From Amy Shepherd, MDE-LIO Parent Liaison and Expert Substitute Teacher for the Washtenaw Intermediate School District Teachers for the Visually Impaired Team

One of my fondest memories about learning to read was the book nook in my first-grade classroom. It was a big bathtub filled with pillows, and it made reading magical! My son, who was a dual print and braille reader, had a book nook that was in a little room under our basement stairs. It was the perfect size for a small chair, some comfy pillows on the floor, and stackable book bins. He spent hours in that little room and often fell asleep on the floor, literally covered in books.

I’m a parent of a young man who is legally blind, a community advocate, and a constant collaborator. I have spent the past three years adapting and creating books for students who have cortical visual impairment (CVI). It’s been my dream to find a way to share these books with others who are raising and working with students who have CVI.

My reading memories inspired me to create a new resource for downloading free books for students with CVI: CVI Book Nook.

The books on the CVI Book Nook site were initially created for students at Washtenaw Intermediate School District (WISD) who have visual impairments or who have CVI. Each book is the result of idea sharing and collaborative brainstorming among expert teachers for the visually impaired and material specialists. I am particularly grateful to WISD TCVI Jessicia Klenk for her constant inspiration. So many of these books began with an email from Jessicia stating, "I have an idea."  I also want to thank WISD material specialists Becky Starick and Janet Hassa for their constant positivity, and for making these books come alive in print formats.  

The books in the CVI Book Nook are intended to be downloaded and used by parents, caregivers, and teachers working with students who have visual impairments or who have CVI. I have intentionally uploaded them as PowerPoints so they can be downloaded and adapted for your own needs. Change the background color; perhaps your student is fine with white, or maybe they’d like another background color. Change the font type, size, or color. Change the image to a photo of a familiar object. There is no “one size fits all” when it comes to creating books for students who have CVI. Think of these books as "starter kits," meant to be adapted and changed to meet your student's needs.

Let the magic begin!