Did you know that only 10 percent of visually impaired children are learning to read braille? I think it’s fair to assume that the general sighted population would be outraged if this applied to them. So why has there been a decline in the number of individuals reading and writing braille?
Braille is the building block of literacy for the visually impaired just as print is the building block of literacy for the sighted.
According to the Hadley Institute for the Blind and Visually Impaired, there are many factors at play, the most significant of which is changes in thinking about braille: “In recent years, there has been an emphasis on using residual vision combined with the technologies now available to increase print size…others feel strongly that blind and visually impaired individuals should be offered a wide variety of literacy options, including braille.” Braille is the building block of literacy for the visually impaired just as print is the building block of literacy for the sighted.
Getting started with braille can seem super daunting, especially for sighted parents and caregivers who may be unfamiliar, even a little uncomfortable with braille. To support parents and caregivers of pre-braille readers, LBPH has created a set of Early Literacy Braille Kits that can be borrowed from the library! Each kit contains books (in braille and large print so that children and the adults who care for them can enjoy them together), writing tools, and developmentally appropriate toys with multi-sensory appeal: braille alphabet blocks, a shapes sound puzzle, figurines with differing abilities, even special paper to create your own tactile drawings! Tools and resources for parents and caregivers, like a handheld brailler and the book Braille for the Sighted, are included too. Each kit may be borrowed for one month at a time, free of charge, by patrons of the National Library Service (NLS) living in Pennsylvania.
Want more information about our Early Literacy Braille Kits? Call or email us at 412.687.2440 / firstname.lastname@example.org with requests to borrow a kit or for more information!