CustomEyesed books open up world of reading for visually impaired children at Craneswater Junior School

SIX visually impaired children have set up a reading club with a difference.

Friday, 19th July 2019, 4:23 pm
Updated Monday, 22nd July 2019, 6:51 pm

Craneswater Junior School pupils, Nathan Lihou, 10, James Angelides, 11, Matilda Ball, 7, Eljay Stares, 8, Yuvraj Singh-Digpal, 10 and Max Voysey-Foote, 9, who are all visually impaired, regularly meet to read and exchange classic books such as such as Harry Potter, Goodnight Mr Tom and Diary of a Wimpy Kid. The Meteor-eyes Club also play sport and create tactile art.

Thanks to CustomEyes, a service provided by the charity Guide Dogs, the children are able to access a range of new books which have helped to improve their reading. Unlike other providers, CustomEyes caters the book to the specific needs of the pupil.

Yuveraj, who has Cone Rod Dystrophy, said: ‘If the text is on white paper then I find it difficult to read due to the reflection of the light. I now read every night before I go to bed. All we need is the right equipment and we can read, spell and do maths just as well as anyone else.’

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Teaching Assistant, Caz Gilmore, helped the children to set up the Meteor-eyes Club.

Matilda added: ‘I love my book and I have been reading five chapters every night. The book uses yellow paper which allows me to see much easier.’

The children were supported in the formation of the group by their teaching assistant, Caz Gilmore, who was investigating ways for the children to take part in World Book Day.

Books can be customised by the type and size of the font, the spacing between lines and the colour of the backing paper.

Caz said: ‘You can get large print books but it is often a one size fits all approach. CustomEyes tailor the book to the needs of the child.’

Meteor-eyes Club members. (l to r) Yuvraj Singh-Digpal, 10, Max Voysey-Foote, 9, James Angelides, 11, Eljay Stares, 8, Nathan Lihou, 10 and Matilda Ball, 7.

Since the formation of the club, Caz has seen massive improvements in the children’s confidence.

She added: ‘The Meteor-Eyes are an amazing group of children. CustomEyes books and forming their group has given them a sense of belonging which enables them to share the experience of reading with everyone else. Their confidence has grown because they’ve been able to do exactly what everybody else does which makes them and me so happy.’