Braille — a tactile writing system used by people who are visually impaired — is a useful tool for many and a fascinating topic. It is also all around us. Whether you are a parent hoping to teach your blind child braille, a teacher wanting to teach your sighted students how to read braille, or a vision-impaired adult looking for ways to enjoy reading, the following resources should provide you with exactly what you need. Read on to find some 40 braille-related resources on the internet.
General Braille Resources
Braille is an incredible tool and a fascinating subject. These links talk about the history, modern usage and other fun facts about braille.
This is a great resource if you want a good overview of the basics of braille, its history, and the various forms it takes.
Learn about the history of braille, from the life and times of Louis Braille to the legacy of the system he created.
This website offers a five-minute introduction to braille, plus more in-depth information for beginners.
Moon is an alternative to braille that uses raised shapes, rather than dots, to represent letters and words. Some consider it easier to learn than braille, especially those who lose their sight later in life or have learning difficulties.
This is a huge library of podcasts covering all aspects of braille and other visual impairment topics.
This blog carries articles about braille and other accessible formats, “from the basics of how it works to its more weird and wacky uses.”
Described as the “Braille Bible,” World Braille Usage is a reference guide that documents the current state of braille around the world.
Braille Learning Resources
Whether you are vision-impaired and want to learn braille or you are a sighted person who is curious about the language, the links below will help any learner on the path to braille literacy.
This site offers tons of Braille resources, from online dictionaries to free self-led courses. There are also tutorials on specialized code for subjects such as chemistry and music braille.
The Hadley School is the largest distance education school for people who are blind and visually impaired worldwide. It offers a free Family Education Program (FE) for English-speaking people who are direct family members of a blind or severely visually impaired child or adult.
Print out this handy “cheat sheet” to help yourself become familiar with the basic letter and numbers in Braille.
When learning to read and write in braille, this handy keyboard provides a great way to practice your new skills. There are also braille exercises and a tool to see your name written out in Braille.
Use this guide to quickly grasp the specific changes during the transition from English Braille American Edition to Unified English Braille (UEB) in the United States, effective in 2016.
Print out this reference sheet and keep it handy to remind yourself of the changes in UEB.
Braille Teaching Resources
Teaching Braille to both blind and sighted students needn’t be difficult if you use the wealth of resources available on the internet. Here are just some great tools to help teachers out.
Teaching Braille to adults is different from teaching it to children. The National Federation of the Blind offers some helpful strategies for using the Code Master Methodology with adult learners.
Do your students learn best through song? Play them this catchy jingle by Judy Matsuoka of the Hadley School for the Blind. It lists the nine contractions that went away when UEB became the standard Braille code.
A great resource for teachers helping students make the transition, this curriculum includes 10 lessons designed to teach students who are already Braille readers about the changes.
This article talks about ways parents and teachers of students with visual impairments can develop their own functional tactual skills.
Great for teachers who want to teach sighted children the basics of Braille, this is a list of fun and simple educational tools for the classroom.
Braille Resources for Children
Teaching a blind or vision-impaired child to read Braille opens them up to a whole new world of literacy. Follow these links to find great tools, information, and more to help teach any child the basics of Braille.
The American Printing House for the Blind created this great site to help sighted children learn about Braille. It has fun games and riddles, plus a biography of Louis Braille to teach children more about the history of Braille.
This is a great introduction to Braille for kids. It features the famous PBS character Arthur and includes a neat Braille translator.
For a child who wishes to improve their Braille writing and reading skills, the NFB runs this program that connects children who wish to correspond.
This bright and fun online course uses flash animation and a series of “games” to teach the braille system to those who can see. It is specifically geared toward younger learners.
This downloadable guide makes learning Braille easy and accessible for kids.
Get your kid reading in Braille by searching this database from the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled. Books are free, easy to access, and available in Braille and audio with human-voice narrators.
Technology Resources for the Blind
There is a great range of technology available to help and enhance the lives of the blind and vision-impaired. Below are resources about how to find and use these fantastic technological tools.
The AFB hosts this comprehensive database of all products for the visually impaired.
Head here for product information on access technology and firsthand stories about how to use it.
Access World is a monthly online magazine focused on reviewing of technology products and online resources for people with vision loss.
There are some great, high-tech tools available to the blind or visually impaired, allowing them to access and produce Braille anywhere. This article covers the different types of handy Braille equipment available.
Here is a long list of technology solutions to assist children who are visually impaired with writing.
Laptops, Braille Displays, Screen Readers, and Screen Enlargement – Assistive Technology for the Blind
This short video, by the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind, shows how laptops, refreshable braille displays, screen readers, and screen enlargement devices can be used by blind and visually impaired students.
This federally funded center offers a ton of useful resources and information, with the goal to help families and providers access effective assistive and instructional technology (AT/IT) services and devices.
Braille Literacy and Book Resources
Braille literacy depends on access to reading materials, which is where these great resources come in. Check out the many ways you can access free braille books and magazines below.
Bookshare is an accessible online library for people with print disabilities. It is free for schools and qualified US students of any age.
The NLS administers this free library program that circulates Braille and audio materials through the mail. Anyone who is blind or visually impaired is qualified to enroll in the program.
The American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults works to help blind children build their own book collections by sending books to enrolled children and placing copies of books in regional libraries for the blind around the country.
This program distributes free Braille book bags to families with blind and visually impaired children across the US and Canada. The bags contains a children’s book in print and braille, a braille primer for parents, a toy, and more information about Braille literacy.
This organization has a library with over 2,000 Braille titles, all of which are available for free to anyone who requests them throughout the US and Canada. It also offers transcription services of just about anything.
Also called Dots for Tots, this Braille literacy program provides free children’s books a few times a year.
The American Printing House for the Blind and Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library have partnered up to provide six free print/braille books per year to children under six.
Here is a helpful guide to finding books and popular magazines available in Braille format.