Dedicated to Improving the Lives of Blind and Visually Impaired People

September is National Literacy Month

by B. E. Lewis, RDPFS Intern:

National Literacy Month, commemorated in September, is a good time to encourage  children and adults to pick up a book or challenge themselves to boost literacy. For children with visual impairments, achieving literacy is not significantly different from achieving the same for sighted children.  “All children, regardless of whether or not they have a vision loss or additional challenges, learn through repeated and frequent exposure to meaningful hands-on experiences in order to develop basic concepts that are the foundation of literacy,” according to Charlotte Cushman, writing on the Paths to Literacy website. In this way, young learners develop basic concepts that are the foundation of literacy. In the past, the term literacy focused specifically on the ability to read and write, whereas now a broader definition is becoming increasingly accepted.  Speaking, listening, object communication, sign language, concept development, and an understanding of one’s environment and experiences are all part of a more inclusive view of literacy. During September and beyond, a variety of resources may be helpful in efforts to improve literacy at home, at school, and in communities across the nation. For general information read the Alliance for Children and Families webpage announcing that September is National Literacy Month.  A discussion on the importance of literacy for students who are blind or visually impaired is included in the Paths to Literacy blog on an Introduction to Literacy. To find out about some useful resources related to literacy, Paths to Literacy also offers a list of useful Basic Reading Resources with tips that can apply to all readers as well as Literacy Tip Sheets. To learn more about research related to literacy and children with visual impairment, read the National Library of Medicine article on Literacy and visual impairment.

Getting in Touch with Literacy Conference: November 29 to December 2, 2023

The Getting in Touch with Literacy (GITWL) Conference will bring together the most current thinking on all options of literacy for individuals who are blind or visually impaired, including print, braille, auditory, tactile graphics comprehension and the use of technology. This event will be held in St. Pete Beach, Florida, with an early registration fee of $275 until August 31, 2023, and $325 through October 31, 2023. Eight virtual sessions will be provided as well, “to capture the spirit of in-person interactions with robust conversations using a variety of breakout rooms and other online meeting tools.” Each of these sessions can be joined, and shared with a group if desired, for $30. Continuing education credits are available to attendees. For more information, read a Paths to Literacyblog on Getting in Touch with Literacy or visit the GITWL website.