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Saskatoon Public Schools
Inspiring Learning

Donation boosts access to braille books for visually impaired students

October 10, 2019

SAFM_news.jpgFrom Katniss Everdeen and Percy Jackson, to Junie B. Jones and a Star Wars' Jedi — the adventures of  all of these book characters will now be available in braille for students to discover thanks to support from the Canada Post Community Foundation.

The $12,000 donation to the Saskatchewan Alternate Format Materials (SAFM) Library will be spent exclusively on pleasure reading books in braille for students with visual impairments.

"This grant is helping build students love of reading," said Superintendent of Education Donnalee Weinmaster. "There is no substitute for the ability to read and for visually impaired students, braille is an essential tool in the process of becoming literate. Thanks to this grant, visually impaired students will have access to reading materials for enjoyment while building their vocabulary and critical thinking skills.

"Thank you to the Canada Post Community Foundation for providing this generous gift that will positively impact students around the province. We know this grant is made possible through donations from Canada Post employees and customers and we greatly appreciate their dedication and support of our community."

The SAFM is operated by Saskatoon Public Schools with funding from the Saskatchewan Ministry of Education. Its purpose is to provide curricular resources in alternate formats for K-12 visually impaired students across the province. The library offers braille, large print, audio, and e-text resources for and serves approximately 250 students with visual impairments across the province.

In 2010, Unified English Braille (UEB) was adopted in Canada and the implementation process is still underway. UEB provides a universal braille code for English-speaking countries. The adoption of UEB meant that previous braille books were no longer valid and had to be removed from collections. This grant will help SAFM acquire new UEB books for students' enjoyment.