Developing a Love for Reading

Ronan is sitting in his mother's lap reading his newly brailled book. His QTVI is sitting to the left producing some braille labels for his book.

Ronan is reading while his QTVI Brailles up his book

Ronan has finally taken a liking to books, but it has been a long road.

The first book Ronan would even consider was one from the Usbourne Noisy Book series, called “The Little Children’s Music Book.” It has buttons on the right margin that play short melodies with different instruments with the final button bringing them all together for a short rift. While I do not think this book was intended for 1 year olds, the good quality music recordings caught Ronan’s attention.

Ronan’s second book was the “Wheels on the Bus” from igloobooks. It had a single button in the lower right hand corner that plays the song of the same name. Around 16 months Ronan learned to press buttons and he did so repeatedly on this book. We finally convinced him that he had to turn the page before pressing the button again. By 17 months, he was becoming a skilled in page turning. We had to replace the batteries on this book twice. When they died a third time, we decided to move on.

Ronan’s third book was, “This is My Monster,” from the Usborne Noisy Feely series. This book also has a button in the lower right corner. At first Ronan would just push the button, and then he learned to push the button at the correct time in the story, and finally he started to allow us to encourage his hands to feel the different parts of the Monster – the big ears and the fuzzy tail. Now he roars like the monster too!

Our Qualified Teacher of the Visually Impaired (QTVI) suggested that we braille up this book. On the third reading of the book (there are usually many), I tell Ronan that we are going to read the book and I guide his hand along the Braille. Although Ronan is usually resistant to having his hands guided, he now sticks his hand out when I say we are going to read. In this way, we hope that reading will become synonymous with Braille.

At 20 months, Ronan has engaged only with three books. This is not many for a family attached to their hundreds of books. However, each one has played an important part in developing a love of reading in him, starting from just holding a book to exploring and “reading” it, himself. We are looking forward to moving onto our next story, Jack in the Beanstalk, for which we are currently creating an object box that accompanies the story.

I’m glad we’ve got the SMART Brailler for this one as there are a lot more words than previously. It word take hours to do it with a labeller. Once again, we’d like to thank the SMART Brailler Backpacking Programme for giving us the opportunity to try it.

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