New sight loss book club is a meteoric success

Six vision impaired children at a mainstream primary school in Portsmouth have formed their own reading club with a difference.

Pupils Nathan, James, Matilda, Eljay, Yuvraj and Max from Craneswater Junior school, Southsea, call themselves the ‘Meteor-eyes’ and meet regularly to read favourites such as Harry Potter, Goodnight Mr Tom and Lord of the Flies.

The children each have varying levels of vision impairment and were supported to form the group by their teaching assistant, Caz Gilmore, who was investigating ways for the children to take part in World Book Day. Caz found CustomEyes; a service provided by the charity Guide Dogs, which offers bespoke large print books for children and young people living with vision impairment.

CustomEyes considers each child’s specific needs and every book is tailor-made. Books can be customised by the type and size of the font, the spacing between lines, the colour of the paper the text is on and all for no more than the recommended retail price (RRP) of the original book.

Yuvraj, says CustomeEyes has really helped him to learn alongside his other classmates: “We’re just as good at maths and spelling. We’re just as good as everyone else; all we need is the right equipment.”

Caz says that she has seen the children’s confidence grow since forming the club. She adds: “The Meteor-Eyes are an amazing group of children. They know all about their vision impairment and it doesn’t hold them back from anything. CustomEyes 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.”

For more information on CustomEyes, which Guide Dogs offers to to schools and individuals, visit:

www.guidedogs.org.uk/services-we-provide/customeyes-books

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