Braille is a language that enables people without sight to be able to read. The language itself consists of different configurations of dots, which symbolize the letters of the alphabet. These dots are presented on paper and are designed to be touched by a reader’s hands, so they can then be interpreted.
Although it’s standard that most people that can’t see at all or are unable to see well use it, anyone can learn to read Braille writing. It isn’t very complicated and it may be useful to know if anyone near you or in your family has sight problems.
Although it isn’t difficult to learn Braille, it can be rather time consuming. You have to do a great deal of studying and memorizing to be able to decipher what your hands will be reading. Here are the basic principles.
Learn the letters.
Just like the English alphabet, there are 26 letters you need to learn. That means there are 26 different sets of dots that you have to study and remember what they mean. The best way to do this is by printing out a sheet that has all the letters listed and how they look. This will help you memorize what each letter is supposed to look like, so when your hands pass over them, your brain will be able to recognize the pattern.
Learn punctuation marks.
Punctuation marks also have special setups that you’ll need to learn. While you are learning them, you should also start picking up how capitalization works. There are special ways to signify capital letters in Braille writing, so it’s simply another rule you need to memorize.
Get extra help.
After you have done your best to study the charts and have more or less memorized what each letter looks like, you should acquire all the resources that you can to make the rest of the process easier. One resource is books on the subject. You can find these items in bookstores or for purchase online. Another thing you can find online is websites that will help. They can offer you PDFs to download, practice exercises, and many tips and tricks to make your learning more efficient. Finally, there are interactive websites you can visit that you can take lessons on. They offer videos, quizzes, and other learning materials. These lessons are generally designed by people that know Braille already, so they can be trusted. Some of these lessons are free, but others you’ll have to pay for. However, you can simply think of it as learning a new language, which you would gladly pay for. It may not be French or Italian, but it’s an important language for many people that would otherwise be unable to read great books and literature.
Purchase some books.
When you have studied and learned all the proper positions for the letters, it’s now time to try out what you know. Get some beginner books or books that you are quite familiar with and sit down to read them. Braille versions of many different books are available, but you may have to special order them. This can be done online or by asking the manager at your local bookstore to order certain things for you. There may also be Braille books at your neighborhood library, which you can find out by searching through their online card catalog, or by speaking with one of the librarians.
The key to learning how to read anything is through practice. Keep reading different books and using all the tools you have amassed until you feel that you’ve mastered reading Braille. Once you think you have, it’s time to buy novels and classic literature books written in Braille. You may even start to write things in Braille too, if you feel like you want to. If you were learning Braille to communicate with a friend, now is your chance to show them what you’ve learned. Don’t be shy. On the flip side, if someone you know is trying to learn, you can offer tips and explain to them what helped you through the process. You two can even quiz each other and pool your resources to study even more.
Things to Remember
When you’re learning Braille, don’t think you will learn everything right away. You’ll have to go through a lot of repetition and memorization to get the whole alphabet. Besides that, this is essentially a new language you are learning and depending on how often you use your hands, you might have trouble registering which letters correspond to the feeling in your fingers. The only way to get your brain to make the connection is by practicing all the ways you can, and by using all the books, charts, lessons, and everything else you can find. Anything you can get your hands on regarding the subject should be considered a valuable resource.
When you are thinking of all the different languages that exist, Braille may not be one that comes to mind right away. However, it’s quite important and it can be understood by all types of people, whether they are sight impaired or not. If you want to learn the language and how it works, it’s very similar to the process for learning foreign languages.
You first need to study the letters, then punctuation, and then start to read books and take classes or lessons on the subject. There are countless resources available to look at online, and many of them are free. Hoard all the information you can and keep studying. After you have memorized how the letters work, start showing your fingers what they feel like. Then, you can begin to make the connections that can allow you to start reading Braille. After that, nothing can stop you. You’ll be able to read books, write letters, and do whatever else you want using Braille. You may even decide you want to help people learn and show them how you did it.