January Proclaimed Braille Literacy Month in Massachusetts

BOSTON — The Healey-Driscoll administration has proclaimed January Braille Literacy Month in Massachusetts to raise awareness of the importance of braille as a means of literacy for people who are blind or have low vision. Braille literacy enables those who use it to read and write independently and creates a pathway to academic success and employment possibilities.

Braille is a tactile writing system in which a combination of six dots represents letters, numbers, and even musical and mathematical symbols, to allow for the communication of written information.

“Braille Literacy Month helps us be mindful of the importance of braille to so many Massachusetts residents,” Gov. Maura Healey said. “Together, we can work to expand the use of braille to increase literacy and give equal access to people who are blind or have low vision.”

In Massachusetts, laws entitle school-age children who are legally blind to receive braille instruction as part of their school’s special-education services and afford adults who are legally blind the right to learn braille through the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind.

“For almost two centuries, the braille system has continued to open doors of learning and opportunity for people who are blind or have low vision,” Massachusetts Commission for the Blind Commissioner John Oliveira said. “Even with advances in technology, such as audiobooks and screen readers, braille is still as relevant today in the digital world as paper and pen are to people who are sighted.”

The Braille Literacy Advisory Council makes recommendations to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education on topics such as braille instruction, literacy assessment for students who are blind or have low vision, and the timely availability of educational materials and expanded braille production activities.