Reading BraillePublished on
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 be taught braille as a child. This was before the belief became popular that other means of reading were just as good. All of these methods require hearing words read either by others reading to you, or through some kind of technology that speaks the written words.
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 and down-play parts they are not as passionate about. When reading braille for yourself, you can use your own thoughts and feelings 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. When you tune back in you realize you missed a portion of the text and then you must either back-up, or you usually just pickup 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.
Studies have been done showing that only ten percent of blind children are taught braille. I’ll tell you this; if my children who are sighted went to school and were not taught how to read and write, I would’ve been in the school office demanding that they change their practice of not teaching these vital skills. So why the big difference in the way blind students are educated?
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 steel workers 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.
Every state in the U.S. has centers where braille is taught. Check out the National Federation of the Blind’s state by state resource list for more information.
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