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Reading Challenge!

Have you heard of the Royal National Institute of Blind people (RNIB?) It’s an amazing charity that helps out people who are not just completely blind but also those who have reduced sight. Imagine if you couldn’t see further than your own hand – or one of your eyes just didn’t work at all. Or maybe you could only see blurry shapes everywhere and no colours. Wouldn’t that be scary? We live in a world that is so visually-dominated: if you can’t see, you must miss out on so much, right?

Well, sometimes. But BOOKS are not something ANYONE should miss out on. And even if you can’t see very well, you can still enjoy books, either through audio versions or through Braille, the amazing raised dots language that you can find in many places, if you know where to look. Have your parents got a pack of paracetamol in the cupboard? Or Calpol, or other medicines in boxes? Ask them to show you the raised bumps on one side – that’s Braille.

Only 7% of books are currently fully available to partially sighted or blind people. Think about all the books you’ve read, and then take away 93% of them. What wonderful stories you’d have missed out on!

So the RNIB is running a Reading Group Challenge, which aims to help raise money to create more books for those with sight problems. Are you a member of a book club? Thinking of starting one? Why not suggest that the book club reads one of the books on the RNIB’s list? (This list includes children’s books as well as adults’)

If you think you’d be interested in taking part, read more about it on the Reading Group Challenge page. And then get reading!

7 thoughts on “Reading Challenge!

  1. I had an amazing experience courtesy of the RNIB a few years back. They had put on an exhibition at the South Bank Centre in London to educate people on what it is like to be visually impaired. We had to walk around in complete and utter darkness and be guided by a blind person, telling us what to do. We walked through a park, crossed a busy street and went into a bar and had to find the right change to pay for a drink. Everyone talked to each other and touched each other to help with finding their way around. Our other senses went into overdrive too as we had to rely on hearing, smelling etc much more. The strangest thing happened at the end when we came out into the light – the blind guide had sounded so strong and confident in the dark, but once we could see her, she looked so small and vulnerable. Also, all the people who had happily chatted to each other in the darkness immediately reverted to being sullen, unfriendly Londoners once we were back in the light!

    • What a fascinating experience! Thanks for sharing. I once did a group task while blindfolded, and I know what you mean about your other senses going into overdrive. Did you hear about that blind boy in America who had taught himself to use echolocation? He could skateboard down the middle of a road, making clicking noises all the time, and his hearing was so acute that he could ‘map’ out obstacles by how quickly the sound bounced back. Absolutely astonishing. It makes you realise just how little of our brains we really use.

      • Jo, I had heard of that boy, yes! Reminded me of the fantastic percussionist, Evelyn Glennie, who is deaf, but has made music through picking up the vibrations of instruments all her life. Inspiring people.

  2. Have you heard of Access2books? http://www.access2books.org/news_86017.html
    They publish well known Picture Book stories in Braille and Large Print, and library services such as the one I work for, buy them for families to share stories together even if one of the family, be it child, parent or grandparent, has a sight problem. They are fantastic, and very popular with our borrowers.

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