Blind literacy: Learning grade 2 in Braile
The last time I blogged about my Braille learning experience, I had just attended a little graduation ceremony which denoted that I finished grade one of Braille otherwise known as uncontracted Braille. Shortly thereafter, I was on my way to learning contracted Braille (grade two), and boy, is there a lot to learn (read: memorize) in contracted Braille! I finished the second book in my Braille program and borrowed a novel from the National Library Service in order to practice reading but I kept coming across symbols that I didn’t recognize. I called my Braille teacher, and it turned out there is a third book to the Braille series, and that he would have to special-order it for me. Apparently, there wasn’t a single copy in the office because nobody had gotten as far as the third book yet in this fairly new Braille method. I had to laugh: to think I am an overachieving nerd in all academic aspects of life.
In contracted Braille, every letter not only stands for a word when written by itself, but there are also all other sorts of symbols that stand for groups of letters, e.g. “-ment,” “-sion,” “-tion,” “there,” “where,” and so on. It’s easily self-teachable since each subsequent lesson builds upon the previous lessons, but there are just so many darn things to memorize!
I just got to the end of all my lessons recently, and it felt really good. It seems like all I want to do lately is read Braille. I guess I really do love reading. I missed it, and I didn’t even know it until I started doing it again. Braille is something one has to practice daily or else lose it very quickly. Now I’m on to attempting The Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler all in Braille. The novel comes in three four-inch binders. Wish me luck.