Paths to Literacy

for students who are blind or visually impaired

Creating a Book that Motivates Children with Additional Disabilities: Keys

Cover of key book

I recently made a "key book" for a student, who is a sweet and spunky 2nd grade girl, who is blind with additional disabilities.  My goals for creating this specific book included the following:

  • Motivating: I wanted a book that she would WANT to read.  She likes to play with keys, and she loves the sounds keys make when you shake them together.  
  • Turning pages:  I wanted her to turn the pages herself.
  • Increasing attention:  I wanted her to pay attention to the braille and graphics on each page.  
  • Counting and number recognition 1-5 


  • Keys:  A hardware store generously donated them 
  • Russian Birch pages (these were made by a local high school teacher but I think strong cardboard would work as well).  
  • 3-ring binder for the book
  • Power drill to drill holes in the pages
  • Screws/bolts and nuts/washers 
  • Thick string or thin rope
  • Braille labels 
  • Puffy Paint for the "counters"


For page one I drilled a hole to fix one key to the page using the bolt and nut.  I added the number 1 in braille and print to the page along with a puffy paint dot to use for counting.  I like that they key is able to spin and move if desired.

On the second page I simply glued 2 keys on the page (I ended up screwing them down onto the page later because they continued to fall off the page) and I added the number two in braille and print along with two puffy painted dots. 

One key on page of book  Two keys

The third and fourth page I fixed the keys to the page using a thin rope for something "different" and so that the student could shake the keys and hit them against the page if she wanted. 

Three keys  Four keys

I continued with this process for a total of five pages.  For the cover, I made sure to glue a key to the front so that she could easily identify the book as the "key" book.  

Five keys  Cover of key book

Collage of key book