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Event salutes creator of Braille reading system

Nov. 25, 2008

KALAMAZOO--The 200th anniversary of the birth of Louis Braille, creator of the Braille reading system, will be celebrated Thursday, Dec. 4, with a free public event at the Western Michigan University College of Health and Human Services.

The event will mark the importance of Braille's contribution to literacy for people who cannot see to read print and runs from 3 to 6 p.m. on the building's fourth floor. Representatives of the Portage Lion's Club will kick off their new Braille menu project, called "Braille Menus for Greater Kalamazoo," to offer Braille menus to customers in cooperation with Kalamazoo area restaurants.

Faculty, staff and graduate students in the WMU Department of Blindness and Low Vision Studies will staff learning stations and offer special activities and giveaways for all ages, including Braille birthday cake; an introduction to Braille code and chance to have names set in Braille, secret Braille messages to decipher and a Braille twister game; demonstration of Braille technology and products; and a "careers in Blindness and Low Vision" station. Lucy Edmonds, a Braille speed-reader and former classmate of Stevie Wonder, will translate Braille from a Harry Potter book. WMU students will also be on hand to read from Braille children's books.

Braille was born on Jan. 4, 1809, and devised a tactual system of reading books and music that has been shown to be the most effective way to read for people who are blind. Braille's system, based on a six-dot Braille cell, is the standard throughout the world. A variety of similar events are being held to mark his legacy.

The WMU College of Health and Human Services is located off Oakland Drive and is accessible from Oliver Street. For information, contact Dr. Susan Ponchillia, WMU professor of blindness and low vision studies, at (269) 387-3450 or susan.ponchillia@wmich.edu.

Media contact: Mark Schwerin, (269) 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

WMU News
Office of University Relations
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5433 USA
(269) 387-8400