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Children with Print Disabilities

Introduction

The Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee is devoting the 2020-2021 calendar year to creating a vibrant, dynamic toolkit that provides ALSC members with up-to-date resources for working with marginalized populations.  Each toolkit page will provide professional and leisure reading recommendations, support for programming, and materials for families.  As dynamic documents, these pages will continue to grow and develop as we find new resources, share our experiences, and continue to learn. 

Population

This month, our focus is on serving children with print disabilities.  According to Maine – Accessible Educational Materials, “A student with a print disability is one who is unable to gain information from printed materials at an anticipated level for their grade, and needs alternative access or an accessible format (i.e., Braille, Large Print, Audio, Digital text) to gain information from and use those materials. Print disabilities commonly affect students with blindness, visual impairments, learning disabilities or other physical conditions that make it difficult to hold or manipulate educational materials.” For clarification, those with visual impairments can include those who are legally blind and vision loss. Those with learning disabilities can include dyslexia. 

For more information on literacy for children with print disabilities:

  1. ALSC Blog: Recommending Books for Kids with Low Vision by Renee Grassi 

This blog post highlights some picture book titles, as well as  how to access more titles for this population.

  1. ALSC Blog: What’s Early Lit for Kids Who Can’t See? By Jill Rothstein                     This blog post reinforces the importance of early literacy for children with print disabilities as well as the significance of supports like Braille as a reading tool and other practices to support this community and their children.

Toolkit Preview 

What you will find in this toolkit:

●       Picture books to read to children with print disabilities and their caregivers.

●       A number of resources that provide further information addressing the unique needs of children with print disabilities.

●       Materials you can purchase for your library’s children’s room that will help create an inclusive environment for children with print disabilities.

Featured Resource

If your library is just beginning its journey of serving children with print disabilities and their caregivers, a great resource to help you get started is The New York Public Library, Andrew Heiskell Branch.  Here you can find resources to support your library, programming ideas and suggestions, and a variety of books, articles, and videos to further expand your knowledge.  Researching best practices and other information is an excellent baseline for determining what your library is capable of and committed to providing.

Call to Action

Take a moment to visit the LSUCTC Toolkit for all our recommended resources!

We would love your help! Please email us with your recommendations, favorite resources, and inspiring community outreach endeavors: lsuctc@gmail.com. We would love to add your recommendations to our Toolkit sheet.  If you are willing to share your successful programming ideas and experiences, we would love to highlight those as well. 

Author Bios

Mariel Matthews is a member of the Library Services to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers. She is a children’s librarian with The New York Public Library. Her favorite book is Fahrenheit 451.

Rebecca King is the Early Literacy Supervisor at Arlington Heights Memorial Library in Illinois. She recently completed her term on the Pura Belpre Committee and is a member of Library Services to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers. She’s currently looking forward to creating her rainbow garden this summer. 

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