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.

Barbara Miles defines literacy, its social functions, and the conditions necessary for its development. She includes numerous specific suggestions and activities to increase literacy skills.

Source: DB-LINK

A wealth of articles with literacy tips for every stage of development.

Source: FamilyConnect

These guidelines outline each step in making a fabric tactile book, from selecting a theme to gathering materials and putting it all together. (Microsoft Word Document)

Source: ClearVision

Includes both Math and ELA (English/Language Arts). These frameworks are based on the same Maryland Common Core Curriculum Frameworks that were adopted by the State Board and include the identified braille skills and expectations at each grade level (Pre-kindergarten through grade 12) for students who read braille. The standards provide a clear roadmap of braille instruction for teachers and parents to improve literacy skills for students who read braille.

Source: Maryland School Performance

Includes both Math and ELA (English/Language Arts). These frameworks are based on the same Maryland Common Core Curriculum Frameworks that were adopted by the State Board and include the identified braille skills and expectations at each grade level (Pre-kindergarten through grade 12) for students who read braille. The standards provide a clear roadmap of braille instruction for teachers and parents to improve literacy skills for students who read braille.

The mission of the National Braille Association is "to provide continuing education to those who prepare braille, and to provide braille materials to persons who are visually impaired."

Source: National Braille Association

A non-profit braille publisher, National Braille Press promotes the literacy of blind children through braille, and provides access to information that empowers blind people to actively engage in work, family, and community affairs.

NCDB is a national technical assistance and dissemination center for information about deafblindness. While most resources focus on the needs of children and youth, there is wealth of information here in the Adult Services section.

"Through a national network of cooperating libraries, NLS administers a free library program of braille and audio materials circulated to eligible borrowers in the United States by postage-free mail."

Source: Library of Congress

Search the NLS catalog of braille and audio books. This service is available for free to people with a visual or physical disability that prevents them from reading the printed page. Check your eligibility and apply here.

Source: Library of Congress

Information on adaptive equipment and techniques is displayed here.

Writer and AFB Member Deborah Kendrick summarizes an informal survey of consumers with varying degrees of visual impairment in regard to note-taking and information management.

Source: American Foundation for the Blind (AFB)

In her dissertation for the University of Stuttgart, Christine Lauenstein examines whether braille's structural elements "inhibit writing performance because they interfere with language processes" and result in poor spelling skills.

Source: University of Stuttgart

This page of the Paths to Literacy site provides a brief introduction to braille, including how it was invented, what the difference is between contracted and uncontracted braille, and additional resources for learning more about braille.

Source: Paths to Literacy

This interactive site is an online hub for all aspects of literacy for students who are blind or visually impaired, including those with additional disabilities. A collaboration between Perkins School for the Blind and Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Paths to Literacy invites users to share strategies, technology, resources, and research. Get a tour of the site here.

This site offers an overview, a self-study course with a quiz section to test your comprehension, readings, activities, resources, and more.

Source: Cornell University

Authors Cindy Reed-Brown and Peggy Palmer share aspects of the pre-braille curricula that are helpful for families who want to support their child's pre-literacy skills. There are additional resources listed at the end of the article.

Source: Paths to Literacy

Terry Connolly discusses a variety of pre-braille experiences, including number concepts and patterns, motor skills, braille in everyday life,  literature rich experiences, reading from left to right, and moving from the concrete to the abstract.

Source: National Federation of the Blind (NFB)

This section of the Paths to Literacy site offers an introduction to teaching literacy skills to students with low vision, instructional strategies for students with a visual impairment, information on magnification, technology for students with low vision, sources of large print materials, and tools for handwriting, and print.

Source: Paths to Literacy

Over 50,000 free full-text books no longer under copyright. Downloaded books can be read with a screen reader or scanner.

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