These Tactile Picture Books Help Blind Kids Learn to Read

Tactile Picture Books Project
Tactile Picture Books Project / Tactile Picture Books Project

When most kids read for the first time, they often do so from the colorful pages of a picture book. However, children who are blind or visually-impaired miss out on this opportunity—which is why a team of researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder designed a line of picture books especially for them.

The Tactile Picture Books Project is the brainchild of Tom Yeh, a computer science professor at the university. His goal was to offer an accessible alternative to young readers who weren’t getting what they needed from the traditional publishing industry. 

Each page of the books is made from plastic that's been 3D-printed to display braille text as well as the tactile images that go along with it. It's a method that the team has already used to recreate several famous stories, including Harold and the Purple Crayon, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and Goodnight Moon. They’ve also produced a series of 3D-printed puzzles and maps.

Open-source digital files of all the picture books are available to download from the Tactile Picture Books library, which means parents and teachers with access to a 3D printer can create them for free.

Images courtesy of the Tactile Picture Books Project.[h/t Dezeen]