Encouraging a love of reading: Isobel’s story
June 27, 2017

Isobel Duffell feeling one of our tactile pictures

Isobel is 7 years old and lives with her younger brother and parents. For an unknown reason, Isobel’s eyes did not develop properly while she was in the womb, which meant she was born with a severe visual impairment. An unsuccessful operation to remove cataracts later on down the line caused Isobel’s vision to deteriorate further.

Before her operation, Isobel was learning both large print and braille at school, which took a toll on her ability to keep up with school work and consequently, her confidence plummeted.

“After the operation, our hand was forced, we had to move her to 100% braille and she was given a cane. The school and her specialist teachers have been absolutely amazing. She moved from being bottom of the class, to middle of the class in less than a year, she became engaged with the work and with all the success at school her confidence skyrocketed and in particular she discovered a real talent and love for maths.”

Outside the classroom, Isobel is an active borrower of Living Paintings’ Touch to See books. Her mum registered her in November 2015 after seeing the Living Paintings appeal on BBC’s Children in Need:

“Finding Living Paintings has been a complete revelation for myself and Isobel. It gives her vital access to free books, with clear images and fantastic, engaging audio descriptions, which can support her learning at school. The fun books, which are arguably more important, increase her ever growing love of reading!”

Isobel regularly borrows picture and topical books from us and has recently road tested one of our upcoming picture books, Zog by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. Isobel’s feedback and comments have informed changes to the tactile images and script, which means that when we come to publish this fun and colourful book, we’re confident it will be as accessible and enjoyable as possible for all children with a visual impairment.

Click here to reserve your copy of Zog, coming to our free, postal library soon!

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