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National Braille Press children's book club making reading more accessible

CBS Boston 2/1/2023 Katrina Kincade

BOSTON - The National Braille Press in the Fenway has been ensuring that people who are blind or low vision have access to literacy for years. They've even earned recognition from multiple First Ladies, with frammed letters as proof.

"Braille is literacy by definition for blind or low vision person. If they don't have that skill it's hard to learn sentence structure and grammar and becoming more independent in life," said Brian MacDonald, President and CEO of the Braille National Press.

While they were founded in 1927, they started a children's braille book club in 1983. Tim Vernon and his family were some of the first members.

"My family wanted me to have a library of books similar to my sighted brother and sighted family members and friends who were having a library of printed books," Vernon told WBZ-TV.

Every month the book club mails classic children's books to families, with custom braille pages put together by staff and volunteers at their facility. There's a multi-step process to put together the pages but they say it's worth it to bring children the gift of literacy.

"I think it's most rewarding now since we've been around so long, is that we have parents that grew up with these books that they're reading to their sighted children bedtime stories," MacDonald told WBZ.

With the books that Vernon has kept, he's now able to read to his young nephew.

"Being able to read with him helps to cultivate and nurture a truly special bond," he said.

Vernon said it was always exciting to get a new book in the mail.

But children's books aren't all that they do. The National Braille Press is the leading publisher for training materials, information pamphlets and even tests in braille for the country. They also printed text books for Tim when he was in college.

"It allows you to feel independent," he said.

For more information, visit their website.   

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