Because long before any child learns to read they become familiar with words and letters. Children encounter words everywhere and begin to realize that words have meaning. Now imagine you are blind and people are giving you books with text instead of Braille. To Tommy those books are blank. What does that say about reading to a blind child? That's it's magic? Mommy is making stories from the air? How confusing.
So I'm currently re-buying some of Tommy's favorite books in Braille and phasing the non-Braille books out of our reading rotation.
Where do you get Braille Books?
You get them online! Can you get your favorites? Yes, you can! My favorites are Seedlings , Beulah Reimer Legacy , and the National Braille Press .
Yes. Braille items ship Free Matter For The Blind. You can go to a post office and ship a Braille book to someone and it will be free. That means any Braille books you buy online also ship free. The US Postal Service can tell you more about Free Matter For the Blind .
Do you know Braille? How will you read to him?
Books for a child Tom's age are usually Twin Vision books. That means they are regular print books that have clear braille labels stuck to the pages. Tom gets to enjoy his Braille and mom can still read him the story using text. It's the best of both worlds and it allows the books to be enjoyed by sighted siblings and friends too.
Contracted or Uncontracted Braille
That's the big question! I was wondering this too. Uncontracted Braille spells every letter out. Contracted Braille uses contractions to take the place of full words. For example, one Braille symbol takes the place of "the" and it saves space and increases reading speed.
There are studies that say that children who learn using contracted Braille become better readers than children who begin with uncontracted Braille.
I spoke with Tom's teacher and she suggested we buy baby books in uncontracted Braille. So if it's a simple board book then uncontracted is fine. But if you are buying more of a story book, like a Dr. Seuss book, then buy contracted Braille. You will see when you go online to purchase Braille books that only early childhood books are offered in uncontracted Braille. The selection of books quickly moves to all contracted Braille.
Be sure to sign up for free Braille books through these programs. Check my resource page for more!
Free Braille Books
Seedlings offers several programs for free Braille books.
APH/ Dolly Parton's Imagination Library will mail children five free print/Braille books every year until they turn six years old.
American Action Fund for the Blind send a free Braille book a month from a popular children's series. These books are Braille only - no text.
Want to learn a little more about Braille right now? Check out Braille: Deciphering the Code from the American Foundation for the Blind's Braille Bug program. Tom is in the Braille Bug program. Sign up for that too!