In honor of Louis Braille’s legacy and his birthday on January 4, 1809, the month of January each year is commemorated as Braille Literacy Month. This month-long celebration heightens awareness and understanding of braille in today’s world. For example:
Did you know that Louis Braille was15-years-old when he invented braille? And that it is “not a language,” but a tactile code? Many languages, in fact, can be read and written in braille. Braille benefits many people with vision impairment, including individuals with “dual sensory loss and/or multiple disabilities. These are among the facts included in “6 things you didn’t know about braille,” from Perkins School for the Blind in Celebrating Braille Literacy Month.
Whether or not braille is still relevant, given this “High Tech World,” is a question considered in an article from Paths to Literacy: Celebrate Braille Literacy Month! For the answer, they suggest thinking about the sighted world: Would we “get rid of pencils and pens, now that computers and digital devices are available?” Braille is, in fact, frequently used in conjunction with audio and is also used by individuals of all ages. To help introduce young children to braille, they provide offerings such as ideas for creating tactile books, story boxes, lessons for beginning braille readers. Websites and activities are also included to introduce children who are sighted to braille basics, such as Braille Bug® (APH), and a Braille Chart for Sighted Classmates Learning Braille Visually (from Jessica McDowell, TVI). Check out some resources for parents in this article as well to Celebrate Braille Literacy Month!