Welcome to 2019! Here on the ClubX Blog we LOVE holidays and awareness weeks and months. They are an easy way to ignite ideas for activities and special events, and help to keep things fresh. Special holidays are also good opportunities to highlight wonderful differences and bring diversity into programming.
January is Braille Literacy Month, created to celebrate the life of Louis Braille, the creator of the Braille code, which made it possible for the blind and visually impaired to read and write. Braille is made up of combinations of raised dots in two columns. It is NOT a language, it is a code that can be used for many languages. (I just went on an internet journey to learn more about Braille codes- for languages that don’t use the Latin alphabet that English uses, Braille codes represent phonemic sounds!) Here’s a super quick video if you aren’t familiar with how Braille was created:
To mark this month, spend some time as a Club staff considering how blind or visually impaired youth would experience your Club. Is it easily navigable? Are supplies always kept in the same place? To help you think through these questions and more you may not have considered, here are two links designed for classrooms but totally applicable to Club spaces.
Boys & Girls Club staff can access all of our inclusion resources created with our partner Kids Included Together at BGCA.net/inclusion.
Teaching sighted youth about Braille is a way to introduce the importance of adaptations and have the added bonus of improving literacy as well! Here are three activities at different levels of complexity that you can do with youth of any age.
This one is the easiest to plan and use, as it is just a simple worksheet to print. You can have youth write messages, trade papers, and translate for more of a challenge.
This activity uses LEGO to spell out the Braille code. You can use the accompanying Three Blind Mice activity, or give older youth a printed Braille alphabet and have them spell any words, then translate a partner’s.
This one is a bit more complicated, but is SO COOL! Inspired by the book Six Dots about Louis Braille, youth make a simple cardboard Braille stylus and use a push pin to “write” the words. This gives a better semblance of the tactile nature of Braille. Obviously you’ll have to have strict guidelines for push pin usage lol. But you KNOW I LOVE an activity with an accompanying read-aloud! Most libraries should have this book, or pick up a used copy for cheap here.
How have you taught your members about Braille? How have you made your Club an inclusive space for youth of all abilities? Comment below, on the BGCA Youth Development Facebook page, or email us at ClubXBlog@bgca.org to share!