Saturday, July 25, 2015

Literature Based Learning with Visual Disability

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We’ve been using a literature based curriculum the entirety of our homeschooling years. I still remember that long ago evening I was curled up on the sofa with the book Cathy Duffy’s Top 100 Homeschool Picks. I’d picked it up at my local BAM store earlier that day. It’s still the first book I tend to recommend to new homeschoolers, all though at this point in the game I think it’s up now 102 instead of 100.

Either way, the book led us to a fantastic curriculum called Five In A Row. We used that curriculum for 4-5 years with our eldest child before switching to Winter Promise, Sonlight, & Bookshark. We spent many hours reading picture books that still hold a fond memory in my boys heart. I recently caught him pulling the books off the shelf & telling the stories to his brother without actually opening the book which cracked them both up.

The thing is, it can be handwork having a child with vision issues, using a literature based curriculum, and encouraging independence. Audiobooks have really helped our son help himself in this area.

We have a few favourite resources for audio books:

Audible.com has always been our number one sources. We’ve been members for going on 9 or 10 years now. It’s the first place we check for audio books. Our wish list is incredibly longer, & our library of books over there is even bigger. I keep hoping that one day I’ll “win my wishlist” in one of their competitions, but my husband is doubtful based on the fact that we constantly purchase things we’re doing good keeping them in business. I absolutely love that any book I obtain form this website is then ours.

LearningAlly.org this is relatively knew to us & may not be available for all people. You’ll need a report or letter from your specialist that states, clearly, that you or your child has a vision problem. Once the letter or report is accepted you’ll be up & running with an annual fee to the website. We’ve been able to find all our Sonlight or Bookshark books there, & a good dose of our Winter Promise books as well. The books range from Classical Audios {someone reading the book to you} to voice text audios {a computer reading it}. I especially love that some books can be read to the child while they follow along on the screen. A great way for building skills & confidence. My boy loves that he can change the tone of the narrator’s voice & has better control over the speed as well. The downer is he’s use to the Audible platform which tells him a bit more from the TOC then Learning Ally does. This is a library of books, so once your subscription is up, unless you renew you won’t maintain access to any of the books you’ve listened to.

Scribd.com has been around a while with a variety of things available. They’ve recently opened up a digital library of both ebooks & audio books. The monthly fee to have access is only $8.95 making many people give up their audible subscriptions in place of ScribD. We haven’t given up our audible subscription, but we have added ScribD to our pile of resources. There are books available there that I can’t get through audible. I can also obtain books through Scribd that I might not be keen to own, but really want a child to listen to. The big thing to remember here is that you do not own any of the books at the end of the month, you’ve simply borrowed them.


Between the three resources above we manage to maintain a pretty good supply of books for our boy. He no longer says, “Someday when I can read that..” he now approaches the library shelves with confidence & says, “Can I snap a picture of this so I don’t forget the title? I want to see if I can find it as an audio book!”  This doesn’t mean, of course, that he’s not reading at all, he certainly is. In fact this past weekend it was all we could do to drag him away from his current library book. Rather, it means we’ve opened up a new world to him that was previously closed, & that makes this Mamma very very happy.

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