It Is All About Motivation

Last week, I adapted the book We Look written by Bill Dinardo and Illustrated by Signe Nordin into a digital book for my kindergarten student. She enjoys reading large print copies of these books with braille, but lights up when I create a similar book for her to read using her iPad. I am using this digital book to practice the following skills with my student: 

  • To read kindergarten sight words we, I, the, and a in large print and braille
  • To track a line of braille from left to right using both hands
  • To point under each word instead of on top of each word as she recites the book aloud with the teacher or peers
  • To access a book using multiple sensory channels: visual, auditory, tactual
  • To practice using gestures and Voiceover gestures: one finger flick left to advance to the next page, three finger flick left when using Voiceover to advance to the next page, double tapping to select a book 

It is easy to create these books using the Book Creator App on my iPad. Books include large print, real pictures instead of color drawings, and alt text to provide image descriptions when using a screen reader. My student practices reading the book before recording her voice reading each page. After the student previews the final copy of the book, it is exported as an ePub book so the student can read it using the Apple Books app (formerly iBooks) on her iPad Pro. I have shared these digital books with my student via email or Airdrop (a way to share digital materials such as pictures or files from one Apple device to another that is close by without using mail). Airdrop is especially helpful for sharing digital books you create with an elementary student who does not have access to an email account or their district does not allow access to mail on their iPad. 

Download We Look as a PDF here.

Download We Look as an iBook here.

In the past month, my student has made significant progress reading the following sight words: a, I, the, little, we, and am in both large print and braille using a combination of ePub books on her iPad and reproducible books with large print and braille. The students’ classroom teacher and special education teacher are also excited about these books because they can use them with all of their students. My student who is a dual media learner can read the same digital books as her peers, but use a different learning medium (large print, braille with a refreshable braille display, audio output). This can promote early inclusion in the classroom and build opportunities to develop friendships through shared reading experiences both in and outside of school. 

Sometimes it’s all about motivation. If we can keep our early readers with visual impairment motivated to learn using technology, it a win win for everyone. 

Collage of creating digital books