Reading is the first step toward literacy. ReadBooks! Because Braille Matters encourages families to consider braille at the earliest possible age and to read print/braille books together at home. Braille is the only independent means of reading and writing for a child who cannot see.
Braille proficiency is strongly correlated to future success in school and in the job market. The majority of blind people who are competitively employed use braille. Studies show the most proficient braille readers are those who started braille at a young age and received frequent braille instruction in school.
Families with young blind children, birth through seven, receive a free ReadBooks! book bag containing an age appropriate print/braille book, a tactile graphic, a tactile toy or manipulative, a braille alphabet card, resource books for parents, an order form for a free braille primer for parents, and a coupon for a free braille children's book. Braille Bags are available in English or Spanish.
You can order a ReadBooks! bag by filling out our ReadBooks! order form. You may also call us at 800-548-7323 (or 617-266-6160 ext. 520 in Canada).
If you are an educator or professional working with blind children, please be sure to review our participation agreement before you order. Parents and care givers do not have to sign this agreement.
When a family contacts NBP directly, a bag will be shipped to your home. National Braille Press also works with early intervention professionals and teachers of the visually impaired who identify families for the program and who aid in delivering the bags. No disclosure of families' personal information is required. Agencies identify families who could benefit and NBP sends them the requisite number of bags.
Start-up funds for the ReadBooks! program came from Mellon Charitable Trust. A significant grant from Readers Digest Partnership for Sight Foundation launched the program across the country. Funding from the following foundations enables us to continue to reach every blind child in the country: Lavelle Fund for the Blind, Inc., BNY Mellon Charitable Giving Program/Arthur F. Blanchard Trust, Delta Gamma Foundation, Moses Kimball Fund, Harold C. Schott Foundation, Edith Glick Shoolman Foundation, and Verizon Foundation.
ReadBooks! bags are appropriate for totally blind children and visually impaired children whose vision may be unstable or who may not be able to efficiently read print when the material is too lengthy or complex. Program participants are encouraged to request a book bag for any potential braille reader.
Of course, you may not yet know exactly what your child's abilities will be. What can he see? Will she be a braille reader? Parents may not know the answers to these questions until their children are much older, but that doesn't mean you can't expose them to braille in the mean time! Just fill out the form, order a free Braille Bag, and begin the lifetime of learning and reading that you and your child will enjoy, no matter what their abilities may be!
Sorry! This program is designed and funded as a family outreach project and our book bags are intended for distribution to families. If, however, you or your agency wishes to purchase a bag, the cost is $60.
Please help us by ordering only the bags you need at this time. Unless we are temporarily out of stock, we promise to ship book bags within a week of finalizing your order. (99% of the time, we ship bags to you within one week!)
Due to funding restrictions, we are not currently able to offer ReadBooks! bags to older children. If this would be an important resource to you for older students, though, please let us know.
ReadBooks! bags are available in English and Spanish.
Just Enough to Know Better, a braille primer, cannot be translated into Spanish because Spanish braille does not contain contractions.
Thanks to generous support from several foundations, book bags are sent free to families throughout the United States and Canada. Parents and professionals from other countries who would like to obtain a book bag can purchase one for $60 U.S., plus shipping costs. To inquire about overseas shipping costs, contact our customer service department at firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to include your mailing address.