Celebrate World Braille Day
Braille is a code that enables us to read with our fingertips using a system of six raised dots. It was created in 1824 by a French boy named Louis Braille who was born on January 4, 1809. Today, Braille is used all over the world in many languages.
Each year, we work to get Braille into the hands of more blind people. January 4 marks World Braille Day in celebration of its creator, Louis Braille. Every day, thousands of blind people use Braille for everything from shopping lists to labels for canned goods, from reading novels to solving math and scientific equations, from learning a piece of music to composing one. The increasing availability of Braille signs makes it easier for blind people to get around hotels, office buildings, government facilities, university campuses, and more. Braille is as flexible as print, can be learned in roughly the same amount of time, and can be read just as fluidly.
Future of Braille: Dynamic Tactile Device
There has long been a need for a multi-line Braille display that can reproduce both braille and tactile graphics. The National Federation of the Blind, along with our partners at the American Printing House for the Blind (APH) and HumanWare, believe that the time has come to make this dream a reality. We believe that technology has come far enough to make this device possible. Just as importantly, we believe that we have assembled the right team to make it a reality.
Now, for the first time, a truly unified effort has been launched to make this dream a reality. Our partners at APH have more than a century of experience providing Braille textbooks to blind students across the country. HumanWare has decades of expertise developing innovative technology used by blind people around the world. And we in the National Federation of the Blind belong to the nation's oldest organization of blind people. Who better to help develop this game-changing technology for blind people than blind people themselves?
Learning to Read: What Does Proficient Braille Look Like?
Here is a stack of Braille that is 44 inches tall from a recent Braille One class of twenty six educators learning Braille.
2,715.5 pages of Braille were completed by the participants in just ten weeks.
Building Speed: Four participants went from knowing no Braille to reading Braille – that’s zero words per minute and at the end of ten weeks a minimum of 30 words per minute.
Beginning Braille Readers: Ranged from 30 to 44 words per minute.
Highest Speed: 149 words per minute (that was an already braille reader).
Reading Levels: In ten weeks, beginners went from reading simple words to reading a 4th grade chapter book
Lifelong Learners: Of the four braille readers that were lifelong braille readers, they all four increased their reading speed between 17 wpm and 34 wpm.
Braille Enrichment for Literacy and Learning
If they won't teach blind students Braille and blindness skills, we will. One way is through our annual summer program for blind and low-vision children ages four to twelve. Here is a brief story of the impact from attending NFB BELL Academy®:
One student's first NFB BELL experience was also the first time she was introduced to Braille. Elizabeth, who has RP, was excited by daily exposure to the alphabet and would compete to be the first to announce the dot combinations for each letter. She continued Braille instruction in public school and it wasn’t long before she read her first book for recreation. Her mother, who also has RP, admitted that she had never read a book in her life because she didn’t know Braille. She had used print for class work when she was in school but did not enjoy reading.
Part of the success of the program must be in making the experience not only educational but fun. Learn more about NFB BELL Academy.
In January 2022, Google launched their new domain opportunity to promote special days and events for promoting a cause. We are excited to celebrate World Braille Day with the new URL www.Braille.day that directs people to this page. Join us in sharing this URL in your social media posts with how Braille impacts your life. Tag us using the @NFB_Voice.
Your help to promote Braille is critical to our mission. Please consider making a contribution to get more Braille in the hands of blind people. Together we transform dreams into reality.