National Braille Literacy Month
January is National Braille Literacy Month and it’s a month that celebrates Braille and raises the public’s awareness of it. There are many misconceptions about this writing system, the main one being that braille is a separate language.
Braille is not a language, like American Sign Language, but is instead a reading and writing system that was developed for people with visual impairments. There’s a braille system for just about every language, although there has been a move towards braille uniformity.
During this month, people are encouraged to learn more about braille or even take the time to learn how to read braille themselves.
The History Of National Braille Literacy Month
Unfortunately, we aren’t entirely sure when National Braille Literacy Month was created. We just can’t seem to find any trace of its origin or creator. However, we do know that January was made this month because this is the month that Louie Braille was born in 1809.
He would create the braille system at the age of 12 after an accident left him blind at 3-years of age. He based it on a French military code that soldiers used to communicate in darkness called “Night Writing.”
Facts About Braille
We wanted to take part in the spirit of this month by learning more about braille, so that’s exactly what we did. The following factoids are some of the things that we learned about this form of writing. We think they’re a good starting point for anyone interested in observing National Braille Literacy Month.
- According to a recent survey, only 20% of blind Americans can read braille.
- The number of blind people who know braille has been declining due to advances in audiobook and voice recognition software.
- The word braille isn’t capitalized. It’s only capitalized when it’s used as a part of Louis Braille’s name or at the beginning of a sentence.
- Braille takes up more space than the traditional words, so books written in braille are larger.
- The New American Bible is 45 volumes in braille.
- The “Braille Challenge” hosts more than 1,400 students from all over North America. Winners in each age group win monetary prizes.
- There are braille versions of Spanish, Arabic, Hebrew, and Chinese.
Observing National Braille Literacy Month
Taking the time to learn more about braille is the whole point of this month. People can also spread the word about this week using the hashtag #BrailleLiteracyMonth on social media.