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The ReadBooks! Program

ReadBooks! is a national children's braille literacy program encouraging families with blind children to read print/braille books together.

Check out our video explaining what the bags contain and how the program works.

Link to Your Child's Future!

National Braille Press is distributing free bags of beginning braille materials to families with blind and visually impaired children, ages birth to seven, across the U.S. and Canada. The distribution process is a collaborative effort with educators and early intervention professionals.

Note: Limited to one braille bag per blind child per lifetime.

Program Objectives

  • To foster a love of books and reading at an early age;
  • To support families of preschool blind children and help them spread the word that braille is an effective method of reading and writing;
  • To introduce visually impaired children to a means of independent reading;
  • To help parents learn "just enough" braille to assist their child as they grow;
  • To give parents the knowledge and language they need to advocate for braille instruction when their blind child enters school;
  • To promote an early expectation of personal achievement through literacy.

Braille Bags Contain:

ReadBooks bag with contents
  1. An age-appropriate print/braille book for three age groups, in English or Spanish: birth-3 (red bags), 4-5 (blue bags), and 6-7 (green bags);
  2. A coupon for choosing two of the three following free items: a set of large print/braille playing cards; an additional print/braille book; a copy of Just Enough to Know Better —a braille primer for sighted parents;
  3. A print/braille alphabet card, showing the braille symbol for each letter A-Z and each number 0-9;
  4. Because Books Matter, a guide for parents on why and how to read books with their young blind child;
  5. Because Pictures Matter, a guide for parents on using, finding, and creating tactile imagery;
  6. A tactile graphic or flag;
  7. A tactile ball (red bags only);
  8. Wikki Stix, a product that allows a child to make tactile pictures (blue or green bags only);
  9. Tactile Alphabet Letter sheets, showing upper- and lowercase print letters in raised-line format (blue bags only);
  10. Tactile Number sheets (green bags only);
  11. A braille caravan block.

Who Funds the Program?

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.

Who Can Participate?

Anyone who knows, works with, or cares for a blind child, aged birth to seven, can participate in the program.

  • Information for parents or caregivers.
  • Information for teachers and agency professionals.