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3 CVI Literacy Adaptations

March 8, 2021 No Comments

 3 CVI Literacy Adaptations

Accessing picture books, text, vocabulary, and other literacy components can be challenging for some students with cortical visual impairment. When teaching literacy skills, many CVI characteristics need to be considered, such as color preference, difficulties with visual complexity, visual field preference, and more. In this article, we are going to focus on three CVI literacy adaptations that you can use in your classroom or therapy room.

The text "Three CVI Literacy Strategies" is shown. There are three images included which show three CVI literacy adaptations: remove the background, vocabulary cards, and windows.

What CVI Literacy Adaptations can I use when working with my students?

#1 “Windows”

The text "windows" is written above the images. The left image shows a page of the book. The right image shows the same page of the book, however most of the page (besides a picture of a bus) is behind the black cardstock window.

You can create black windows by cutting “windows” of squares/rectangles in black paper, as seen in the picture above. Windows of different sizes can be cut depending on the size of the image in the book that is being targeted. These windows allow the teacher to help draw attention to the important part of the page, rather than students being overwhelmed by the entire page. By doing this, you are reducing the visual complexity of the field for students. Students with and without visual impairments can benefit from this strategy.


CVI Literacy Adaptation #2: Remove the Background

The text "remove the background" is written at the top of the image. Below the text, an image shows an inside page of a book. The book shows a busy fall scene with buses, trees, people, etc. Below the book, a cutout of a single bus is shown on black cardstock.

Another strategy to reduce visual clutter is by completely removing the background. To do this, copy the pages of the book. Following this, you will cut out the one or two important images from each page of the book. Then, glue these images onto a black sheet of paper, along with the text (when appropriate). Then, laminate these pages and use this copy of the book for students with CVI. With this strategy, students are accessing the same text, however, you are reducing visual complexity and you can take a student’s visual field preference into account.


#3 Use Corresponding Vocabulary Cards

The text "vocabulary cards" is shown at the top of the image. Below the text, the inside page of a book is shown which shows a fall scene with buses, people, trees, etc. To the right of the book, vocabulary cards are shown. The top vocab card shows a real image of a bus. The bottom vocab card shows a clipart image of a bus.

A third option to reduce visual complexity is to use corresponding vocabulary cards. For this, you would create picture cards for the important images/items from the book. This can be beneficial to students who need specific sets of images, such as real images or images in specific colors because of color preference.

You can find an example of winter-themed vocabulary cards here. These vocab cards include only clipart images.


Looking for other tips and tricks related to cortical visual impairment? Check out these other articles!

Teaching Counting to Students with CVI

“Go” Core Vocabulary Activities for Students with CVI


Shoutout to the picture book I used in the images, “I See Fall,” it is one of my favorites!


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