ClearVision has an excellent selection of fiction and non-fiction for children who are learning to read. We stock multiple copies of titles and all our books have been chosen with children who have no sight in mind - although many of our borrowers have enough sight to enjoy the brightly coloured illustrations. The books are chosen to be inviting, so we have lots of humorous books, stories in verse, a good selection of books for older children with a lower reading age and plenty of novelty books with tactile interest to encourage the youngest readers to begin exploring books.
No-one’s too young or too old to borrow books from ClearVision! Research by our friends at Booktrust shows that reading with children just a few months old has a positive impact on their later language, communication and development. This sharing is especially important for children with a visual impairment, so babies can join the library from birth. At the other end of the scale, we have lots of grandparent borrowers who love to share the gift of stories with their sighted grandchildren. Our oldest borrowers are in their nineties!
We know that for many children, their “reading age” isn’t the same as their actual age. Factors like learning disabilities, an education disrupted by sight loss or illness and moving from reading print to reading braille can slow things down. For this reason, we try to provide interesting, encouraging books which are suitable for beginner readers but age-appropriate for older children and teenagers.
Most titles are available in uncontracted (“grade 1”) or contracted (“grade 2”) braille. All new books added to the ClearVision library are in Unified English Braille, but we still stock books in Standard English Braille for those who read this form.
We have a large collection of mainstream board books and novelty books with flaps, textures, sound buttons etc. which can be borrowed by families, libraries, schools and anyone else who needs them. They’re great for encouraging beginner readers to reach out and explore a book, turn the pages and be involved in a story. All these books are labelled in braille or Moon, to encourage the youngest children to become familiar with the idea of touch reading, and make the connection between the feel of words under their fingers and the sound of words read aloud to them.
We also have short story books for adults to share with children who have not yet started learning to read. These include familiar friends like Spot The Dog, Elmer, Peppa Pig, Kipper and Thomas the Tank Engine.
ClearVision also has a large collection of hand-made tactile books available for loan to schools and Sensory Support services. They’re great for building up the touch skills required for learning braille and introducing the concept of illustration, as well as being great fun. They can be used by anyone aged 3+, including children with visual impairment and other disabilities. Please see the tactile book section for more details.
Most ClearVision books are regular children’s books. The brailled text is on clear plastic sheets, interleaved with the print pages. The text and pictures are visible through the brailled sheets. Wherever possible we make sure that the braille reader's hands will not cover the print text so that the books can be read by print and braille readers simultaneously.
The collection includes books to cater for all tastes and abilities. We have stories by popular authors like Julia Donaldson, David McKee, Oliver Jeffers and Lauren Child. Readers can progress onto longer picture books as they become more confident.
We do not stock reading schemes, apart from a limited selection of Oxford Reading Tree titles: not all Oxford Reading Tree books are suitable for readers who cannot see the pictures as often the story is partly told through the illustrations.
For older children and teenagers who are learning to read braille, please see ‘Teenagers’.
Thanks to the Jack Petchey Foundation, Roald Dahl Foundation and the Blatchington Court Trust we have a collection of books to suit children who have moved on from picture books but are not yet fully independent readers. These books come in a folder which includes a slim, single-sided A4 braille volume and a matching print copy. The collection includes humour, fantasy, everyday life and animal stories, as well as short biographies and retold classics. Many of these books include a tactile graphic which illustrates the story. Books are available in uncontracted (grade 1) or contracted (grade 2) braille.
We’re delighted when people outgrow our library because they’ve become fluent readers! The RNIB National Library Service has a wide selection for those ready for longer books.
ClearVision now stocks a small but varied selection of ‘easy readers’ for older children and teenagers (students at Key Stage 3 and above) who are in the early stages of reading braille, or who are not confident readers. These books are from series especially designed with a small amount of text but to be interesting and engaging for a teenaged audience. They include stories of ordinary teenage urban life from the popular ‘Dockside’ series, and the deliciously spooky ‘Dark Man’ series by horror writer Peter Lancett. They are suitable for people with a reading age of 5-7. ClearVision copies have the braille text (uncontracted or contracted braille) interleaved on clear plastic sheets.
We have a collection from SEN Press written for young people (14-19 years) with learning difficulties who are working at around level 1 of the National Curriculum. Each introduces key life and social skills topics directly relevant to young people. The stories (on topics such as walking home at night, preparing a packed lunch or buying clothes) are wittily told in simple, easy to read language suitable for people with a reading age of 6-7. ClearVision copies have the braille text (uncontracted or contracted) interleaved on clear plastic sheets.
We also have a growing selection of books for young people who are becoming fluent braille readers, but who still need support from a sighted adult reading along. These are similar to our standard newly-fluent books: a single-sided braille copy and a print copy together in a folder. They include fiction and subjects such as sport and music.
Many schools and Visual Impairment services borrow tactile books from ClearVision to use with older children and teenagers who have a visual impairment and additional disabilities. We are conscious of the need to provide age-appropriate books as far as possible and will avoid sending anything too young.
We have simple books on a variety of National Curriculum topics as well as books to cater for other interests and hobbies. These include subjects such as history, the environment, sport, religions and festivals, animals and short biographies.
Our fiction books include myths and traditional stories from many cultures.
We also have ‘supportive stories’: books about life experiences such as bullying, starting school, a new baby in the family, drugs, moving house, etc.
If you would like books on any of these subjects, please let us know when you join the library or return your books for exchange. Schools, please let us know the term before you require these books for maximum chance of receiving them. As with all our books, availability depends on what is currently out on loan.
ClearVision has a wonderful collection of over 1000 especially-made tactile books. They are ideal for building up touch-skills, such as tracking and trailing, including the skills needed to learn to touch-read braille or Moon. They are also great for introducing the concept of illustration and are an ideal first step for children and young people who will go on to decipher complex tactile images, diagrams and maps. The collection includes hand-sewn fabric books, collage books and books with very simple thermoformed illustrations (Fingerfun books).
Most of these books are labelled in braille or Moon as well as print, but the books can also be enjoyed by visually-impaired children who are not readers, including those with learning difficulties.
Unfortunately, for health and safety reasons, we can only lend these books to schools, Visual Impairment services and other educational establishments. To borrow these books you will need to complete, sign and return an additional tactile book form telling us as much as possible about the needs of the children/young people you are borrowing them for.
Many of our fabric tactile books are made by talented volunteers. Making a tactile book is fun and worthwhile. If you would like to give it a try we can give you advice and support. See our Making A Tactile book page.
Moon is a touch-reading system. Invented in the 19th century, it is based on the letters of the print alphabet and is easier to learn than braille. Traditionally it has been used by people who have lost their sight late in life and the Deaf-blind community. It is sometimes used by children who have a visual impairment and are not able to learn braille for a variety of reasons, such as learning disabilities or reduced sensitivity in their fingertips. Moon has some disadvantages, for example is takes up much more space than braille and there is no manual way to produce it satisfactorily, however for some children it may be an appropriate route to literacy.
We now have a small collection of very simple books with added Moon text in the ClearVision library. To allow the maximum number of people to access this collection schools, Visual Impairment services etc. are sent half a loan at a time and allowed to change it twice as often.
For more information on Moon please contact us (details at the top of the page). People interested in teaching Moon should contact the Moon Literacy group on Facebook.