Celebrate Braille this January!
January 3, 2023
by: Carolyn Rees
January is Braille Literacy Month! Join us in celebrating this incredible code throughout the month of January. Braille consists of “cells” that include combinations of six dots. The code is named after its inventor Louis Braille who was born on January 4, 1809 in Coupvray, France.
At the age of three, Louis had an accident in his father’s saddle shop with a leathermaking tool that left him blind in one eye. While his wound tried to heal, an infection spread to his right eye and he was completely blind by the time he was five years old. Five years later, he was enrolled at the Institute for Blind Children. Students learned letters through twigs shaped into letters. As a keen reader, Braille was dismayed that his access to literature was limited. This changed when he and his peers heard a lecture by Charles Barbier about a system of writing that was developed for soldiers to communicate at night. The words were read by touch rather than sight.
By the time Braille was 15 years old, he had created his own adaptation of Barbier’s military code that included six dots arranged in two columns (much like dominoes!). This code became what we now recognize throughout the world as braille.
The importance of Louis Braille’s invention cannot be understated. According to the picture book Six Dots: A Story of Young Louis Braille by Jennifer Bryant (DB86519, BR21722, CL10280), Helen Keller compared Braille to Gutenberg, the inventor of the printing press which brought literature to the masses and not just the elite. The author of Six Dots concludes, “Before Braille, the blind were shut off from reading and writing. The Braille system changed all that.” In fact, the Braille system led to LAMP and everything we do!
Here are five ideas for celebrating Braille Literacy Month with LAMP:
- Celebrate Louis Braille’s birthday on January 4 by connecting an eligible person to our service! See eligibility requirements here (Eligibility | LAMP (mylamp.org)).
- Register for the LAMP Winter Reading Challenge which runs from January 9 – March 6! Read books, earn prizes, and help LAMP reach our goal of reading 1,000 titles.
- Braille Literacy Month is the perfect time to check out our Tactile and Braille Early Literacy Kit “Beginning Braille” (MB00032) and our Louis Braille school age kits (MB00038). Early literacy kits are designed for 0-5 years old while our school age kits cater to elementary level students. Call our Reader Advisors at 800-242-0586 to reserve one today!
- Come visit us in person at LAMP Pittsburgh or Philadelphia! We have braille magazines and newspapers as well as picture books and DVD’s with braille overlays.
- Stay up to date on the latest news from LAMP! Our new Facebook page (Library of Accessible Media for Pennsylvanians – LAMP | Facebook ) is updated daily with LAMP news, upcoming programs, and book recommendations. Additionally, sign up for our monthly newsletter by entering your email address below.