Getting braille, tactile and large print books into your library
ClearVision is a postal lending library of children's books designed to be shared by visually impaired and sighted children and adults. They lend books all across the UK and Ireland.
Their books all have braille, print and pictures. This allows children with little or no sight to share books with their sighted friends and family, and adult braille readers to enjoy stories with sighted children. There are over 14,000 books in the collection, catering for children from birth until they're independent readers.
Anybody in the UK or Ireland who needs children's books with both braille and print text is welcome to join the ClearVision library. The books are sent directly to your address and there is no postage to pay. Membership is free to families; organisations such as schools, libraries and sensory support services pay a heavily subsidised annual fee of £50.
If you're doing a special event for library visitors with sight impairment, or educating library staff, you can contact ClearVision for one of their free display loans with examples of their braille and tactile image books.
Contact ClearVision on 020 8789 9575 or [email protected].
Guide Dogs don't believe a vision impairment should stop any child from discovering the joy of reading. That's why CustomEyes Books in large print give them the chance to read a real book, just like everybody else.
From Dr Seuss to Shakespeare, from inspirational fiction to educational textbooks, they have over 4,200 large print books available – and counting. Each one is custom made, with font size, spacing, colour and more all tailored to the child's individual needs.
CustomEyes Books for a child with sight loss mean they can have exactly the same books as their friends and classmates. This not only helps them keep up at school, but they can share books with friends too.
If the child is not comfortable using a magnifier, or gets tired using a screen, they can pick up a real book and still enjoy reading and learning.
Becoming a CustomEyes Books member is easy and completely free. And thanks to a generous Guide Dogs subsidy, all large print books are available at the recommended retail price, regardless of format.
Contact them on 0345 1431000 or [email protected].
Storysacks are great for making popular storytime books come alive with ready-made objects, characters or puppets and normally a large-sized copy of the book included in a handy sack you can store away safely for when you need them.
Most library services have a few in stock, so do hunt around before you decide to buy some new ones.
Alternatively, you could even create your own - check out our guide to doing this here.
Other useful resources
This is a free service that helps children up to the age of four with sight loss to develop a broad range of skills through play in a group setting (both in-person and online). Being in a group means parents and carers will be able to meet people who are in a similar situation and share experiences with them. They can also pick up the skills and knowledge that will help them support their child's early years development with confidence.
These fun-filled sessions include Sensory Stories, Song Time, Music & Movement and an opportunity for children to develop social skills through play. For more information contact Guide Dogs on 0800 781 1444.
The one-stop website for all libraries' needs around visually impaired users.
The RNIB Helpline is open and available to any queries regarding sight loss. It operates Monday to Friday between 8am-8pm and Saturday between 9am-1pm. Call on 0303 123 9999 or email [email protected].
Alys Mathers is a Highly Specialist Speech and Language Therapist and works with children who have a wide range of speech, language and communication needs. Here she talks about how you can support children's speech and language development if they have a visual impairment.
BookTrust offers Bookstart Touch packs for children who are blind or partially sighted, including touch-and-feel books and advice for parents and carers.