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World Braille Day

December 18th 2020| Michael Mountford
December 18th 2020 |

World Braille Day

How did it start?

World Braille Day has been celebrated since 2019, and is an opportunity to raise awareness of the issues impacting those who are blind or visually impaired within our society.

Its celebration on the 4th of January is because it is the birthday of Louis Braille, the inventor of the tactile language.

This day is dedicated to spreading awareness about braille and other forms of communication. For some communities around the world, braille alternatives and education are still inaccessible for those who need them.

Digital braille display

Teaching in school

It is of the upmost importance that children are taught from a young age about how wide and diverse the world is, and how everyone has many differing abilities. Today more than 30,000 children in the UK alone use braille in order to help them communicate.

Teacher assisting blind student in library at school

Best practices for teaching in school

Making sure that children are in a fun learning environment is key.

When teaching braille, try and use these tips that I found here in order to make it as fun and engaging as possible; you can find a short excerpt below.

Emphasise enjoying braille and having fun with it.  There is an expression that “play is the work of children.” It’s important for young children with visual impairments to enjoy reading and writing braille, rather than regarding it as an arduous task that is to be resisted.  Adults can make braille fun by incorporating children’s ideas in what they read and write, in keeping sessions short, and in modelling their own pleasure in braille literacy. 

Give children the opportunity to playfully explore reading and writing.  Let them pretend to read as they move their fingers across pages, even if they have no idea what the letters and words say.  And let them form patterns and pretend to write before you ask them to produce conventional braille characters.

Enthusiastically accept approximations, or all attempts to read and produce braille.  Then gradually guide children to use correct posture and hand formation, to read real letters, to decode real words, and to produce Braille which is increasingly closer to conventional braille.  A component of incorporating fun into early braille is giving children the freedom to attempt it without needing to adhere to rules they are not  developmentally ready for.  That is, while some children will be motivated to form correct characters with correct fingering right from the beginning, others will be easily discouraged if every early attempt is suppressed because a key is pressed with the wrong finger, or a character is inverted.

Braille in the world today

Unfortunately, Louis died just two years prior to his alma mater adopting a braille curriculum within their school- meaning he never saw how his invention has helped shape a more inclusive world.

All over the world however we can see how his invention has been adopted by nearly everyone; book publishers offering braille transcripts of their books, many education establishments providing free access to braille learning and workbooks, businesses providing braille documents and many other examples.

Resources

We have a collection of resources designed to help you teach about Louis Braille and his amazing work on helping those who require visual aid as well as some fun braille activities that

Who Was Louis Braille Information Text
Discuss The Life Of Louis Braille Activity
Louis Braille Alphabet Mat
Louis Braille Write Your Name In Braille

We hope that this blog has been informative and will help teach your class all about the life and work of Louis Braille as well as teaching about the process of understanding the tactile language of braille.

View all posts by: Michael Mountford
Categories: Topic Calendar
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