200 Years of Braille

Jan 21, 2011
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To honor the father of the Braille code, Louis Braille, January is the National Braille Literacy Awareness Month. For the National Federation of the Blind (NFB), Braille literacy awareness is a continuous effort throughout the entire year. Braille literacy programs and initiatives are very important to the NFB. The statistics of Braille use among people who are blind is alarmingly low.  Due to access issues and not being taught Braille, about 90% of children who are blind are not learning to read and write. It is the mission of the National Federation of the Blind to promote Braille literacy to everyone.

Below are some of the National Federation of the Blind’s programs:

NFB Braille Reading Pals Club
The NFB Braille Reading Pals Club introduces young children and their families to Braille through distribution of dual media (Braille and print) books, plus a reading pal for each child, a monthly parent e-newsletter that offers pre-literacy tips, a quarterly Braille activity sheet for children, Braille birthday cards for participants and access to a network of resources devoted to serving parents of children who are blind.

NFB Braille Readers Are Leaders Contest
This national contest is for students (in kindergarten through twelfth grade) who read Braille and all adult Braille readers.  The purpose of this program is to promote the joy of reading for pleasure, to promote a pride in Braille as a viable literacy medium equal to print and to demonstrate the importance of independent reading in the development of Braille literacy skills.

NFB Braille Enrichment for Literacy and Learning (BELL) Summer Program
This is a two-week Braille intensive summer program implemented in states across the country for students who have low-vision. As of summer 2011, we will have approximately eight states facilitating BELL programs.

NFB Braille Is Beautiful
This innovative diversity awareness program for children who are sighted teaches students how to read and write the Braille alphabet code and increases students’ sensitivity to and understanding of people who are blind. This program serves as a great awareness tool in classrooms with and without students who are blind.

Braille Certification Training Program
The NFB offers courses in literary, mathematics and music transcribing, as well as literary and mathematics proofreading for Library of Congress certification.

NFB ShareBraille
NFB Sharebraille.org is an online Braille book exchange that is open to the public.

A Little About Louis Braille
Louis Braille was born on January 4, 1809 and at the age of 3 became blind. At just 15 years old, Louis published the first-ever Braille book. He then developed Braille codes for math and music. Unfortunately, Braille was not taught until after the death of Louis Braille in 1868. He died in 1852.

Author: Jenny Carlton