How I learned to read braille
First things first, I needed to acclimatize myself to tactile sensations felt through my fingers. My teacher's assistant in kindergarten produced many tactile shapes, pictures, letters and numbers for me to figure out. I remember getting really tired touching these furry/bumpy shapes made out of yarn, sand paper and other various materials.
When reading was introduced into later grades, I too joined in the process of learning how to read; only I used braille as my mode of reading. Through a series of flashcards and a lot of patience, I managed to learn both French and English braille contractions. I make it sound easy, but it was just as challenging as learning to read print. Odd things happened to my fingers. I wanted so much to learn how to read quickly, that the skin at the tip of my fingers would peel off periodically. I guess I was creating reading callouses. At any rate, here's what finally took my reading to the next level.
During my braille learning phase, my father and 12 other brave local souls had taken upon themselves to take the braille transcription course, in order to be able to create the books that I would need for my educational pursuits. I remember my father banging off braille sheets on the old manual brailler and reading the results with his eyes. He never did manage reading braille with his fingers. His first complete book transcription was a French children's book called "Oui-Oui Part En Voyage". Oui-Oui, the main character of the book, was a toy with a bobble head which always nodded; hence his name. This character and his environment called toy land is pretty much the French version of Toy Story. Anyway, here's what my dad did. He read the first two chapters to me and then said that I would have to finish the book on my own. I remember being so angry, sighting the unfairness of it all. What I didn't realize is the gift he was giving me: independent reading. I took my flashcards and embarked on the arduous task of figuring out the sentences and various French contractions.
Once I was finished this book, I wanted more. Since this was part of a series and the braille transcribers were working on other books from it, I was able to continue my reading journey and the rest, as they say, is history.