Bonanza School creates braille books for local students

After months of hard work, 16 Grade 5 and 6 students from Bonanza School have delivered braille books to the library at Crystal Park School in Grande Prairie. What began as a visit from Mrs. Karen Beatty, teacher for the visually impaired through Peace Collaborative Services, has turned into 100 books translated into braille for students from Peace Wapiti Public School Division, Grande Prairie Public School Division, Peace River School Division, Holy Family Catholic Regional Division in Peace River and Northern Gateway Public Schools in Whitecourt to enjoy.

Since learning how to braille, the students worked together to translate books they purchased from a used bookstore. They then recorded themselves reading the books, offering students with visual impairments and other disabilities a variety of ways to enjoy the stories. Bonanza School Principal Theresa Simmonds says the students helped edit each other’s braille work and critiqued each other’s recordings to ensure a high-quality result, and that it took approximately 1400 recordings to get the perfect audio for all the books.


In addition to braille and audio, students learned how to use a PIAF Picture in a Flash machine to make simple drawings to add to an assortment of the books. The PIAF machine works with the carbon in the ink to raise it off the page, so that those with visual impairments can feel the picture.

On March 12, the students met with Mrs. Beatty and Mrs. Hampton, Crystal Park School librarian, to share and deliver their books, which will be catalogued into the library and available to any student across the five school divisions.

After reflecting on their project, students shared that they are more confident in their writing and editing skills, they enjoyed learning a new language, their empathy for others has grown and that hard work can bring them great happiness.

Bonanza School would like to thank Faking Sanity for its generous deal on the books, Saddle Hills County for the donation of 100 data sticks for the audio recordings, Mrs. Hampton for cataloguing and housing the books, and Mrs. Beatty and the Peace Collaborative Team for bringing them this wonderful project and continuing to support students throughout the Peace Country.