By Silvia Steele
January is the month of New Year’s resolutions, making changes and trying new things. I love to read and one of my resolutions is to read more books this year. Diversity in education and learning is of special interest to me, so I was excited to read about Louis Braille in honor of National World Braille Day and Braille Literacy Month. Louis Braille is honored on his birthday, January 4th and credited with inventing Braille, a system of reading and writing developed for people who are blind. He became blind at the age of 3 and began developing the Braille system in his teens. Did you know that Braille is a code and not a language? Braille is a tactile system that uses six dots to represent existing letters, numbers, and even musical, mathematical, and scientific symbols. When children learn Braille, they need to learn many of the same concepts that other students do when they learn to read, in addition to skills specific for Braille literacy. Sighted children can explore and learn Braille alongside their Braille-reading peers in a lot of fun and interesting ways. Braillebug.org provides Braille activities for sighted children and LEGO® recently introduced LEGO® Braille Bricks which incorporate learning Braille with play, for all children. It is important for children (and adults) to understand and be exposed to stories and experiences about diversity in learning. There are many different ways to learn! Join us the first week of January in the Tinkering Tank where we will highlight Braille and tactile activities.
Below are just a few resources for families to explore!
- This 4-minute animated video by Adventure Academy as part of their Great Inventors Series gives children a brief introduction to the life of Louis Braille.
- The book, Six Dots– A Story of Young Louis Braille by Jen Bryant, is also available as a read aloud:
- Digital technology has enhanced all our lives, but could you imagine only listening to books being read and never reading printed words? Students and professionals share stories about the importance of Braille literacy and describe what Braille means to them, in this video from Perkins School for the Blind.
- There are many people who have blindness, low vision/partially sighted who use assistive technology, devices, and tools every day.
- Overview of Assistive Technology
- Tactile caliper:
- Braille and large print books:
- National Library of Congress- That All May Read Program
- National Braille Press
- Resources for families and educators:
- Family Connect
- Celebrating Braille Literacy Month
- Braille Bug
- Sharing braille with sighted classmates
- Visually Impaired Advancement (formerly the Olmsted Center for Sight)