There is a wealth of adapted reading material, talking and tactile books and accessible libraries available to individuals, families and schools.
We provide a round up of the best known and most used. Some are free of charge. For others a subscription is payable.
Resources for text books and reading books
The RNIB library is free and is the largest library of its kind in the U.K. It includes a huge stock of:
- 6,000 giant print books in 24 print
- 22,000 Braille books
- 25,000downloadable audio books (or via USB stick, Daisy CD)
- A music service.
RNIB Bookshare (formerly Load2Learn)
RNIB Bookshare is a free online service for children and young people with a print disability in the U.K. It provides curriculum materials including:-
- Electronic text books
- Images and advice on how to adapt classroom materials
Bookshare is free to schools and once the free account has been set up at school, you can use Bookshare at home. Bookshare can now provide Word documents of some resources and you can also download PDF books onto the Kindle app.
Quick steps for schools
- Step 1:ensure you have learners with qualify print-disabilities.
- Step 2:nominate a Primary Contact to sign-up your organisation.
- Step 3:set up your staff (Sponsor) accounts.
- Step 4: set up your learner (Member) accounts.
- Step 5:find the book you need by entering the ISBN into the search field at the top of the site. We also have large print and tactile images. Download from a staff (Sponsor) account or download from a learner (Member) account.
- Step 6:set up a reading list and share your reading list with other members of staff (Sponsors)
- Step 7:discover how your learners can access the free built in Web Reader tool.
- Step 8:learn how different file formats can be used with various access technology solutions and visit our braille information pages
- Step 9:use our DAISY to Word generator tool to get a structured Word file
Download the full guide to getting started with RNIB Bookshare.
The music tab on the website provides information on accessible music stave notation, music pieces available from RNIB’s Music Advisory Service and information on music production software.
The Exams tab provides information on the range of alternative format exam papers available for learners in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It also provides links to awarding bodies AQA, a Edexcel, OCR, WJEC and CCEA for past papers, contact details for the Standards Testing Agency for KS2 Year 6 SATs papers and information on Edexcel braille papers.
This tab provides advice on large print and tactile images. The accessible images on UK education collection can be read by print-disabled learners either by touch or by sight; as a tactile image or a large print with supporting materials. Some accessible images are a combination of tactile and large print image with raised or embossed lines and colour overprinted. Any text used would be either in braille or large print text.
With thousands of accessible images on UK education collection there is something to interest everyone; curriculum subjects including Science, Geography, Maths, History, Physical Education and Psychology as well as general interest images of nature, home and garden, life skills and hobbies.
RNIB Bookshare Training
RNIB also offers free / low cost training courses on Bookshare for teachers and teaching assistants.
- Young Calibre is a subscription-free postal library bringing you the fun of audio books. There is a single-payment joining fee of £20 to join Young Calibre.
- It’s for anyone under 16 who can’t see properly, or has dyslexia or another disability which makes it difficult to read ordinary print.
- Audio books are in MP3 format. – either on CDs or memory sticks. Alternatively you can stream them online.
- As well as books to read for pleasure, the library includes titles for education supporting the GCSE English and A level syllabus as well as the PSHE section of the National Curriculum.
RNIB Overdrive – Talking Books
RNIB Overdrive is a free Talking Book Service. Subscribe and get access to more than 25,000 unabridged titles by Digital Download to your favourite device through RNIB Overdrive, or on DAISY CD and USB stick, delivered direct to your door. Service includes talking magazines and podcasts. To join the service you are required to be a UK resident who is blind, partially sighted or have an impairment that prevents or limits you from reading standard print.
Find out more at RNIB reading choices.
Sign up for free online at the RNIB shop.
Call helpline: 0303 123 9999 or email email@example.com
ClearVision is a UK postal lending library of children’s books which all have braille, print and pictures. They lend books across the UK and Ireland. 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 have fiction and non-fiction in uncontracted (grade 1) and contracted (grade 2) braille and Moon. Membership is free to families; organisations such as schools, libraries and sensory support services pay an annual fee of £50.
Guide Dog’s 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. We support 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.
Each book is formatted to the customer’s requirements – font, typeface, size, paper colour etc – and regardless of how many volumes the book is, you only pay the recommended retail price. You need to be a CustomEyes member to order books, but membership is free.
eBooks and ereaders
Synthetic speech option is available in some ereaders, as well as the ability to increase font size.
Unique features of the Amazon Echo that can help people living with sight loss.
Project Gutenberg offers over 53,000 free ebooks: choose among free epub books, free kindle books, download them or read them online.
Please note: Our ebooks may be freely used in the United States because most are nor protected by US copyright law, usually because their copyrights have expired. They may not be free of copyright in other countries. Readers outside of the United States must check the copyright laws of their countries before downloading or redistributing our ebooks. We also have a number of copyrighted titles, for which the copyright holder has given permission for unlimited non-commercial worldwide use.
Living Paintings design, create and publish tactile and audio books for blind and partially sighted people. They call them Touch to See books. Living Paintings publish titles suitable for anyone from pre-school to adult. The range is designed to provide education and life-long learning, enhance lifestyle and support leisure interests. Touch to See books are distributed through a free postal library.
Local libraries often have large print books sections, audio books and some also offer ebooks. The BorrowBoxapp provides ebooks from libraries, allowing you to adjust the font size.
Big Library Read
The first global eBook club through libraries. Visit https://biglibraryread.com for more information on how schools can participate.
Schools can source electronic formats of textbooks for students with disabilities.
Seeingear runs the National Accessible Library. Books are available free of charge to anyone in the UK who is blind, has an impairment of visual function which cannot be improved by the use of corrective lenses, is unable through physical disability to hold or manipulate a book, or suffers from print blindness caused by dyslexia.
All books can be read as giant print, Braille and synthetic speech and they can be accessed on computers, tablets or internet audio players designed specifically for visually impaired people.
The up-to-date collection of copyrighted books is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week via the internet and the collections include school text books and many other genres.
As well as the major newspapers and some magazines, Talking Newspapers also provide children’s magazines such as BBC Horrible Histories, First News and Aquila.
- Audio CD or USB delivered to your door
- Online: via mobile phone or computer delivered to your inbox or download from the website
- DAISY: DAISY CDs offer further navigation options if you own a DAISY player