Reading Braille

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Braille Reader Explains Why Braille Literacy is Still Important

I am writing this from personal experience and I am a braille reader. I was fortunate enough to learn braille as a child. This was before the belief became popular that other means of reading were just as good. These methods require hearing words read by others reading to you or through technology that speaks the written words.Over-the-shoulder view of a woman reading a braille document.

All the methods above are valid and I use all of them. I am more than thankful for the ability to use a screen-reader for pleasure and work purposes. However, nothing can replace the ability of reading braille materials for yourself. When others read to you, they tend to put emphasis on the sections of text they feel are important. Meaning, they downplay parts they are not as passionate about. Reading braille for yourself allows you to use your own interpretation to give weight to a subject matter.

When I read the Bible, I can ponder a section of verses as long as needed to gather the meaning of them. When listening to text, the tendency is to stop listening while pondering, but usually, the audio continues forward. After tuning back in you realize you missed a portion and must either back up or just pick up where you tuned back in. The same applies to restaurant menus or product manuals.

The truth is, if you can’t read, spell, and write for yourself, I believe the term for sighted people is illiterate.

The braille alphabet and numbers - copyright Braille Works

Studies show that only ten percent of blind children learn braille. If my children who are sighted weren’t taught to read and write, I would’ve demanded their school teach these skills. So, why are students with blindness educated differently?

I also know that many people lose their sight later in life and may feel it’s too hard to learn braille. I can tell you that I have met men who were steelworkers that had huge hands with calloused fingers who lost their sight in their forties and fifties and they successfully learned braille.

Please understand I am not saying that braille is the only method for those of us who are blind to read and learn. But, it is the only method that allows us to truly understand the spelling and structure of words.

There are braille teaching centers in every U.S. state. Check out the National Federation of the Blind’s state-by-state resource list for more information.

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This post was written by Braille Works

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