In this braille activity for sighted students, we’ll make a sample braille cards using bumps that can be purchased on Amazon or through a braille supplier.
Braille is a way for visually impaired people to read. This system uses raised dots on paper to form letters and words. These raised dots are read by the visually impaired with their fingertips, typically, the index fingers are used.
Braille is read from left to right across the page. Braille can be written with a braille writing machine (much like a typewriter).
The basic braille “cell” consists of two columns of three dots. The dots are numbered 1-2-3 from top to bottom on the left side of the cell and 4-5-6 from top to bottom on the right side of the cell. Each letter, number, and punctuation mark is made up of dots in a particular order. There are 64 possible combinations, and these dot combinations can be used to represent a letter, number, punctuation mark, or a word.
Today braille is a universal language and has been translated for use worldwide.
Technology has made it possible for visually impaired people to use braille-enabled laptops and special typewriters with printers.
The History of Braille
Before using the braille worksheets for sighted students, let’s understand how braille was developed.
Charles Barbier was born in France and lived from 1767–1841. He served in the French artillery from 1784 to 1792.
Like most inventors, Mr. Barbier identified a problem while he served in the army that needed to be fixed.
At that time, soldiers would send and receive written messages at night.. To read these notes, soldiers needed a lantern. The light from the lantern would give away the soldier’s position to enemy soldiers.
Charles Barbier invented a system of writing that he called “night writing.” Mr. Barbier’s system was based on a “cell” that was 2 dots across and 6 dots down.
His combinations of raised dots represented either letters or combinations of letters like de, ch, ment.
The military did not adopt this Barbier’s code because they thought it was too complicated. However, Charles Barbier believed it could help blind people to read.
He went to Paris in 1821 to visit the National Institute for the Blind. He met Louis Braille while on that trip.
Louis Braille believed the 6-row cell was too difficult to read because one finger could not cover the entire cell at one time. The system created by Braille is 2 dots across and 3 dots down.
Braille Activity for Sighted Students – Making Braille Cards
With a few simple materials, let’s make some sample braille cards.
First, you will need to request the printable cards below.
There are two ways to make the bumps on the cards. You can purchase round-top bumps on a braille site, on Amazon, or at your local home improvement store.
Here are the ones we purchased. Here they are on braillebookstore.com. We used the equivalent of the 11.1 mm size (large). We purchased ours on Amazon. You can find them in home improvement stores wherever furniture and wall protectors are found. (near picture hanging supplies)
Braille Card Activity for Kids
Print the card templates on cardstock. Print the braille chart on regular printer paper.
Cut out the printed cards along the outside line.
Peel the backing off of the bump dots and affix them to the cards, place one bump dot per blue dot.
If using candy dots, place glue on each blue dot and place a candy on each.
Make Braille Alphabet Cards
Make Braille Alphabet Cards
- 1 Set of braille alphabet cards printable
- 1 Bottle of school glue
- 1 package of candy dots or bump dots
Print out the alphabet cards on cardstock and print the Braille alphabet on regular paper. You might want to print multiple copies.
Using the Braille Alphabet decide which letters you want to create in braille. You might want to spell words.
Dab glue and place a candy where it needs to go. Or, if using bump dots, arrange them on the dot. Write the letter next above or below each letter card.
Braille Activity Discussion Questions
- Close your eyes or use a blindfold. Next, mix up the cards, pick one, and try to read it.
- How difficult was it to read the braille pattern with your fingers?
What are some other tools visually impaired people use to increase accessibility to reading, writing, and performing every day tasks?
Check out these sites and resources. There are just a few, there are many more you can research.
Download the Braille Activity Printable Pack
Download the braille activity pack by entering your name and email below. You will be added to our email community.
- Braille alphabet chart
- Braille “cell” template
- Braille word cards and template
- History of braille and how the system is organized