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Spring/ Summer 2008 Table of Contents
Versión Español de este artículo (Spanish Version)

Excerpt from National Braille Press website:

Abstract: National Braille Press provides a bag of free braille materials and parent resources for current and future braille readers ages birth through seven and who reside in the U.S. or Canada through ReadBooks! Because Braille Matters program.

Key Words: blindness, visual impairment, braille, literacy, National Braille Press

ReadBooks! is a national children’s braille literacy program to encourage families with blind children to read print/braille books together. ReadBooks! objectives are:

  • To foster a love of books and reading at an early age;
  • To expose parents of preschool blind children to braille as an effective method of reading and writing;
  • To encourage parents to learn just enough braille to help their child;
  • To introduce visually impaired children to a means of reading independently;
  • To prepare parents to advocate for braille instruction when their blind child enters school;
  • To promote an early expectation of personal achievement through literacy.

National Braille Press, along with Seedlings Braille Books for Children, is distributing attractive braille book bags to families with blind and visually impaired children, ages birth to seven, across the country. The distribution process is a collaborative effort with educators and early intervention professionals. Each bag contains:

  1. An age-appropriate print/braille book for three age groups: birth-3, 4-5, and 6-7 in English or Spanish;
  2. A braille primer for sighted parents entitled Just Enough to Know Better;
  3. A colorful print/braille place mat;
  4. Print/braille bookmarks;
  5. Because Books Matter, a guide for parents on why and how to read books with their young blind child;
  6. A gift coupon redeemable for another print/braille book or braille/large print playing cards;
  7. Print/braille magnetic letters.

The Participants in the program agree to:

  • Identify children who are potential braille readers, birth to seven, and their families;
  • Personally deliver the book bags or supply us with the mailing address for identified families in their state;
  • Help us to evaluate and improve the program.

Substantial grants from Reader’s Digest Partners for Sight Foundation, Mellon Charitable Giving Program/Alice P. Chase Trust, and others enable us to produce and distribute these book bags at no cost to the families or to the participating professionals. Currently, funds support the distribution of bags to 7,200 families in identified states across the country.