Braille is a system of raised dots that are grouped into tactile symbols representing letters and numbers. Braille is a proven literacy tool that enriches the lives of blind people.
In 2018, the United Nations General Assembly declared that World Braille Day would be celebrated on January 4th, the birthday of the inventor Louis Braille. Many organizations designate January as Braille Literacy month.
Braille is a code that can be written in many languages. When I was a student, I learned literary Braille for reading books, and I also learned the Nemeth code for math. There are Braille codes for music and for foreign languages.
Read more about this and 10 Interesting Facts for World Braille Day
I use Braille for many daily tasks from writing notes, labeling envelopes containing important documents, jotting down phone numbers, or recipes to reading books.
Sometimes, I write Braille notes on paper using mechanical devices like a Braille writer or a slate and stylus. At other times, I connect a Braille display to my phone or computer that translates print into Braille. Learn more about reading and writing Braille.
Check out the Braillist Foundation’s media page for recordings of presentations and downloadable handouts about using Braille on the internet, in the kitchen, and everywhere.
Braille Literacy is Essential for Education and Employment
“Braille literacy is reading, comprehending, and writing in braille. Look at it this way: literacy for students without a visual impairment is reading, writing, and understanding the written word. So, why would it be any different for a student with a visual disability?” This post from Braille Works explains systematic issues in education of blind children that prevent them from becoming literate.
This post from the American Printing House for the Blind offers the valuable perspective of a person who learned Braille as an adult. She writes about the importance of Braille in the 21st Century Workplace.
The Paths to Literacy blog maintained by the Perkins School for the Blind includes many resources for learning and teaching Braille. Start with this post.
Both the National Federation of the Blind and the American Council of the Blind maintain web pages of resources about Braille.
The Canadian National Institute for the Blind offers online events in January 2022. One topic is Braille resources for French speakers.
The importance of Braille literacy for blind people transcends time and place. A quick search for “world Braille Day” displays resultsfrom the United States and around the world.