By Lesley Geen, CHECT support worker 

Some parents have told us their child is not always getting the same opportunities as their peers to access books in different formats; this can obviously have an impact on their desire to read from an early age.

At CHECT we regularly review resources to help your young readers to access books to feed their imagination. Many of these organisations also have resources for teenagers and adults.


Living Paintings offers a free postal library service of tactile books – often with braille too – to help blind and partially sighted children explore, learn and read. There is something for all ages from toddlers through to teens. In addition Living Paintings offer audio books and also a Discovery section on their website where you can listen to bonus audio tracks and interviews with famous faces. 

The collection is regularly updated, allowing readers to access a large range of titles


ClearVision is a postal lending library of children’s books designed to be shared by visually impaired and sighted children and adults. Their books all have braille, print and pictures. This allows children with little or no sight to share books with their sighted friends and family, and adult braille readers to enjoy stories with sighted children. There are over 14,000 books in the collection, catering for children from birth until they’re independent readers.

They add lots of new ClearVision books each month to make sure the collection is up-to-date and children with a visual impairment can enjoy the same titles as their sighted friends.


Young Calibre Audio Library is a national charity providing a subscription-free postal service of unabridged audio books for young people with sight problems, dyslexia or other disabilities, who cannot read print.

There is a one off joining fee of £20, but thereafter you will have access to as many of their audio books as you want.


Bookshare® is the world’s largest accessible online library for people who have a visual impairment. More than 425,000 people in 70 countries have access
to Bookshare’s collection of 611,337 titles. Books can be downloaded free of charge, but you will need to ask your school or VI teacher to register with the Bookshare, to enable you to access the library.


RNIB Talking Books service is absolutely free, providing access to over 34,000 fiction and non fiction books for adults and children. Talking Books has been one of their most loved services for more than eight decades, and they now offer more formats and titles than ever before.


Guide Dogs’ CustomEyes service produces tailor-made large print books for children and young people up to and including age 25 with a visual impairment or dyslexia. They support blind children and young people across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

You can choose from over 4,000 large print books with new titles being added monthly. Books available include picture books, fiction, non-fiction, Oxford Reading Tree, GCSE and A Level English texts and textbooks, plus revision guides for Key Stages 2, 3 and 4.

Although membership is free, all large print books are available at the recommended retail price, regardless of format.


Don’t forget your support workers are always on hand to help with any questions you may have. Your VI teacher may be able to suggest other resources too.

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you’ll go.”— Dr. Seuss.

This article first appeared in the Spring/Summer 2018 edition of our InFocus newsletter. You can download the full newsletter here.