Please help find large-print books, says girl, 14

PUBLISHED: 09:46 15 January 2009 | UPDATED: 15:58 11 May 2010

GEORGINA BULLEN with some of the photocopies she has to use. 3290DW009

GEORGINA BULLEN with some of the photocopies she has to use. 3290DW009

A SCHOOLGIRL is appealing for more resources to be made available for partially-sighted students swotting up for exams. Georgina Bullen, 14, is preparing to sit the first of her GCSE exams at Melbourn Village College. She suffers from macular degeneration

A SCHOOLGIRL is appealing for more resources to be made available for partially-sighted students swotting up for exams.

Georgina Bullen, 14, is preparing to sit the first of her GCSE exams at Melbourn Village College.

She suffers from macular degeneration, a rare disease that causes blind spots in her eyes.

Because of this, she can only read large print books, and is finding it difficult to obtain suitable revision guides.

"There isn't much out there at all, and when I contacted one of the main publishing companies, all they did was send me a load of huge photocopies held together by elastic bands," she said.

"I'm sure they just did it to shut me up, but they are totally impractical and too big for me to take into school."

Georgina, of High Street, Shepreth, had been hoping that the company would be able to provide her with an electronic version of the books.

"They have the computerised version which they send to the printers, and obviously this would be much more useful," she said.

"There are more than 20,000 visually impaired children in the UK who would benefit from these books being made available. Usually it would be illegal to discriminate like this, but there is a loophole for academic texts."

The teenager, who sits her first chemistry exam next month, has been campaigning on behalf of visually-impaired youngsters for some years.

In 2007, she visited Westminster as part of the Royal National Institute for the Blind's Right to Read campaign, and spoke to MPs, including then health secretary Alan Johnson.

Guy Garfit, owner of Royston-based website the Large Print Bookshop, which can supply any large print book currently in publication, said he regularly gets people requesting text books.

"There are a few problems surrounding text books, one of which is the way that they're designed," he said.

"To make them a manageable size, you would have to cut down on the amount of information included, and the way it is laid out.

"Currently, only new books are made available in large print, which means it is impossible to find anything that has been out a few years, even classic texts used in school like Of Mice and Men."

Mr Garfit hopes changes in the way large print books are produced will happen over the next few years, meaning more titles will be made available.

"I think there is the demand out there, but I can see why publishers aren't keen to make too many large-print titles because of the cost involved," he said.

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