Teachers at Conover School are known for the creative ways in which they engage all of their students in learning activities. One of the ways that they bring text and reading activities alive to their visually impaired students is to “texturize” printed materials. To texturize books is to create a world of discovery for those students who may have visual and or physical impairments when it comes to “listening to” and “seeing” a book.
Many Conover School students need more than someone to simply “read” the book to them. When a book is texturized, it is then transformed into a story of sensory excitement! Students can feel the leaves on a tree, the roughness of a wooly sweater, or the slickness of water in a book that comes to life with textures. Staff at Conover School spend countless hours completing such extensive texturizing projects, just to allow students to experience stories with all of their senses.
In the school’s library, as well as in Mrs. Cangemi and Ms. Riddle’s classooms, there are numerous books which are available to borrow for use. These two women do an astounding job of creating a story that “pops” when a reader turns the page. When each item can be felt and seen with the listener’s hands, fingers, or face, a story has then come to life for the individual reader.
Any teacher can texturize a book, symbol, poster, or bulletin board by being creative and resourceful. Think of the types of materials and real objects that can be glued or velcroed to the actual text in order to enhance the meaning and feeling of the pictures. Use scrap materials and miniature objects to match and represent the meanings of the words before you. Try to stick to the story line and not stray from the actual meaning of the text, when adding objects or materials to the book pages. Even consider adding texturized items that smell (such as cinnamon or evergreen) to add another layer of interaction and understanding to the reading experience. When these adaptations are made to instructional materials, students want to read and understand even more!