Intersecting Literacy, Communication, and Braille

One outcome of the DALN that I find to be so rewarding is the access to narratives that provide insight into different learning processes and literacy experiences that aid in a reconsideration of traditional literacy practices. This week, I was particularly interested in researching stories that discussed experiences with Braille and its relationship with and role in literacy and communication. From that inquiry, I found these two stories. I hope you enjoy them!

In Nicole E. Green’s narrative, she discusses her experiences of learning Braille as a visually impaired student. “Listening as literacy” when she was a child “was not available like it is now in the same way.” While cassette tapes were available, technology had not yet advanced to text-to-speech and similar functions. Green’s experiences made her more sensitive to the “different ways of writing, reading, and knowing,” which prompted her to encourage her students to consider different types of modalities of acquiring and producing texts. For example, if she notices students are struggling with reading or writing, she introduces them to the idea of switching between aural and visual practices.

When Kristin McCann was a child, she and her family would send her aunt, who is blind, cassette tapes as a way to stay connected. These tapes allowed the family to communicate on a more personal level, since McCann’s aunt would be able to listen to these audio letters independently without having to have someone read written letters to her. In her narrative, McCann also discusses how this experience has inspired her to learn Braille as a way to enhance communication between her and her aunt.

If you have any particular DALN favorites or topics that you’d like to see on the DALN blog, please email me at



photo credit: Dominique Archambault