Accessible yearbooks

Nifty ways to make yearbook signing accessible - including ways to make auditory yearbooks for students with multiple disabilities!

Stack of yearbooks; top yearbook has an image of an eagle with text,

The end of the school year often means signing yearbooks! How can your student get their yearbook signed in a format that they can read back? Paths to Literacy has great post on accessible yearbooks. Here’s some information on what I did this year to collect yearbook messages for one of my students and ideas for implementing some of Jessica and Neal’s suggestions from their Paths to Literacy post.

Digital text formats: The easiest way is to use Word or Google Docs and invite students to type their messages. The final file can be read back with a screenreader, embossed, or changed to the appropriate font size and printed. One drawback is that your student’s classmates can edit the responses that other people have already written.

We chose to use an online form. Our district has access to Microsoft Forms, and Google Forms would work well too. My form was one question with a text box answer space, but you could add a second question for name. To protect student privacy and prevent strangers from somehow accessing the form, I locked it so that only people logged in to our organization could submit. On the last day of school, I will put all of the responses into a Word document, which is the format my student requested.

How can you integrate this into your teaching?

Audio yearbooks

If you can find a quiet place to do recordings, this is a great option too! For students who already know how to use a Joy Player, this is a really accessible format. There are several ways you can transfer the recordings to a cartridge or USB stick. This Joy Player tutorial page also has pictures of some ways to label Joy Player cartridges with tactile labels based on real objects. A mini graduation tassel could be a great label for a senior yearbook.


Megan Mogan has a great post on Paths to Literacy about name symbols. The mix CD that she describes could easily be used as a yearbook instead of a going away present. She says:

“10. A group of high school students made a mix cd as a goodbye present for a classmate last year.  Each of them picked a popular song by a favorite artist to include on the CD.  Instead of labeling the tracks by artist/song title, we labeled the tracks using each student’s tactile name symbol.  Our CD was a top-to-bottom list that literally read our names “Megan, Madison, Maria, Peter, Caleb.”  The students were very familiar with one another’s preferences however, and knew the CD tracks were actually “Adele, Pharrell Williams, Katy Perry, Blake Shelton, and Phillip Phillips.”“

Signing Yearbooks

With the hustle and bustle of yearbook signing, my student chose to pre-make braille labels of her name, but she could have also emailed her yearbook messages to her classmates or typed them up and printed them out. Blind students also need instruction in how to use a printer, because sometimes there are things you just want to have in print hardcopy to give to someone else!

by Jennifer Soltis, PhD

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