Activities and Reading

Activities and Reading for VI

Children and Young People


Out of school activities
· Leisure Centres:  Your local leisure centre has lots of activities with extra ones in the school holidays.  Contact your local centre for details.

Here are some organisations that run activities for young people with a visual impairment during term time and school holidays:



Ocean Youth Trust

· Useful Vision

Tel: 0845 6048491

· Henshaws

· British Blind Sports


Choosing books for your child


Reading for leisure
It is always good to read outside of school to help their reading skills and general knowledge.

This section will give you suggestions where to get reading material:
Reading Sight Website: this has been created to support librarians, teachers, voluntary workers and anyone interested in helping people with sight loss get access to reading and reading services.

Reading Sight promotes use of the collections of accessible material, enabling readers to:

  • find books in accessible formats
  • join libraries and participate in reading groups and activities
  • be inspired and motivated by other people with sight loss who continue to enjoy reading
  • contribute to the site (video, audio and text) and keep up-to-date with new developments.

Technology is providing us all with amazing new ways to access reading and information. Downloadable audio and eBooks give visually impaired people a wider choice than ever before.  They promote these new ways of reading and point to places where you can get technical support to increase your confidence in these exciting developments:


North Tyneside Library Service
If you tell the librarian your child’s preferred way they read, you are able to borrow:

1.    Story sacks.  The main libraries – North Shields, Wallsend, Whitley Bay and White Swan Centre in Killingworth – have a file of story sacks.  Suitable for early years 3 to 5, some up 7.

2.   Clear Vision Braille, contact Monkseaton library or your local branch for further details. There are a limited number of Braille resources.

3.   Bag Books are tactile experience stories and can be an early pre-braille resource.

4.   Barrington Stoke Books specialised books primarily for dyslexics but may suit children with a visual impairment.

5.   ‘Big Books’ are large books for group reading but may suit a child with a visual impairment.

6.   Audio books can be borrowed in 2 formats:

·        Traditional CD’s are available for children of school age.

·        ‘Play Away’s’ are pre-loaded stories onto MP3 player for children aged 7 and up.bookworm



Audio Books:


It is fine to read audio books.  Your child uses their ears instead of your eyes.  You can borrow audio books from your local library in North Tyneside or from the following:


· Young Calibre Audio Library offers members, under the age of 16, a regular supply of audio books, by post, free of charge.  Most books are on MP3 format CD’s and they can offer you more information about this.

Contact Young Calibre Audio Library:

Phone: 01296 432 339 or email:


·  If your child is 16 or over Calibre Audio Library is a free lending library.  It has around 8000 audio books available.

Contact Calibre Audio Library:

Phone: 01296 432 339 or email:


· RNIB Talking Book Service.  By paying a subscription you can borrow some of over 18,0000 audio books, but they are all in DAISY format.

· Listening Books: By paying a subscription you can borrow some of thousands of audiobooks for leisure and learning from 3 formats.  Listening books have many text books and study guides from Key Stage 2 to A-level.


The ‘British Wireless for the Blind Fund’ can lend audio equipment on a free loan basis for as long as you need.  You can also buy equipment from them.


Braille Books


Braille Books are available from RNIB and Amazon. You can search online for other stockists.

· ‘ClearVision’ is a free postal library that lends Braille (and Moon) books. It has over 13,000 books for children of all ages, in both grade 1 and grade 2 Braille.

· RNIB National Library Service is free to join and you can borrow up to six Braille (and Moon) books at a time.

Phone: 0303 123 9999 or email:
·  ‘Living Paintings’ is a FREE library of tactile books with audio description. Google Living Paintings and this will take you to their website. braille


Large Print Books

·  RNIB National Library Service is free to join and you can borrow up to six large print books at a time.

Phone: 0303 123 9999 or email:


Large Print Books to buy.

The ‘CustomEyes’ Book Service can make books for your child in the way they read best.  You will have to pay for these books as they are specially made for you.

Phone: 01278 764 792 or email:


Theatres and Cinemas

All theatres and cinemas locally should have audio description* performances.  Also most museums and sports grounds have audio description as well. You should contact the venue before cinema
you visit by phone, email or check their website.

*What is audio description?

If you cant see very well, when you are watching a film or the TV you can miss out on things like facial expressions, actions and scenery.

Audio description gives you extra spoken information to help you follow the story.  You can get it on TV (digital), DVD, at cinemas, theatres, sports grounds and museums.

For a list of audio described DVD’s and videos you can buy or rent contact the RNIB on 0845 702 3153.



General Websites

· and for information and products such as talking newspapers and magazines

11-25 year olds with a V.I. the OutLOOK Youth Service  offers free membership to services including an audio magazine, a chance to run your own events and be connected with others.

· offers information for children and young people with a visual impairment.  They also offer grants to buy equipment such as a laptop.

National Federation of Families with VI Children

· Help, support and services for Visually Impaired children and their parents or carers.