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Friday, September 3, 2010

I'm Curious about Braille

“I’ve always been curious about Braille. Do you have anything for sighted people to look at or to feel?” Over the years others, such as students and scouts, have asked this question of the Newton Falls Public Library staff.

The Braille cell contains six raised dots which are numbered vertically: 1, 2, and 3 are arranged from top to bottom in the first column; 4, 5, and 6 are in the second. Letters, numbers, punctuation, music, and music symbols are created by using various combinations of these cell dots. For example the letter A contains only dot 1, B contains dots 1 and 2, and C is made up of dots 1, 3, and 4. Dot 6 placed before a letter signifies that it is a capital letter. Patrons may borrow sheets of Braille which have these raised cells to both feel and see.

Also available to be taken home are Expectations: a gift for blind children from Braille Institute (The Little Engine That Could in Braille), The Constitution of the United States, and The Black Book of Colors by Menena Cottin and Rosana Faría. This last item encourages readers to imagine living without sight. The illustrations are done with raised lines and descriptions of colors based on imagery. There are Braille letters with the illustrations and a full alphabet for sighted readers to help them read along with their fingers.

Patrons interested in this subject may also be curious about sign language. There are books, films, and kits available to teach signing to adults, children, and infants. Sign Language Interpreting: a basic resource book by Sharon Neumann Solow would be a good place for adults to begin. Parents might want to consider examining Teach Your Tot to Sign: the parents' guide to American Sign Language by Stacy A. Thompson and Baby Sign Language for Hearing Babies by Karyn Warburton.

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