“O the delicious taste of independence that comes with an embossed book, and a Braille tablet!”
- Helen Keller
To celebrate World Braille Day 2015, marked annually on January 4th in honor of Louis Braille, the inventor of braille who was born on this day in 1809, we've gathered 10 braille resources and articles you'll want to bookmark and share. Happy World Braille Day!
AFB's online museum celebrating "200 Years: The Life and Legacy of Louis Braille" honored the Louis Braille Bicentennial by tracing his life through photographs, engravings, and illustrations from AFB's rare books collection.
DOTS for Braille Literacy is a free newsletter from the American Foundation for the Blind which provides information about new braille products and publications, news items from the Braille Authority of North America, a question-and-answer column, as well as strategies for teaching braille. It's a terrific resource for teachers, parents, family members, and anyone interested in braille literacy.
3. A free webinar from the AFB eLearning Center, presented by Dr. Frances Mary D’Andrea, current Chair of the Braille Authority of North America (BANA), will tell you everything you need to know about the upcoming implementation of Unified English Braille. You can also earn 1 hour of professional development credit from the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals (ACVREP) by purchasing a certificate.
On FamilyConnect, Shannon Carollo reflects on Louis Braille's Gift of Furthering Independence for People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired. Explore FamilyConnect's Literacy Resources for Parents of Children Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired, as well as AFB's Sources of Braille Children's Books and Magazines.
Helen Keller's speech "Braille, the Magic Wand of the Blind" is a wonderful tribute to Louis Braille's code. As she says, "Braille's invention was as marvelous as any fairy tale. Only six dots! Yet when he touched a blank sheet of paper, lo! it became alive with words that sparkled in the darkness of the blind!"
From the VisionAware blog, a pair of first-person accounts illustrate the importance as well as staying power of the braille code: My Journey Back to Braille and Why Braille is so Important to Me. Read these and other personal accounts about the importance of the braille code on VisionAware.
- AFB's Braille Bug® site was created to help sighted children learn about braille through accessible games, riddles, and "secret messages," as well as a kid-friendly biography of Louis Braille.
8. Once you've gotten excited about braille, move onto the real thing with the Braille Trail® Activity Kit with Slate and Stylus. You can write your own braille messages! The kit includes The Braille Trail® Activity Book, a Janus slate and stylus, two braille sheets with secret messages, a Braille Bug® Alphabet card, and a Braille Bug® Alphabet Poster.
If you are working with people with vision loss or need specific information related to visual impairment, AFB Press publishes peer-reviewed journal articles, books, and age-specific information on braille literacy that can help you find the practical tips and teaching strategies you need.
How are you celebrating World Braille Day? We'd love to hear your ideas in the comments.