Presentation Details

The Second International Conference on the Future of the Book

Designing Braille Books: An Early Literacy Exploration

Prof. John Eric Ligon.

The US Department of Education suggests that, “there is no more important activity for preparing your child to succeed as a reader than reading aloud together.”

Sighted children listen to the words as they are read aloud and begin to make connections to the hieroglyphic letterforms on the page. They are capable of becoming actively involved in reading with the parent. For a child who is blind or visually impaired, however, there are challenges present that foster frustrating, more difficult and passive, rather than active, reading experiences.

Books that are suitable for blind and visually impaired children exist most often in three forms: parent- or teacher-made texture/object books that are the equivalent of printed picture books; regular print/picture books for sighted children that have clear Braille labels affixed to the pages, often directly over the text and illustrations making them difficult to read and/or enjoy for sighted parents, siblings and friends; and Braille-only books that are either unreadable due to the parent’s lack of Braille literacy or that are simply visually overwhelming to the sighted.

In this presentation, I will demonstrate the benefits and drawbacks of existing Braille book formats — specifically for early literacy, and compare a newly designed format that is at once suitable for both eyes and hands. This new format solves many of the inherent problems in shared reading. The need for this kind of children’s book is apparent and has the potential for becoming a more effective tool in the development of Braille literacy in the home and classroom than currently exists.


Prof. John Eric Ligon  (United States)
Associate Professor in Communication Design
Division of Design Faculty of the School of Visual Arts
The University of North Texas

John Eric Ligon is an Associate Professor of Communication Design in the School of Visual Arts at the University of North Texas.

  • Braille
  • Shared Reading
  • Early Literacy
  • Accessibility
Person as Subject
  • Prof. John Eric Ligon

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)