Literacy and Braille Resources

Literacy at its simplest means the ability to read and write. However, it starts with comprehension and encompasses many media and formats, including listening, speaking, and object communication. Most children aim for basic or academic literacy, which is the ability to use reading as a tool to gain more knowledge. Others will strive to attain functional literacy, which supports the activities of daily life. This section offers an introduction to the forms of literacy for children who are blind and visually impaired, ranging from tactile symbols and calendar boxes to print and braille.

 A 4-page fact sheet from the Perkins Braille and Talking Book Library provides basic information about the braille system and its history. (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)

Source: Perkins School for the Blind

Judi Cannon prepared four pages of games to make learning braille fun for elementary school-aged children who are sighted.

Source: Perkins School for the Blind

NFB offers many braille-related programs through its Jernigan Institute, including the Braille Certification Training Program for people who want to become braille transcribers.

Source: National Federation of the Blind (NFB)

NLS "lists instructional materials, supplies, and equipment currently available for learning braille, and cites sources about braille literacy."

Source: National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS)

The Blindness Resource Center is a valuable Internet resource for information about braille: description, history, Louis Braille's biography, legislative initiatives, organizations, advocacy, research, software, educational materials, and transcription services.

Source: New York Institute for Special Education

Young learners will enjoy memorizing the braille alphabet with this rap song, with a unique dance-like gesture to accompany each letter; features an audio recording of the song, and the complete lyrics.

Source: Paths to Literacy

Explains the requirements of the braille instruction provision in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

Source: The National Organization of Parents of Blind Children (NOPBC)

ACB's nationwide directory lists individuals and agencies who transcribe braille; arranged alphabetically.

Source: American Council of the Blind (ACB)

The braille section of the Paths to Literacy site offers an overview, instructional strategies, pre-braille, tactile graphics, technology for braille readers, sources of print/braille books, tools for writing braille, braille production, and brailler repair. Users may post content, and there is also a forum for questions and answers related to braille literacy.

Source: Paths to Literacy

BRL is "an online instructional program that provides teachers, parents, social workers, and current/future braille transcribers with … online courses in braille and braille transcribing."

CELL is committed to the adoption of evidence-based early literacy learning practices, with information for parents, educators, and researchers.

This article offers guidelines and good topics for stimulating books for parents to make with their children.

Source: American Foundation for the Blind (AFB)

This self-study course in braille, designed for people with vision and presented in Spanish, was created by Carmen Roig and is available online at no charge. 

Source: ONCE

Educators Alan J. Koenig, Mary Jean Sanspree, and M. Cay Holbrook state "the position of DVI regarding the determination of the reading medium for students with visual impairments."

Source: American Federation for the Blind (AFB)

This site is "dedicated to demystifying braille and to presenting new ideas for learning and presenting braille."  It includes an introduction to braille, tips for teachers, and a special section for parents.

Includes free braille lessons for families.

Source: Paths to Literacy

This web site, which is now a part of Paths to Literacy, is for family members, teachers, and "others interested in promoting literacy opportunities for young children with visual impairments."  It includes a who's who and sections on braille writing, lessons, technology, fun and games, and stories.

Source: Paths to Literacy

Deirdre Leech’s webcast explores the meaning of literacy for students with multiple disabilities or deafblindness, and discusses specialized formats that maximize access.

Source: Perkins School for the Blind

Parent Dinell Stuckey compiled this resource list of e-books with a short description of what is available on each site.

Source: Perkins School for the Blind

This section of the Paths to Literacy website offers an introduction to emergent literacy. You'll find tips for helping young children developing literacy skills and supportive routines, story box ideas from Norma Drissel, tactile experience books, pre-braille, emergent writing, and technology. There is also information about early literacy for students with multiple disabilities. Users may post content, including strategies, technology, resources, and research, and there is also a Q&A forum.

Source: Paths to Literacy