Welcome to the Early Braille Trade Book web site from the American Printing House for the Blind.


My Students -- A listing of the students you have entered into the data base. Selecting a student’s ID will allow you to see the following information:

  • Book Lists

    • Perfect Match -- Student knows all of the various contractions in this book. You may check the books that the student has read by selecting the check box to the left of the title.
    • Almost Perfect Match, within 1 to 4 Contractions
    • Near Perfect Match, within 5 to 8 Contractions
    • Not So Perfect Match, beyond 9 Contractions
  • Contractions -- A listing of the 189 contractions as well as punctuation and composition signs know by the student. To add a contraction, check the box to the left of the contraction and click the "Update" button at the bottom of the screen. If you fail to "Update" the record the contractions will not be entered into the database.

Create New Student - Create a new student using student ID.

Books to Use with Building on Patterns

Coming Soon

Available Books

A listing of all books by title and the number of different contraction of each book in the data base

Selecting a book will give you the following information:
  • Title
  • Genre
  • Series
  • Publisher
  • Reading Level -- Reading level assigned by the publisher
  • Reading Recovery Level
  • Level of Teacher Intervention Needed -- A numeric value that tells you the picture dependency
  • Connections to Core Curriculum
  • Connections to Expanded Core Curriculum
  • Total Word Count -- Total number of words in the text of the book
  • APH Kit Number -- Number to use when purchasing the kit from APH
  • Contraction Count -- The total of different contractions occurring in the text
  • Summary
  • Before Reading
  • Follow-up Activities
  • Word Work
  • Contraction Occurrences -- A listing of the contractions in the book by type and number of occurrences as well as a listing of punctuation and composition signs in the book.

Level of Teacher Intervention

Early trade books are commonly used in general education classrooms. These books are popular because they provide opportunities for children to read an entire story contained in each book independently or with teacher support. The books are small with limited text and few pages to allow children to read the book in one sitting. In addition, the books are colorful and have engaging pictures that support the child’s reading of the text. The pictures often have two roles: to introduce and illustrate new vocabulary that children are learning to decode or recognize; they also add to the child’s comprehension of the story by illustrating key scenes or even adding important information not found in the text.

Teachers of students with visual impairments believe that these books are also useful for students who are learning to read through braille. Transcribing the text of the book into braille provides access to the words of the book. In addition, teachers must also consider how the pictures in the book support the text. Since children who are sighted use the pictures in the book to help them decode the text or understand the story, it is important for us to consider what teacher intervention is necessary to take over the role of pictures in supporting the child’s reading and understanding of the text.

Books are given a two digit level for teacher intervention (a number and a letter, for example 2a or 4c). The first digit (a number from one to five) refers to the level of intervention necessary for comprehension of the story. The second (a letter: a, b, or c) relates to teacher intervention necessary to support decoding or identification of a word or phrase.

When deciding between two levels, be conservative in your rating to allow for greater support of children’s understanding of the text. For example, if you are trying to decide between a level 3 or a level 4, choose level 3. The following chart provides information about the levels and corresponding teacher intervention needs.

Comprehension/Story Understanding (Levels 1-5)



Teacher intervention


There are two types of books in this level:

  • Books with no written text, only pictures. The meaning of the book is completely supported by the pictures.
  • Text that contains a picture with a single word or label

Since the meaning and comprehension of this text is entirely related to the text-picture correspondence, the meaning of books at this level is not possible without substitution of real objects for pictures. Without the inclusion of real objects, the book becomes an exercise in decoding rather than a book relating comprehension and decoding.


Meaning is substantially supported by the pictures. A critical piece of the story is contained in one or more of the pictures. The following characteristics may apply:

  • One or more pictures are primary to the meaning of the story; the text essentially describes the pictures.
  • One or more pictures contain information that the story does not, for example, the pictures may be the source of humor or may provide context for the actions in the story.
  • One or more pictures may also help the child understand the character’s motivation or feelings not contained in the text.
  • A related activity, in-depth discussion, tactile graphic, and/or the use of manipulatives or models is essential to support understanding of the text and the pictures.

Books in this level rely a great deal on teacher intervention and instruction. Substitute real-life manipulative objects or models (paired with real experiences) along with braille labels to pair symbols with objects. The teacher will need to have a conversation with the student about the information contained in the pictures that is not in the text. It may be useful to provide role-playing experiences that illustrate the actions contained in the pictures and discuss how the text relates to the action or additional information contained in the pictures.


Meaning is moderately supported by the pictures. An additional piece or detail of the story is contained in the picture but not in the text. The following characteristics may apply:

  • The text contains the whole story but the pictures provide support in order for the child to gather the same meaning as the author intended.
  • One or more pictures represent something contained in the text that would not be expected in the everyday experience of a child (sighted or blind).
  • A related activity, discussion, tactile graphic, and/or the use of manipulatives or models would be helpful to support understanding of the text and the pictures.

Books in this level require moderate teacher intervention and instruction. The teacher will need to provide instruction or information about what is missing in the text but provided by pictures. When using books at this level, the teacher should closely monitor the student’s understanding of the details and global concepts contained in this book.


Meaning is minimally supported by the pictures. All or most of the following characteristics apply:

  • Pictures provide minimal but meaningful information to support the concepts in the story.
  • The child must read the text in order to understand the author’s intended message.
  • Pictures may be used to create a deeper meaning of some aspect of the story but if the child did not have access to the pictures, the text would still make sense and be complete.
  • A related activity, discussion, tactile graphic, and/or the use of manipulatives or models would enhance understanding of the text and the pictures.

