Chances are you already know the basic facts about braille. It’s a tactile system of reading and writing. Various combinations of raised dots form the letters. It was invented by Louis Braille almost two centuries ago and is a powerful literacy tool for people who are blind.
But there’s a lot about braille that may surprise you.
10 random facts about braille
Rihanna is a fan of braille. The cover of the pop superstar’s 2016 album “Anti” features a poem written in braille by poet Chloe Mitchell. “This is the first time an album has ever incorporated physical braille,” said Rihanna. In addition, the cover for her single “FourFiveSeconds” (with Kanye West and Paul McCartney) spells out the song title in braille.
Kendrick Lamar is also a fan. The acclaimed rapper’s 2015 album “To Pimp a Butterfly” includes liner notes with a short message written in braille. On the CD itself, the album title is spelled out only in braille.
There’s a Rubik’s Cube in braille. If the classic color-coded Rubik’s Cube isn’t fiendishly difficult enough for you, there’s also a version available in braille. It’s so popular it’s currently sold out.
Some braille reader’s fingers can really fly. While the typical sighted person can read 300 words per minute, some fast braille readers can whip through a book at a speed of 400 words per minute. The secret to reading braille so quickly is a light touch – and using both hands (one hand reads while the other is poised to start on the next line).
Braille gives prison inmates valuable skills. The American Printing House for the Blind runs a program called the National Prison Braille Network (NPBN) that teaches inmates to transcribe print documents into braille. The program gives inmates valuable job skills and helps rehabilitate them for life after prison. The recidivism rate for NPBN participants is estimated at less than 3%, far below the national average of 76%.
Braille can be delicious.Tactile exploration is often used for children trying out different food textures. You can show your support for braille in a tasty way by baking braille cupcakes for your friends.
LEGO bricks come in braille. A Brazilian foundation invented a LEGO-style brick that can help children who are blind learn to read and write while building cool toy structures. Braille Bricks, created by the São Paulo-based Dorina Nowill Foundation for the Blind, are similar to LEGO bricks, but each brick has a raised braille letter on top, which allows the bricks to interlock.
There’s a rap song about braille. It’s called “The Braille Rap Song” and it helps kids learn braille. The 26 verses use easy-to-remember rhymes to explain the combination of dots that form each letter. For example: “A dot two-four-five is a J / Hey! Hey! What do you say?” The song was written by Lynn Horton and Tammy Whitten from the Helen Keller School in Talladega, Alabama.