Reading in Low Vision

Reading adds color to my life. From my closely-held baby books, to my cherished copy of Matilda, to my rotating collection of library books from mysteries to memoirs to cookbooks, to my required-reading English novels, to my anything-that-sounds-good book from a friend, a blog, a podcast review. I keep turning pages.

When I gained low vision, I discovered a true devastation: I could not read. Not regular print books anyway. I worked to figure out a way to fix my illiteracy as I would not be giving up books anytime soon. That would be like asking me to get divorced or stop breathing. Not gonna happen.

I love the smell and feel of physical books, but my low vision pushed me towards digital books. I fell in love with eBooks because of my visual impairment.

How do I read books? I use a variety of tools:

  • I increase the font size and change the contrast to black background with white text on my Kobo app, Kindle app, and 3M Cloud Library app for library eBooks and purchased eBooks.
  • I use VoiceOver, Apple’s text-to-speech feature, on eBooks that are accessible.
  • I use a CCTV to magnify paperbacks.
  • I use Kurzweil 1000 software to scan pages and turn text into speech.
  • I listen to audiobooks on CDs and the OverDrive app.

I won’t stop reading. Braille and NLS Talking Books are my back up if I lose more vision. I have a reading contingency plan. Do you? Readers represent.

How do you read books?


11 Comments Add yours

  1. Modwyn says:

    Always one of my favorite topics! Great post!

  2. tacokitten says:

    Hey! I’ve just nominated you for a Liebster award. It’s like a fun tagging thing. 🙂
    If you like, have a look!

    1. Thanks for the nomination Tacokitten!

  3. Great post. I realise I’m addicted to stories so manage to read on my ipad – enlarged and, deoending on the print, with glasses and magnifier but sometimes just enlarged. More and more I listen to talking books which I download from audible. Our library has individual mp3 books which are fine but sometimes difficult to find your place if you doze off! They also have cds but my cd player is old and unreliable.

    Recent listening: The Hired Man by Amanita Forma (I think this is my favourite anti war book ever – very subtle – starts as a sort of holiday read and becomes more and more complex. Wonderful writing.) Well read by DMark Leadbetter)
    Middlemarch by George Eliot (clearly this classic was written to be read aloud. Beautifully read by Maureen O’Brien)

    1. Anewlook: it IS tough to find your place after you doze off while listening to an audiobook. The two books you mentioned sound great, I will be checking them out. Middlemarch lives on that perpetual “I should get around to reading that” shelf.

  4. Trisha says:

    I didn’t want to like eBooks. I feared they would be the death of used bookstores and I like the shape and feel of books, the smoothness of an unwrinkled cover. But, after reading mostly on my Kindle for the past couple of years, it’s hard to go back to a paper book. It seems like such a struggle to keep them open to the right page. I have always been fascinated with Braille so that would be my contingency plan. I have serious attention deficit issues when it comes to audio!

    1. Isn’t it strange, the resistance to eBooks that turns into acceptance and then preference. Used bookstores have their own niche, but over time it seems like that will disappear. At least independent stores can sell eBooks thru Kobo.

  5. This post gave me a sense of relief because I have finally come across someone who is having the same experience as me. Because where I live and where I go to school at, I haven’t come across a blind a visually impaired community there. I’m still trying to figure out a way to get digital books that are available for IT students. But that may be a project that I will need to work on. I am happy that there are other alternatives for us to be able to read books. But I still miss holding a book & that is one thing that will never really change. I appreciate you for sharing this with me. Thank you

    1. I’m happy to hear this was helpful for you. Also, in case you didn’t already know, the NFB has a Students division. Here is the page which includes resources by State, etc:

      1. Thanks for the information. i will take a look at the site

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