the Harry Potter age I’m going to be screwed, but I will cross that bridge when I get to it.
3. Audio Books: I can utilize downloadable audio files and play them on my phone while I flip through a book with my girls. The only issue I’ve encountered with this method is occasionally the narrator of the story has an annoying voice which makes listening to the same file over and over again a rather torturous experience for this parent.
4. Make It Up: Yes, I make up the stories as I go along. Nuala, my three-year-old, can easily tell me what she sees in the pictures of her favorite story. I simply take what she says and let my imagination run wild. It might not be the most honest way of reading a book, but we’re still spending quality time together and she finds me relatively entertaining.
If this seems like a lot of work, trust me, it is. But the extra effort is worth it, considering it gives me the opportunity to snuggle on my recliner with my kids and spend quality mother-daughter time with them.
Pictured: Set of “5” DK Braille Books. Release Date April 5, 2016.
Books open the door to our imaginations. They teach our children phonetics, vocabulary and basic educational concepts like colors.
The thing that separates DK’s books from others you may have is the narrative of each story is told in both traditional print and Braille! This is great, especially for sighted people like my husband!
Not only can we share these books as parents using two different completely different modalities to read them, but we can reiterate and build upon the information presented in the text to help our children learn collaboratively.
As a mom, I want to nurture my children’s love of books. I want them to use each story as a catalyst to learn and explore.
DK Publishing just made this experience a little easier for blind parents and visually impaired children. Each of the 5 books in the series are available for purchase online at Barnes & Noble.com, Amazon.com or directly from DK Publishing on April 5, 2016.
Author’s Note: This is “Not” a solicited post. Books were received from a blindmotherhood subscriber. No request was made for a blog post about these publications. The author’s opinions are entirely her own in relation to her own experiences.