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.

Diane Miller shares her experiences in helping her blind daughter to develop literacy skills. She describes the importance of bridging concepts, her search for braille books, homemade books, and how she created a literate environment.

Source: American Foundation for the Blind (AFB)

A “resource to provide classroom teachers with a selection of strategies to address the reading needs of students with visual impairments.”

Source: Special Education Technology British Columbia

Reading and writing with low vision optical and non-optical devices, braille, large print, listening, and handwriting.

Source: VisionAware

List of resources for families of children who are blind or visually impaired on topics such as Parenting and General Information, Family Life and Siblings, Literacy, Braille Books and Learning Materials, and Education, Advocacy & Early Intervention.

Source: Perkins School for the Blind

One of the leading service agencies in the United Kingdom, RNIB offers practical support, advice, and imaginative solutions to anyone with a vision disorder; distributes braille and Talking Books nationwide.

Source: Royal National Institute for Blind People (RNIB)

Seedlings Braille Books for Children is a non-profit, tax-exempt organization dedicated to increasing the opportunity for literacy by providing high quality, low cost braille books for children.

Sensational Books is devoted to making art more accessible for those who are blind or visually impaired. The company was founded by  Ann Cunningham, an award winning botanical illustrator and Art Teacher at the Colorado Center for the Blind. Though the product line is not extensive, of particular interest for science teachers of the visually impaired is the option of custom ordering tactile graphics. 

Sensational books also offers the Sensational Blackboard - a very portable, versatile, inexpensive drawing tool. See review.

 

For those in Colorado, workshops offered by Sensational Books may be of interest. These workshops are customized to the group for which the workshop is intended.  Learn more.

 

AFB provides a list "of sources for borrowing or purchasing braille and print/braille children's books and magazines in the United States."

Source: American Foundation for the Blind (AFB)

This page of the Paths to Literacy site lists publishers, organizations, and distributors of books in braille and large print.

Source: Paths to Literacy

This article includes general facts regarding braille students, as well as classroom considerations.

Source: Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI)

RNIB's classroom resources pages contain suggestions for specific subject areas, including Geography

Source: Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB)

Braille instruction expert Lucia Hasty discusses the importance of language and concept development for young children who are blind as skills needed for braille literacy.

Source: Perkins School for the Blind, Perkins eLearning

A video demonstration by Dr. Denise Robinson of Tech Vision of a remote braille instruction technique using Skype.

Source: Paths to Literacy

This booklet offers suggestions for making tactile books for young children with visual impairment (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader).

Source: RNIB National Centre for Tactile Diagrams

Paths to Literacy addresses the Core Standards in terms of literacy and learning medium

Source: Paths to Literacy

This special issue of Future Reflections is devoted to the first years of a child's life. It includes sections on learning at home, movement and mobility, touch, literacy, and formal education.

Source: National Federation of the Blind (NFB)

NIMAS is a national technical standard that requires learning materials be made accessible to students with print disabilities as quickly as possible. All NIMAS sources are easily converted into braille, audio, large print, and digital text. 

Source: National Center on Accessible Educational Materials

Use this search engine to find over 2,000,000 free digital books on the Web, which can be read with a screen reader or scanner program.

Source: University of Pennsylvania

Teachers will find many practical suggestions for incorporating braille into a regular classroom. Projects, games, and activities designed to introduce sighted students to braille and help them feel comfortable with their classmates who are blind.

Source: American Foundation for the Blind (AFB)

AFB's article offers specific strategies to help preschool children develop essential literacy skills.

Source: American Foundation for the Blind (AFB)

Pages