"It is easier to build a strong child than to repair a broken man." - Frederick Douglass

Reading Aloud Can Allow the Blind to See Figuratively

Reading Aloud

Reading aloud is a tool that could benefit everyone, students, teachers, writers, or even the blind. There is nothing more disorienting than someone losing their sight — things they used to do easily become almost nonexistent because of the difficulty of seeing them. Walking around their home, cooking, reading, etc., has to be relearned.

Reading aloud to oneself before reading to someone else, allows the reader to find out if the other person may enjoy the book. It will also help the reader build the oral story for anyone — especially a blind friend or loved one.

  1. Read the title first, then tell where the story takes place (city, state, or surroundings).
  2. Describe each of the characters in detail – how they look, their profession, and their demeanor.
  3. Try to read slowly, emphasizing every word with the emotions of the characters.
  4. Engage the listener by asking if they have ever experienced the emotions being described and other questions about the story.
  5. The reader should change the sound and style of their voice to pull a listener into the story.  A voice can sound happy, sad, frightened, calm, or even high or low which will engage them even more.

Many people have endured criticism when reading aloud; now they mumble when reading. They will need someone to encouragingly keep after them until they begin to enjoy the sound of their own voice. One must read with such passion that the person listening feels the words without seeing them.

Reading AloudMost people think blind people are hard of hearing and need to be spoken to in a loud voice. When given audio tests, they tend to hear normally. They use their hearing to its highest capacity and are taught to listen to sounds of doors, trees, people passing by, moving vehicles, and so many other things. Listening makes up for them not being able to see.

Blind People Write Books Too

Audiobooks are popular and can be a delightful experience for someone who has lost sight. Some seniors who may have lost their sight at an older age may not enjoy the benefits of Braille; therefore, reading aloud to a senior can also be a gratifying experience. Blind people use media as well as hearing people. They use words like “see,” “watched,” and “looked at” all the time. They also write books.

No one cared that I was wearing a pin that said I’d been a finalist for the highest award in the romance genre, the RITA. No one cared I was wearing my “25 books published” pin (the next pin is 35). No one cared I was presenting at a workshop that week or that, just maybe, we had more than just writing and books in common. Instead, they talked to the dog, because apparently, a creature with a brain the size of a walnut is more intelligent than a woman with a master’s degree who can’t see.

Laurie Alice Eakes is the bestselling author of more than 25 books, both historical and contemporary romantic suspense. She writes full-time from her home in northern Illinois.

Whenever reading to grandchildren, make sure they know everything about the book. Tell them who wrote it, who drew the pictures, the characters’ names, and other items important to the story. This writer believes enjoyment is shown in the passion with which one reads, so practice reading with every emotion known to man. If a story is read in monotone, it would probably bore them. If a story is read with flair and color, it is likely they would be able to ‘see’ the whole story unfold right before their eyes.

Written by Brenda Robinson
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware


Braille Monitor: The Challenges in Going Blind and Learning to Live Again; by Kim Tindall
University of Massachusetts: Elbow, Peter, “11. Revising by Reading Aloud. What the Mouth and Ear Know” (2010). Emeritus Faculty Author Gallery. Paper 29. ScholarWorks@UMassAmherst
Paths To Literacy – 10 Tips for Reading Aloud to Children Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired; by Charlotte Cushman
Braille Monitor: A Taboo Topic for People Who are Blind… Hearing Loss *Gasp;* by Marsha Drenth
HUFFPOST: Yes, Blind People Read Books. We Write Them, Too; by Laurie Alice Eakes
LIGHTHOUSE: Top 10 Misconceptions About Blind People; by David W. Wannop
Guardian Liberty Voice: Reading Aloud Is Beneficial in Many Ways; by Sheena Robertson
Families Choice Homecare: Fun Visits for Everyone: 7 Fun Activities for the Blind Elderly; by Tim Ingram

Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Michael Cheng’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image Courtesy of Dominique Archambault’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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