Interactive stories are a great way to motivate young students to practice Refreshable Braille Display (RBD) commands and Voice Over gestures. Each time we use the iPad, I tell Layla the name of the app we will be using, and it is her job to use the Refreshable Braille Display and Voice Over to find it.
For the student who is blind to use an interactive story on the iPad, he or she will need to turn voice over off in order to directly interact with the story. With the iPad Accessibility Shortcut set to Voice Over, you can triple click the home button to turn Voice Over on and off.
Once Layla uses her basic RBD commands and the joystick to find the story, it’s time to turn Voice Over off. The triple click can be difficult, so for the first few lessons using interactive stories I let her put her hand on my hand to feel the motion of the triple click.
Once Voice Over is off, I select the “read to me” option so the book is read aloud. At this point, she listens to the page and waits for the reading to stop. This is the fun part! She touches the screen lightly with one finger, and depending on the book, it generates sounds or labels pictures. (Touching the screen lightly with one finger does take some practice, because if you hit the screen just right you can accidentally exit the app). After touching the screen for some interactive fun, she turns the page. For some stories, we found it was easier for her to put her finger at the bottom right corner of the iPad and move her finger diagonal across the screen (as shown in the photograph).
For other stories it’s easier to start on the middle right of the screen and move it horizontally across. To help her understand that turning pages on an interactive story on the iPad was similar to turning pages in the book, we held a real book in our hands and turned the pages. (When turning a real book your hand starts on the right and goes to the left, and it’s the same when reading an interactive story on the iPad).
Barnyard Dance by Sandra Boynton
PopOut! The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter
Loud Crow Interactive
Five Little Monkeys Sitting in a Tree by Eileen Christelow
By Rachel Harris