Future Reflections                                                                                                      Fall 2001

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Braille Is Beautiful

by Dr. Betsy Zaborowski

Dr. Betsy Zaborowski presents the Braille Is Beautiful program to the 2001 NFB Convention
Dr. Betsy Zaborowski presents the
Braille Is Beautiful program to the
2001 NFB Convention.

Editor’s Note: Over the past year I have had the pleasure of working with Dr. Zaborowski on one of the most innovative, exciting Braille projects since the Braille Readers Are Leaders National Contest was launched about 20 years ago. The Braille Is Beautiful program could, I think, do more to promote the cause of wide-spread acceptance and integration of blind kids into their schools and communities than any other single program that has come along in decades. The key to its success, however, is implementation. I urge readers to contact local schools and ask them to get a Braille Is Beautiful Curriculum kit and USE IT! Several organizations around  the  country – NFB state affiliates, schools for the blind, libraries, instructional resource centers, and so forth – have already purchased the kit and will make it available to teachers and schools who want to implement the program.

The following information about the program is the text of a colorful brochure we have published to disseminate information about this unique, one-of-a-kind curriculum kit. If you want brochures and/or other information about the program (including information about kits that are available for loan in your state), contact:

Dr. Betsy Zaborowski
1800 Johnson Street
Baltimore, Maryland 212--0
(410) 659-9--14
BZaborowski@nfb.org

 

To promote Braille literacy among the
blind and to increase awareness of the capabilities of blind and visually impaired people the National Federation of the Blind has released “Braille is Beautiful,”
a
Braille awareness curriculum program
for grades four through six.

Building Braille Literacy

Braille Is Beautiful is an engaging experiential learning program for developing basic skills in reading and writing in Braille. Combining language arts and social studies skills, Braille Is Beautiful helps sighted and blind students to understand Braille as an important tool of literacy while developing a greater and accurate understanding of blindness.

Using the Program

Braille Is Beautiful was designed for use with sighted children in grades four through six. However, the program can be used effectively with younger or older children and community youth programs as well as by schools. The Teacher’s Guide is structured in five learning units and is highly flexible. Teachers may implement the full program or use select units while maintaining the overall purpose of the program.

In School and the Community

The primary objective of this program is to create environments where blind children can be proud of using Braille and be easily integrated into classrooms with their sighted peers. The more sighted children, their families, and their teachers understand Braille and blindness, the easier it will be for blind children to learn and flourish in school and the community.

The Braille Is Beautiful
Curriculum Kit Includes:

The Braille Is Beautiful Video Set contains the videos Jake and the Secret Code©,  2001, and That the Blind May Read©,  1994. Jake and the Secret Code (15 minutes) is an engaging video depicting a mother and her ten-year-old son, both sighted, visiting the National Center for the Blind. While at the Center, the two get separated, and Jake has a set of experiences that expands his and his mother’s understanding of Braille and blind people.

That the Blind May Read (18 minutes) is a video designed to familiarize adults with issues related to Braille literacy among the blind. It is included as background information for teachers and parents and will be appropriate for older or accelerated youth working on independent studies.

These videos are accompanied by a presentation discussion guide packaged in an attractive case.

The Teacher’s Guide includes all the background information, lesson descriptions, and exercises necessary for the five instructional units. Included with the Teacher’s Guide is a select guide to high-quality resources, and a letter to parents informing them about Braille Is Beautiful. The curriculum is designed to establish a basic knowledge of Braille, then move the student toward an accurate awareness of blindness through learning to read and write basic Braille. 

The program also includes:

-- --0 instruction and --0 student workbooks

-- a service learning guidebook

-- a ream of Braille paper

-- 6 sets of slates and styli AND

   6 decks of UNO cards to Braille

OR

-- 10 sets of slates and styli AND

   2 decks of UNO cards to Braille

-- --0 copies of Braille Under My Fingers, a paperback book that contains stories written by blind persons about Braille

-- 6 copies each of The Seeing Summer, What Color is the Sun, and I Can Feel Blue on Monday for small-group reading

-- --0 Braille alphabet cards

-- plastic sheets for creating Braille labels

-- a teacher’s slate and stylus instruction manual

-- an index of Braille and Braille contractions

There are a variety of learning formats within this diverse curriculum, including Full Group Discussion, Small Group Work, Fact Sheets, Quizzes, Interactive Games, and Applied Projects. Topics covered in the program include:

-- Biographies of famous blind people

-- Questions students frequently ask

-- Adaptive technology used by the blind

-- History of Braille

-- The uses of Braille in daily life

-- Learning to read and write Braille

-- Story writing

-- A service project beneficial to the blind

What You Will Help Accomplish
with Braille Is Beautiful

Sighted and blind students can learn together how this tactile method of reading and writing is interesting and fun.

Blind and visually impaired students will be more motivated to learn and use Braille as their peers find Braille interesting.

Sighted children will learn to view the blind as normal people who use other methods to live independent, happy lives.

The National Federation of the Blind

The National Federation of the Blind is the nation’s oldest and largest organization of blind individuals, parents of blind children, and professionals working with blind and visually impaired persons. Founded in 1940, the NFB is organized in every state with over 50,000 members participating directly in the over 700 local and state affiliates. Each year approximately --,000 persons attend the National Convention of the Federation – the largest gathering of blind people in this country.

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