A lot of work and collaboration has to happen before a Braille Tales’ book can show up to your front door. The Delta Gamma Fraternity has been one of Braille Tales’ biggest supporters. In the past 5 years, more than 13 thousand books were sent to children through the support of the Delta Gamma Foundation.
In August, Delta Gamma featured a Braille Tales alum in their annual impact report. Here’s why early access to braille books is so important:
For Brittany and Nathan Clarkson, learning their eight-year-old daughter Addyson was born completely blind was startling news. “We just weren’t sure how she’d be able to do things,” Brittany said. They were quick, however, to dive in and find Addy what she needed. One of the resources they found was Braille Tales, a program funded by a Delta Gamma Foundation Service for Sight grant to the American Printing House for the Blind (APH) in Louisville, Kentucky. The program provides popular children’s books six times a year to over 1,700 families across the United States with members who are blind or visually impaired.
“We feel so fortunate to live in an area like Louisville that has the APH and other amazing resources. That’s how we learned about Braille Tales. When you learn about something new, you just get so excited for what is out there for your kids,” Brittany said. Addy’s family was eager to take advantage of this opportunity and enrolled in Braille Tales when she was just a baby.
Kids love getting packages, and Addy is no exception. She wanted to read with her parents as soon as the books arrived, even before she learned braille. By age three, Addy was on her way to becoming an excellent reader and writer of braille. Now, she’s perfecting it. Addy’s favorite part about reading is using different voices: “Being a good reader means I can read with expressions. It makes reading more fun,” Addy said. “I can’t just read, I’ve got to think if the character feels sad or mad — you’ve got to do the expressions!”
The Braille Tales program is unique — the stories are not reprinted in braille, but rather a clear braille overlay is placed on the pages of the books. This enables both readers of braille and persons who are sighted to experience the books together. For Addy, this means she can read to her little sister Kennedy, a three-year-old who is sighted, and Kennedy can enjoy the pictures. The books also help Kennedy understand what blindness is, and how Addy learns and experiences the world differently than she does. For other families, parents and grandparents who are blind can read to children who are sighted. Access to these resources is vital to ensure that all people can experience the joy of reading.
Brittany and Nathan know the importance of programs like Braille Tales for Addy. “At first, you think your kid is going to miss out on all the things other kids have, and so it feels good to know that there are people out there advocating and constantly creating and making things accessible.” Since 1951, the Delta Gamma Foundation has advocated for the blind and visually impaired community by providing grants to organizations that share our sight-related mission. Learn more about APH and Braille Tales at www.aph.org.
You can learn more about Delta Gamma on their website.
The Delta Gamma Annual Impact Report can also be found on their website.