Carefully analyze individual books keeping in mind the student’s experiential base. Consider specific concepts of objects and events as well as the global support provided by pictures in the books. Plan and provide supportive activities to increase student’s understanding of the book. These activities might include direct instruction (e.g., "What is a spider"), or role playing (e.g., "What does it mean to hide under a table")


Meaning is essentially independent of the pictures. The child must decode the text to understand the story. Rich context is provided in the text and pictures are used for illustrations and to break up the text.

No teacher intervention is required in most instances. Consider the unique concepts contained in the book. Examine pictures in the book and how the pictures may provide supportive information (e.g., the thatched roof of Anne Hathaway’s cottage). Help the student gather information and real-life experiences when necessary to reinforce new concepts contained in the text. Question the student on his/her understanding of new concepts.

Decoding/Word identification (Levels a-c)



Teacher intervention


The pictures are very helpful in supporting a child’s decoding. There is a one-to-one relationship of many words in the text. Pattern books with sentences that change one word or phrase per page and the new word has a picture clue on the page. Clear picture to word correspondence. All or almost all pages in the book contain this one-to-one relationship between the words and the pictures

Substitute real, life-size manipulative objects for every picture. If scale models are used, real, life-size examples should be paired with models or abstract representations Consider carefully whether a book at this level is an appropriate book to use with a braille-reading student


The pictures provide some support in a child’s word recognition or identification (pictures are moderately supportive). Pictures help a child identify a word that represents a thing, an action, or a description (adjective). Some of the pages in the book contain one-to-one relationship between words and pictures

If possible, substitute real objects or experiences along with braille sentences or labels. The first time that the student reads the book, the teacher will need to provide appropriate substitutions for the pictures along with the text when it is read. In subsequent readings of the text, the teacher may use representative tactile objects, placed on the page along with the text as a clue to remembering the real-life experiences that relate to the decoding of words in the story (e.g., a leaf will represent and remind the student of a walk in the woods).


All or almost all pages in the book contain text that is independent of one-to-one correspondence of text and pictures. The pictures provide limited support or word recognition or identification.

Little teacher intervention is necessary to substitute for the intended support provided by pictures in this book.

General Guidelines

Follow-up activities enable young readers to get the most out of a book by using vocabulary, skills, and concepts in different ways. They help children transition from early emergent reading behaviors, such as sweeping their fingers across a line of text as they recite it from memory, to true reading, where they use tactile/phonetic, structural, and semantic clues to decode and understand an author's message.

Children demonstrate mastery of a book through activities targeting comprehension and fluency.

    1. RETELLING: Ask children to retell the book in detail using their own words. For fiction, a retelling includes the characters, setting, main events, problem, and solution. For nonfiction, children should be able to explain major concepts and recall facts that support them.
    2. DISCUSSION: The content of these early trade books will be easy for many children to understand, so questions focusing on literal understanding are often not necessary. When discussing the book, ask open-ended questions that challenge students to think more deeply about the text. For example:
      1. "What surprised you in this book?"
      2. "How did you feel when ... Why?"
      3. "What do you think will happen next?" (after the end of the book)
      4. "Did this book remind you of anything you've read before?"
  2. FLUENCY: Ask children to reread each book until it is fluent before moving on to a new one. Be sure their fingers are directly on the word that is spoken (voice-word match), so that real reading, rather than recitation of memorized text, is taking place. Fluent readers read at a moderate rate, group words in meaningful phrases, observe punctuation marks, and use appropriate expression. Teacher modeling helps students acquire these important fluency skills.

Other follow-up activities are optional, providing children with further opportunities to work with words and/or continuous text (sentences and stories) related to the book they are reading.

  1. WORD STUDY: These activities focus on the development of word recognition and spelling abilities. They include phonemic awareness, decoding skills, spelling strategies, identification of word structures (e.g., base word and suffix), reading/writing high frequency words, and mastery of braille contractions.
  2. READING / WRITING CONTINUOUS TEXT: Working with sentences and stories allows students to use vocabulary from the book in new ways, apply word study skills in meaningful contexts, and demonstrate comprehension skills such as predicting, sequencing, and inferring. Temporary spelling (where children write the sounds they hear in each word) is acceptable for longer words when students are writing original answers. However, they should refer to the book if they need the spelling of any words from the story.

Optional follow-up activities are short and target a specific skill or concept. As a general rule, students should complete only one or two activities per book; at times, the teacher may decide that a follow-up activity is not necessary. Some of the follow-up activities suggested for this set of books use story vocabulary as a springboard to teach phonics and spelling rules. Others invite children to contribute their own ideas following the language pattern of the text. Follow-up activities should be enjoyable, link reading and writing, provide opportunities for independent work, and encourage comprehension and creative thinking.


Project Leader: Jeanette Wicker

Reading Consultant: Dr. Cay Holbrook

Contributors: Tanni Anthony, Jeanie Brasher, Frances Mary D'Andrea, Dotta Hassman, Dr. Phil Hatlen, and Anna Swenson

Field Evaluators: Rita Albright, Erica Deal, Sarah Fields, Jane Herder, Lori Hlosek, Paula Justice, Martha Kemp, Cheryl Leidich, Teri Newsome, Marci Reid, Sue Schimmelpfennig, Jamie Sigel, Priscillia Thompson, Melinda Underwood, and Judith Wiepert

APH Contributors: Frank Hayden, David McGee, Darlene Donhoff, Anita Rutledge, Terri Gilmore, Michael McDonald, and Rodger Smith